March 23, 2023


Only Automotive

Unique: the design story of the Pininfarina Apricale hypercar

9 min read

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

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

The Undertaking

One of many distinticive components of the Apricale improvement course of was the extremely quick improvement occasions, which posed main challenges to each Pininfarina and Viritech, and required progressive and weird 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 Pace 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 automobile needed to be 100{432b0ffbe24a7de0065e1e3750229dee017412c465f987662626b43bbc7ee302} production-ready – which made the strict deadlines much more difficult.

Design Temporary

With the Apricale mission the principle objective for Viritech was not simply to create a hypercar but additionally to current the smallest, lightest model of their know-how, which sooner or later might be efficiently used for different transportation functions akin to business vehicles.

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

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

Prototype and Undertaking 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 crew needed to work with lots of onerous factors: these included the principle 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, in an effort to consider the attainable technical modifications and to search out one of the best steadiness between design, performance and manufacturing feasibility.

The working check mule was additionally used as a benchmark for all of the totally different checks all through your complete design improvement.


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

The design crew offered 5-6 attainable instructions, every one with a totally totally different design language,  but sustaining the identical onerous factors and assembly all of the totally different technical necessities.

Among the many offered proposals, two have been shortlisted as attainable 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 stunning – but lovely – design theme additionally allowed to place the accent on the message concerning the know-how moderately than on the pure aesthetic influence, which may higher served Viritech’s aims.

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

Design Growth

At its core, the ultimate design has a easy format: it consists of a important sensual quantity, with brief 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 often primarily based on the ultimate CAS mannequin. This was a novel aspect which allowed the crew to maneuver ahead with confidence and in a quicker means.

After the preliminary validation, the entrance and rear ends have been detailed in parallel to keep up the theme and obtain a powerful id.


A really distinctive aspect of the design is the progressive method with regard to aerodynamics.

The design transient was to keep away from too many wings and reduce the air openings, as these are often related to standard sportscars powered by inner combustion engines.

On the similar time, the automobile required lots of air openings: whereas clear power autos are often related to a clear look, hydrogen-powered automobiles really want much more cooling than conventional sportscars, so this process was a problem in itself.

The answer to those issues got here within the type of an progressive method within the general floor therapy.

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

Whereas the ultimate look could be very clear, “there may be nonetheless quite a bit happening, 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 perimeters the place it  folds over giving type to the aspect surfaces. The floor then flows into the rear finish, which includes a double diffuser – in addition to wrapping across the automobile to create the underbody.

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

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

This resolution – made attainable additionally due to Virtitech’s open-minded minded method and keen to take some dangers – not solely allowed to attain a clear design whereas sustaining the excessive aerodynamic effectivity, but additionally proved to be an progressive idea in its personal proper.

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

Entrance Finish

On the entrance, two huge air openings – which serve two giant 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 circulate and growing the downforce.

One other fascinating 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 aspect, the principle aspect is the huge air opening ensuing from the interconnection between the highest and decrease part, visually expressed thorugh a powerful diagonal line. The ensuing shapes and shadows enable to keep up each a clear look and the required cooling.

Equally to the entrance, a particular impact is achieved on the perimeters with the reflections of the decrease, inexperienced floor on the highest part, which visually recollects the reflections within the decrease part, thus creating an fascinating 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 principle styling aspect is the air outlet sample: this was developed with Grasshopper utilizing parametric modeling strategies, which enabled to create a number of design proposals already optimized to satisfy the technical crequirements, in only a few days.

The ultimate consequence is a component that truly turns into a novel, unmistakable  design message in itself.


Lastly, the design crew needed to integate the extra manufacturing components, such because the license plate and the headlights and hind lights, which come from present lighting models already homologated for highway use.

“Along with Virtitech we got here up with a extremely fascinating approach to make the automobile aerodynamically extra environment friendly whereas trying like there isn’t any aerodynamic work on it.”

Design Course of and instruments

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

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

Within the second part the design crew was in a position to shorten the event occasions by making intensive use of Digital Actuality and, most significantly, progressive Combined Actuality strategies, the place the designer is ready to see the digital automobile floating in the true world, which provides excellent indications and suggestions.

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

The totally digital course of and the usage of 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 have been really created as digital photographs, produced in-house utilizing an progressive rendering method which permits to attain hyper-realistic outcomes.

On this case this degree of high quality was crucial because the bodily mannequin was not obtainable as a result of tight schedule.


By way of improvement occasions, the Apricale was a record-breaking mission for Pininfarina – with deadlines measurable in tems of “weeks” moderately than months.

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

The variety of preliminary constraints additionally had an fascinating 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 aspect “was the Method One crew mentality to get it [the car] on the grid in time, and we – as passionate Method 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 crucial for manufacturing. This course of was accomplished in parallel with the development of the bodily mannequin – which can also be one thing distinctive.

“With a purpose to give you good design the kind of consumer is basically necessary. A design crew with an excellent consumer has an opportunity to do one thing actually particular, and this was the case with Viritech. The whole lot labored as a result of the collaboration was parallel and there have been no conflicts in any respect.”

The Apricale was a extremely particular mission, and speaking and listening to the design crew allowed us to really feel their ardour and pleasure. It was outlined a “disturbing however thrilling” expertise, which allowed the Pininfarina design crew to step out of the standard design workflow, and discover new design processes and instruments whereas making a pure, lovely automobile, within the design studio’s greatest 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 crew: Tigran Lalayan, Marco Toscano, Davide Ferraresi, Linda Crema, Federico Ciuffolini


About Viritech

Viritech is a engineering firm, with a mission to grow to be 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.

Based mostly on the MIRA Know-how Park in Warwickshire, Viritech’s has recruited a crew of engineers from F1/motorsports and created an engineering tradition targeted on speedy improvement and rigorous optimisation of mass, packaging, efficiency, economic system and sustainability.

Utilizing the Apricale® hypercar as its major improvement platform, Viritech is making a household of hydrogen powertrain options with quick functions in areas the place energy, vary and weight are vital, akin to high-performance automobiles, heavy transport, and aviation.

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(Picture Courtesy: Pininfarina for Automobile Physique Design)

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