Pagani: existing battery tech not light enough for future electric hypercar
Pagani remains hard at work on an electric hypercar, but admitted that it’ll only release something if it conforms to the company’s philosophy of being lightweight. Current battery technology means... that won’t be anytime soon.
Christopher Pagani, son of founder Horacio, told TopGear.com that the team have been working on developing an electric hypercar since 2018, and “there is no need for us to stop that”.
What might stall it, though, is existing EV technology. “Our goal is to create something that has to be lightweight. Looking at Pagani, what you see that is common with all the vehicles that we produce, they have to be lightweight.
“You have to have a special feeling driving it, which sometimes you can call ‘fun’. You can call it pleasure. But the weight is definitely our first question mark. So probably, nowadays with the existing technology we cannot create the Pagani the way that we would like to do.”
He noted how the challenge of developing EVs was appealing to the company. “There are a lot of amazing things to innovate in an electric car – we're not afraid of innovation.”
Pagani of course, has a long and successful partnership with Mercedes. Asked about whether the company could use Merc’s EV architecture – battery, motors and so on – Pagani said: “We are having constant meetings with Mercedes-Benz and AMG, and we are evaluating it. They are our official partner at the moment so when we need [to build] a full electric car, we will take the final decision [then].
“My father, and in general everybody who works at Pagani, has this approach that if we feel capable of doing something, we’ll do it internally. But if not, we won't,” he added.
He pointed to the use of Mercedes-AMG's engines for its cars, but how those units were developed specifically for the Italian hypercar maker.
“I think you have to be blind to say ‘I’ll do things by myself because I’m better than the others’. If you’re open, you can get sources of amazing components that are custom to your car. We don’t take things out of other vehicles – everything is developed for Pagani cars.
“The V12 – it's a Pagani V12.”
Speaking of V12s, Pagani noted how during development of the brand-new Utopia (pictured above) – only Pagani’s third ever model line – Mercedes-AMG originally suggested using a V8 hybrid. “But we, let’s say ‘challenged them’ to keep the V12, and they accepted.
“As far as how long we are going to have the V12? This really depends on how the regulations are going. We know that for small manufacturers we can have it at least until 2035. But we’re not afraid of approaching another powertrain in the future. We just have to know what the rules are.”
Will the shift to electric be the most difficult challenge Pagani has ever faced?
“Actually, no. We as a family-owned brand are not under pressure of jumping into something if we are not ready, or not 100 per cent convinced.
“We have a long timeline of cars coming, but for us, with the volumes that we produce, we feel very comfortable of where we are. We always kept our [volume] numbers very safe. We don’t follow the market, or fashion. We want to stay stable because at the end of the day, we have over 200 employees. We want them to feel safe. The decision we take, we take together.”
TEXT Vijay Pattni