- Viritech and italian design house Pininfarina are in advanced discussions about producing a limited series of the hydrogen powered Apricale, harnessing the coachbuilder’s unique expertise in hand-building exclusive cars.
Viritech’s ambition is to be world’s leading developer of hydrogen powertrain solutions for the automotive, aerospace, marine, and distributed power industries. It is developing advanced technologies including energy management systems and structural pressure vessels to enable clean, abundant hydrogen to be at the centre of sustainable transportation.
The Apricale is the first manifestation of this ambition; the exceptional demands of hypercar performance have required Viritech to entirely re-imagine existing FCEV drivetrain technology by using its proprietary Tri-Volt™ intelligent energy management systems (EMS) to operate a multi-hundred kW fuel cell system and high-density, small battery pack.
This revolutionary hydrogen powertrain architecture not only delivers hypercar performance by virtue of an EMS that can switch between fuel cell and battery in less than 100 milliseconds, but it also allows highly efficient packaging to deliver a sub-1,000kg kerb weight.
Importantly, while this architecture perfectly suits the performance requirements of a hypercar, the patent pending technology easily scales to applications as diverse as hydrogen-powered heavy goods vehicles, aircraft and marine vessels. In each case, the unique architecture creates a hydrogen powertrain with no weight penalty compared to an internal combustion engine powertrain, enabling the use of zero emissions propulsion in sectors where battery packs are simply too heavy.
With its core focus on hydrogen powertrain technologies and its Graph-Pro™ structural hydrogen storage vessels, Viritech sought an expert partner to build the Apricale which shared its ambition to re-imagine future transportation. In Pininfarina, Viritech has secured the capabilities of one of the world’s most fêted design studios that counts among its lineage over 1.200 vehicle designs from prestigious brands such as Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Lancia. Pininfarina has always paid a great attention to environmental sustainability and it has looked carefully at hydrogen in the last 15 years by investing in studies and prototypes in collaboration with start-ups that are fully committed to new, clean technologies.
Alongside the styling of the Apricale, Pininfarina is also discussing with Viritech the production of the car in its atelier in Cambiano, Torino, to produce the limited series of the ultimate hydrogen road-going hypercar leveraging the coachbuilder’s unique expertise in hand-building exclusive cars developed over the past 92 years.
The results of Viritech’s engineering innovation and Pininfarina’s styling and craftsmanship will break cover at the Goodwood Festival of Speed with an Apricale showcar being debuted ahead of the first production versions being released in late 2023.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal