11.7 C
New York
Thursday, March 23, 2023

Unique: the design story of the Pininfarina Apricale hypercar

Developed by UK engineering firm Viritech, the Apricale is a zero-emission hydrogen-powered hypercar primarily based on an modern gas cell system supported by a light-weight however extremely environment friendly battery.

Within the case of the Apricale, this powertrain permits to realize hypercar-level efficiency, however at lower than half the burden of typical BEV hypercars.

The Mission

One of many distinticive parts of the Apricale growth course of was the extremely quick growth instances, which posed main challenges to each Pininfarina and Viritech, and required modern and strange design processes and a coordinated effort between the UK firm and the Italian design and engineering groups.

The Apricale was set to make its debut on the Goodwood festiaval of Velocity in June, so the event was designed round that deadline.

The idea was not meant only a static mannequin: the event was primarily based on a working testing prototype already developed by Viritech, and the automotive needed to be 100% production-ready – which made the strict deadlines much more difficult.

Design Transient

With the Apricale venture the primary aim for Viritech was not simply to create a hypercar but in addition to current the smallest, lightest model of their know-how, which sooner or later could possibly be efficiently used for different transportation purposes reminiscent of industrial vans.

The Pininfarina design staff was requested to give you an entire design language whereas utilizing the prototype as a technical foundation for the venture.

The aim for the designers was to create one thing actually particular, able to touching individuals’s feelings.

Prototype and Mission Constraints

Whereas the design of the automobile needed to be distinctive and fairly totally different from the beginning physique design of the test-mule, on the similar time the design staff needed to work with quite a lot of laborious factors: these included the primary package deal and dimensions, the chassis with the built-in hydrogen tank, the greenhouse and glass areas, the door openings.

Given these constraints, most design choices needed to be collectively reviewed by Viritech and Pininfarina, with a view to consider the potential technical adjustments and to search out one of the best steadiness between design, performance and manufacturing feasibility.

The working take a look at mule was additionally used as a benchmark for all of the totally different checks all through the whole design growth.


Within the exploratory section, Pininfarina designers labored on many alternative iterations in type of hand design sketches in parallel with 3D SubD idea fashions.

The design staff introduced 5-6 potential instructions, each with a totally totally different design language,  but sustaining the identical laborious factors and assembly all of the totally different technical necessities.

Among the many introduced proposals, two had been shortlisted as potential instructions, and the ultimate determination was to greenlight the hypercar design language that was extra simply comprehensible by the general public. Selecting a much less surprising – but lovely – design theme additionally allowed to place the accent on the message in regards to the know-how relatively than on the pure aesthetic impression, which might higher served Viritech’s goals.

Apparently, the opposite design variations weren’t utterly discarded: sooner or later they is likely to be used for  clients who need an unique, tailored one-off mannequin, which is feasible because of Pininfarina’s experience in manufacturing excessive finish, unique bespoke vehicles.

Design Improvement

At its core, the ultimate design has a easy structure: it consists of a primary sensual quantity, with quick entrance fenders and lengthy rear fenders, fused collectively right into a single fuselage.

A preliminary idea, blocked out in 3D utilizing SubDs, was used for a preliminary CFD validation – which is normally primarily based on the ultimate CAS mannequin. This was a novel ingredient which allowed the staff to maneuver ahead with confidence and in a quicker approach.

After the preliminary validation, the entrance and rear ends had been detailed in parallel to take care of the theme and obtain a robust id.


A really distinctive ingredient of the design is the modern strategy with reference to aerodynamics.

The design temporary was to keep away from too many wings and decrease the air openings, as these are normally related to typical sportscars powered by inner combustion engines.

On the similar time, the automobile required quite a lot of air openings: whereas clear vitality autos are normally related to a clear look, hydrogen-powered vehicles really want much more cooling than conventional sportscars, so this activity was a problem in itself.

The answer to those issues got here within the type of an modern strategy within the total floor remedy.

The physique is split into two disjointed layers: a prime one which incorporates the fuselage and the fenders, and a decrease one, integrating the entrance and rear diffuser and decrease sections of the edges.

Whereas the ultimate look could be very clear, “there’s nonetheless loads occurring, with shapes transferring and twisting, but the general picture of it’s fairly easy.”

This decrease part options an uninterrupted flowing form with the entrance wing extending to the edges the place it  folds over giving type to the facet surfaces. The floor then flows into the rear finish, which contains a double diffuser – in addition to wrapping across the automotive to create the underbody.

All of the air openings, intakes and outtakes usually are not lower into the physique shapes, however end result from the separation and interconnection between these two totally different volumes: this permits to have a sensual, pure sculpture, whereas on the similar time reaching extremely efficient aerodynamic performances.

The separation between the volumes, underlined by the two-tone coloration scheme, allowed to disguise the technical particulars of the air openings by way of a mix of shapes and shadows.

This answer – made potential additionally because of Virtitech’s open-minded minded strategy and keen to take some dangers – not solely allowed to realize a clear design whereas sustaining the excessive aerodynamic effectivity, but in addition proved to be an modern idea in its personal proper.

The ensuing aerodynamic efficiency strikes a steadiness between prime velocity and dealing with, giving precedence to total dynamic effectivity, in pure F1 model. All that is achieved nearly solely by way of extremely optimized surfaces: the one energetic aerodynamic ingredient is a small lip on the rear wing.

