Famed Italian design house Pininfarina used the Paris Auto Salon to unveil a dramatically styled and technologically advanced electric vehicle that it says will go into production sometime towards the end of 2009. Although it released only selected technical details, Pininfarina did confirm that this slick four-seat/five-door hatch called the B0 (B-Zero) will use an advanced lithium polymer battery (LMP) in consort with proprietary supercapacitors to provide power to the vehicle's electric motor. Both of those key components will be supplied by the Bollore Group, the world's leading manufacturer of LMP batteries and supercapacitors. The B0 will be manufactured in Turin by Pininfarina-Bollore, a joint venture between the two firms.

Practical performance is the B0's strong suit. While its top speed is limited to 80 mph, it can hit 40 mph in about 6.5 seconds and be fully recharged using a standard wall outlet in "just a few hours" to deliver a maximum range of 153 miles. The solid-state LMP battery, produced by Bollore's BatScap subsidiary, is completely maintenance free and designed with a service life of 125,000 miles. While regenerative braking will be used to amp up the supercapacitors for enhanced performance, the B0's roof and a portion of its hood are fitted with high-efficiency solar panels that are designed to supply power for a number of ancillary on-board electrics. Keeping with its environmentally friendly nature, all of the B0's components were designed with recyclability in mind.

Plenty of questions still surround the B0, notably its sticker price and when/if it will ever turn up on our shores. But the move to an LMP battery should ensure this slick transport module at least short-term EV bragging rights wherever it does finally hit the streets.

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