Exotic cars have always gotten attention for using innovation as well as performance to inspire buyers' passion.

That hasn't changed, but one thing has: those cars' buyers are no longer inspired by pounding pistons and roaring exhaust. Going electric is now a minimum entry point, says Michael Perscke, CEO of Automobili Pininfarina, a new electric car venture with an historic Italian name. 

"It no longer works to launch an aspirational brand with a gas engine," Perschke says. "You have to start in the 21st Century."

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Perschke sat down with Green Car Reports for an interview in New York City, ahead of the New York Formula E race on Sunday.

Pininfarina is a well known Italian coachbuilder and designer, but has never before built and sold its own cars.

Now with a fresh infusion of cash from Indian automaker Mahindra, which bought Pininfarina in 2015, the company plans for the first time to launch its own line of cars, starting with a multi-million dollar exotic sports car, the PF0, in 2020.

Pininifarina PF0 design sketch

Pininifarina PF0 design sketch

Perschke shared that the PF0 will be made of carbon fiber and use four axle-mounted electric motors to control torque vectoring and give the car enough horsepower to launch from 0-62 mph in 2 seconds. 

Unlike most modern electric cars, the PF0 will not use a "skateboard" chassis with a wide, flat battery pack under the floor. Instead, designers insisted on mounting the battery in the center tunnel to keep the seats as low as possible to give the PF0 the ground-hugging feeling that hyper-car drivers expect.

Pininifarina PF0 design sketch

Pininifarina PF0 design sketch

With a price in the millions of dollars. Perschke only expects to sell 125 to 150 of them worldwide.

The company, which will operate separately from Pininfarina's historic design and coachbuilding operation but under the same umbrella, plans to follow up the PF0 with a "lifestyle vehicle" that Perschke says will be less expensive and more functional, yet still as exotic and luxurious. Think Faraday FF1 with a famous automotive name. 

After that, it plans to launch two more models, each more attainable than the last, by 2025.