Entrance Finish

On the entrance, two massive air openings – which serve two massive radiators – are disguided by overlaying the floating wings, which divide every cooling space into three totally different air intakes, whereas on the similar time guiding and cleansing the air move and growing the downforce.

One other attention-grabbing element is the the reflection of the wing on the decrease floor of the highest part, which will increase the sensation of quantity.


From the facet, the primary ingredient is the large air opening ensuing from the interconnection between the highest and decrease part, visually expressed thorugh a robust diagonal line. The ensuing shapes and shadows enable to take care of each a clear look and the required cooling.

Equally to the entrance, a particular impact is achieved on the edges with the reflections of the decrease, inexperienced floor on the highest part, which visually remembers the reflections within the decrease part, thus creating an attention-grabbing rithmic sample that offers quantity and sensuality.

Within the rear part, the slicing impact of the rear fender creates a way of velocity.

Rear Finish

On the rear, the primary styling ingredient is the air outlet sample: this was developed with Grasshopper utilizing parametric modeling methods, which enabled to create a number of design proposals already optimized to fulfill the technical crequirements, in only a few days.

The ultimate end result is a component that really turns into a novel, unmistakable  design message in itself.


Lastly, the design staff needed to integate the extra manufacturing parts, such because the license plate and the headlights and taillights, which come from present lighting items already homologated for street use.

“Along with Virtitech we got here up with a extremely attention-grabbing option to make the automotive aerodynamically extra environment friendly whereas trying like there is no such thing as a aerodynamic work on it.”

Design Course of and instruments

The preliminary growth was carried out utilizing conventional sketching in parallel with 3D modeling, with using SubD surfaces in Alias. This allowed to check the shapes in 3D from the beginning, avoiding the necessity for subsequent evaluations and iterations.

Moreover,  these  fashions had been  used  for a preliminary CFD anaylisis, which was accomplished earlier than beginning the CAS surfacing in Alias.

Within the second section the design staff was capable of shorten the event instances by making in depth use of Digital Actuality and, most significantly, modern Blended Actuality methods, the place the designer is ready to see the digital automotive floating in the true world, which provides superb indications and suggestions.

These instruments additionally allowed Viritech to assessment the totally different iterations over digital conferences, in a really efficient and fast approach.

The absolutely digital course of and using validation checks from the very starting allowed to go straight from the digital mannequin to the bodily mannequin with none change.

Lastly, the ultimate studio shoots had been truly created as digital photographs, produced in-house utilizing an modern rendering approach which permits to realize hyper-realistic outcomes.

On this case this stage of high quality was needed for the reason that bodily mannequin was not out there as a result of tight schedule.


When it comes to growth instances, the Apricale was a record-breaking venture for Pininfarina – with deadlines measurable in tems of “weeks” relatively than months.

Specifically, the ultimate bodily mannequin was constructed at an unbelievable velocity, with the ultimate touches accomplished in the course of the transportation from Italy to England.

The variety of preliminary constraints additionally had an attention-grabbing impact on the event: “Having these constraints made us focus much more on different areas of the automobile, and this fueled up creativity to make all of it work collectively.”

One other distinctive ingredient “was the System One staff mentality to get it [the car] on the grid in time, and we – as passionate System One and racing followers, loved these restrictions and used them to create one thing particular that we wouldn’t have considered in any other case.”

Throughout the tight timeframe, Pininfarina additionally accomplished the category A tooling needed for manufacturing. This course of was completed in parallel with the development of the bodily mannequin – which can be one thing distinctive.

“With a view to give you good design the kind of consumer is actually essential. A design staff with a very good consumer has an opportunity to do one thing actually particular, and this was the case with Viritech. All the pieces labored as a result of the collaboration was parallel and there have been no conflicts in anyway.”

The Apricale was a extremely particular venture, and speaking and listening to the design staff allowed us to really feel their ardour and satisfaction. It was outlined a “annoying however thrilling” expertise, which allowed the Pininfarina design staff to step out of the normal design workflow, and discover new design processes and instruments whereas making a pure, lovely automotive, within the design studio’s finest custom.


The Pininfarina Design Crew

  • Kevin Rice: “Chief Inventive Officer”. Chargeable for all initiatives together with automotive, structure, nautical and product design.
  • Rustom Mazda: Head of Automotive Exterior Design
  • Marc Vu: Head of Automotive Inside Design
  • The important thing inventive staff: Tigran Lalayan, Marco Toscano, Davide Ferraresi, Linda Crema, Federico Ciuffolini


About Viritech

Viritech is a engineering firm, with a mission to develop into the main developer of hydrogen powertrain options for the automotive, aerospace, marine and distributed energy industries, as they transition to a brand new period of sustainable transportation.

Primarily based on the MIRA Expertise Park in Warwickshire, Viritech’s has recruited a staff of engineers from F1/motorsports and created an engineering tradition centered on speedy growth and rigorous optimisation of mass, packaging, efficiency, financial system and sustainability.

Utilizing the Apricale® hypercar as its major growth platform, Viritech is making a household of hydrogen powertrain options with speedy purposes in areas the place energy, vary and weight are crucial, reminiscent of high-performance vehicles, heavy transport, and aviation.

For extra info, please go to www.viritech.co.uk.


(Picture Courtesy: Pininfarina for Automobile Physique Design)

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest Articles