CHARGE AHEAD: Stefano Rosso, co-chief executive officer of Only the Brave, or OTB SpA, and son of Diesel founder Renzo Rosso, zips around town in an electric Birò car by Estrima, which on Tuesday presented a new system, Re-Move, that allows batteries to be detached from vehicles and transported like trollies, simplifying the recharging process. “I think that right now, many consumers don’t realize the true advantages of this type of car. They always see it as something expensive and inconvenient, whereas in reality there are tons of advantages, and once you’ve been able to try it, it’s difficult to give it up,” he said, following a Birò press conference in Milan at the tail end of Men’s Fashion Week. Rosso is on the board of directors of H-Farm, a venture capital group specialized in techno-savvy startups, and through Red Circle Investments his family owns 30 percent of Estrima, which was founded in 2008 and is led by entrepreneur Matteo Maestri. “Birò is innovative, tied to nature and respect for nature. Matteo is so enthusiastic; we fell in love with the project,” said Rosso. His father, also present, said he fervently believed in eco-friendly transportation and food. “We invest in all these novelties that we think can have a future,” he noted. “These are things that will see major development — they will become the tastes of tomorrow.”
The Birò cars — four-wheeled, and almost totally transparent — come in splashy colors like orange, yellow and green, and can reach speeds of 40 km (about 25 miles) per hour or 70 km (about 44 miles) per hour depending on the lead or lithium batteries used. So far, 1,000 Birò models are on the market, but in 2014 Estrima expects to introduce another 2,000 in Italy and abroad.