September 29, 2023

Developed by UK engineering firm Viritech, the Apricale is a zero-emission hydrogen-powered hypercar based mostly on an revolutionary 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 growth course of was the extremely quick growth instances, which posed main challenges to each Pininfarina and Viritech, and required revolutionary 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 Velocity in June, so the event was designed round that deadline.

The idea was not supposed only a static mannequin: the event was based mostly on a working testing prototype already developed by Viritech, and the automobile needed to be 100{c45c305aeb68ce4793c9c9f1ac8d8deacd97cdbd497c8d521f839cac91490cc6} production-ready – which made the strict deadlines much more difficult.

Design Transient

With the Apricale venture the primary purpose 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 might be efficiently used for different transportation functions reminiscent of business vans.

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

The purpose 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 car 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 a variety of exhausting 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 purpose to consider the potential technical adjustments and to seek out the most effective steadiness between design, performance and manufacturing feasibility.

The working check mule was additionally used as a benchmark for all of the totally different assessments all through your entire design growth.


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

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

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

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

Design Growth

At its core, the ultimate design has a easy structure: 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 normally based mostly on the ultimate CAS mannequin. This was a novel ingredient which allowed the crew to maneuver ahead with confidence and in a sooner approach.

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


A really distinctive ingredient of the design is the revolutionary method with regard to aerodynamics.

The design transient 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 car required a variety of air openings: whereas clear power automobiles are normally related to a clear look, hydrogen-powered vehicles 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 revolutionary method within the total floor therapy.

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 may be very clear, “there may be nonetheless so much occurring, with shapes shifting 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 includes a double diffuser – in addition to wrapping across the automobile to create the underbody.

All of the air openings, intakes and outtakes usually are not minimize into the physique shapes, however outcome from the separation and interconnection between these two totally different volumes: this enables 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 shade scheme, allowed to disguise the technical particulars of the air openings by a mixture of shapes and shadows.

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

The ensuing aerodynamic efficiency strikes a steadiness between prime pace and dealing with, giving precedence to total dynamic effectivity, in pure F1 fashion. All that is achieved virtually solely by extremely optimized surfaces: the one lively aerodynamic ingredient 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 stream and rising 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 huge air opening ensuing from the interconnection between the highest and decrease part, visually expressed thorugh a robust diagonal line. The ensuing shapes and shadows permit 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 provides quantity and sensuality.

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

Rear Finish

On the rear, the primary styling ingredient 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 fulfill the technical crequirements, in just some days.

The ultimate outcome is a component that really 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 current lighting items already homologated for street use.

“Along with Virtitech we got here up with a very attention-grabbing option to make the automobile aerodynamically extra environment friendly whereas wanting 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 have been  used  for a preliminary CFD anaylisis, which was accomplished earlier than beginning the CAS surfacing in Alias.

Within the second section the design crew was in a position to shorten the event instances by making in depth use of Digital Actuality and, most significantly, revolutionary Combined Actuality strategies, the place the designer is ready to see the digital automobile floating in the actual world, which supplies excellent indications and suggestions.

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

The totally digital course of and using validation assessments 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 truly created as digital photos, produced in-house utilizing an revolutionary rendering method which permits to attain hyper-realistic outcomes.

On this case this stage of high quality was essential because the bodily mannequin was not out there because of the tight schedule.


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

Particularly, the ultimate bodily mannequin was constructed at an unbelievable pace, with the ultimate touches accomplished through 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 car, and this fueled up creativity to make all of it work collectively.”

One other distinctive ingredient “was the Formulation One crew mentality to get it [the car] on the grid in time, and we – as passionate Formulation 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 essential for manufacturing. This course of was finished 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 absolutely essential. A design crew with a great consumer has an opportunity to do one thing actually particular, and this was the case with Viritech. All the things labored as a result of the collaboration was parallel and there have been no conflicts in any respect.”

The Apricale was a very particular venture, and speaking and listening to the design crew allowed us to really feel their ardour and pleasure. It was outlined a “tense 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 Group

  • Kevin Rice: “Chief Inventive Officer”. Answerable for all tasks 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 turn 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 Know-how Park in Warwickshire, Viritech’s has recruited a crew of engineers from F1/motorsports and created an engineering tradition centered on fast growth and rigorous optimisation of mass, packaging, efficiency, economic system and sustainability.

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

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(Picture Courtesy: Pininfarina for Automobile Physique Design)