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  • 2011


High Design and Engineering

Thanks to the perfect integration of the styling and engineering activities, the Cambiano is an extended range plug-in electric car that combines top performance and roominess with the comfort of a luxury car and total respect of the environment. The type of engine chosen and the position of the battery pack in the rear of the car (under the luggage compartment) have created a vehicle architecture with a perfectly flat floor, that is regular and low, guaranteeing excellent access, liveability on board and a lower centre of gravity.

The Cambiano’s generous range was achieved by the innovative drive system, by focussing attention on aerodynamic efficiency, obtained in the Pininfarina Wind Tunnel, and by a significant weight reduction: the Cambiano weighs 1695 kg empty, an excellent result if we consider the size of the car, its remarkable performances, the hybrid drive and 4 wheel drive transmission. The chassis is light, resistant and modular, comprising a carbon fibre cell for occupants and two aluminium modules, one at the front and one at the rear, which act as crumple cells, absorbing impact and supporting all the mechanical parts.

This engineering solution allows the same modules to be used for an entire family of derived vehicles. The central cell can be built with materials and dimensions that will allow it to adapt to the various requirements of cost, manufacturing volumes and furnishings of the cabin of a future derived vehicle. The front and rear structural modules will also adapt effectively to different wheelbases and tracks. Where the energy management system is concerned, the objective is to minimise consumption and polluting emissions into the atmosphere, keeping turbine operating times to a minimum. This is triggered automatically when the battery charge falls below 20% of maximum capacity.


Smart hi-tech solutions

The Cambiano drive system is based on four electric motors, one for each wheel, and the respective deceleration unit. The four motors, which are produced by Magneti Marelli, are mounted on the front and rear frames and each delivers a continuous supply of 60 kW with peaks of 150 kW for a total of 600 kW maximum power output, with torque of 640 Nm. Each motor is controlled separately and electronically to guarantee various functions, including energy regeneration when decelerating and braking, traction control with the option of continuously varying the torque split between the wheels independently (Vectoring Stability Program) and anti-lock braking assistance. The traction control strategies make the vehicle even more enjoyable to drive, guaranteeing outstanding performance and maximum safety over all types of routes. The drive system incorporates an APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) to charge the batteries and, when necessary, to supply energy directly to the motors.

The solution proposed by Pininfarina for the APU of the Cambiano is extremely original and innovative, very consistent with the general philosophy of the project: this is a 50 kW micro turbine, under development by the Bladon Jets, which normally runs on diesel but which can be calibrated to be compatible with various types of fuel. In addition to this advantage, the turbine is much smaller than those of piston engines with a similar power delivery, it weighs just 40 kg, even that lower than that of a heat engine of equal power, and generates low polluting emissions.

These features make this turbine and therefore the solution more consistent with the goals of the weight reduction, space optimization, and reduction of actual emissions of the vehicle in service, who were behind the project of the Cambiano. The micro turbine chosen for the Cambiano has also technical features that make it particularly quiet and vibration-free, enhancing comfort for passengers. This type of extended range electric drive is thus amply in line with EURO 6 legislation, and is already compatible with possible evolutions (EURO 7 ready).

The battery pack developed by FAAM is installed between the seats and the rear axle, where it is protected from possible collisions and easily replaced during servicing. The battery is of the high power, high energy density lithium ion type, has a capacity of 50 kW/h, a peak power delivery of 500 kW, and can be recharged in 6 hours using a 6 Kw/h grid and in 52 minutes with the APU. Combined with the micro turbine, it guarantees a range of 205 km in the urban cycle in all-electric mode, and a total range in the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) mixed cycle of over 800 km in extended range mode. Battery functioning is monitored by a BMS (Battery Management System) unit, which verifies that the individual cells operate within the established normal functioning range. In the event of a malfunction, the battery is immediately isolated from the rest of the vehicle.


An ecological DNA

Pininfarina genes have always included sustainable mobility, up to make of it, today, one of the pillars of the company’s industrial plan. The company was concentrating on aerodynamics and alternative sources of energy as early as the 1970s: for example, with prototypes like the CNR Energetica 1 or Ecos, the first electric car developed by Pininfarina. In the 1990s Pininfarina offered new solutions with the Ethos, a family of 3 cars with an aluminium chassis, a body of recyclable resin, and an innovative combustion engine with low emissions, culminating in 1995 with the Ethos 3EV, another zero emissions car. More recently Pininfarina engineers turned their attention to research into hybrid vehicles with the Eta Beta and Metrocubo projects, the focussing on safety in 2004 with the Nido.

In 2008 the Sintesi proposed a futuristic concept car supplied by 4 fuel cells (one per wheel). Which brings us to the present: the BlueCar in 2008, the Nido EV in 2010 and the Hybus in 2011, a project to convert buses currently equipped with Euro 0–1–2 engines into buses with serial hybrid power packs.

The engineering of the Cambiano has been developed by top Pininfarina engineers who worked in collaboration with  several partners:


Aviation Completions are becoming dynamic, artistic, welcoming yet remain complicated. We have dealt and installed contemporary, culturally assertive, intelligently designed cabins in the past but what we see today from Pininfarina is a whole new kind of cabin, harnessed with clever human input that manifests itself into areas that anyone can afford, work in, relax and utilize. The work that has gone into this concept sets the bar for the future.
Waleed K. MuhiddinAMAC Aerospace Director Business Development & Marketing