FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Rene-Christopher Wollmann, head of Mercedes-AMG’s 2.75 million euros Project One supercar program, has moved to a job at Automobili Pininfarina in a sign that innovation in high end electric sportscars is shifting toward small start-ups.

FILE PHOTO: Automobili Pininfarina’s “Battista” electric hypercar is pictured at the Geneva Motor Show, in Geneva, Switzerland March 5, 2019. REUTERS/Edward Taylor

Wollman’s move, which has not been made public, comes at a time when big carmakers, like Volkswagen and Mercedes, have been blindsided by stricter and costly emissions tests, forcing them to focus resources on mainstream electric models and on cleaning up their combustion engines.

Meanwhile advances in virtual engineering allow even small teams of engineers to develop roadworthy vehicles using software to design, engineer and test