Ferrari Dedicated to Beating Tesla with Better, Faster, Electric Exotic
Sergio Marchionne wraps up 25 years in charge of FIAT and Ferrari by dropping bombshell revelations in Detroit.
In spring of 2016, at the Geneva Auto Show, Marchionne described the concept of an electric Ferrari as “Almost an obscene concept” because the feel and sound of the engine are so integral to what makes every Ferrari special. In what was sort of a farewell address to the media and his automotive peers at the NAIAS in Detroit, he promised that the upcoming Ferrari electric supercar would be faster and quicker than a Tesla, and in production before the new Tesla Roadster. The other grenade he lobbed on his way out the door? There is an SUV coming too.
Despite what the head of FCA and Ferrari said in 2016, they didn’t have to shoot him. They just had to wait for him to retire.
No actual pictures or renderings of either exist yet, so we are left using examples from internet dreamers, like the ones above. Keep your eyes open though because Marchionne promised the Ferrari SUV will be on the road by late 2019 or early 2020 and be the fastest SUV ever. Not originally a believer in the place of the SUV in the market, the head of FIAT has been made a convert after more than five years of having Jeep under his corporate umbrella.
Though still a big believer in internal combustion powered supercars, Mr. Marchionne says in a long Bloomberg interview, “We do it because we have to,” when talking about an electric and hybrid future. To be as successful as he has been over the past 25 years in the car business, you have to be practical. He sees that increasing government regulation will make it tougher for Ferrari to sell gas powered road cars in Europe and Asia. Ferrari cannot afford to be seen as being behind the times, when hybrids or electric cars from Porsche, McLaren, and Tesla are coming and putting up incredible performance numbers.
Trained in philosophy, before pursuing law and getting into the auto business, perhaps no one is better suited than Marchionne at predicting the future. His prediction is that as early as 2025 hybrid, electric and fuel cell vehicles will outsell pure gas or diesel burning models. The head of FIAT and Ferrari is due to release new five-year master plans for all of their brands by this summer, before stepping down, and hybrids are expected to be a big part of it, with full electrics coming shortly thereafter. Bloomberg reported that Ferrari wants to beat Tesla at the electric supercar game.
Ferrari has for years limited themselves to building less than 10,000 cars a year, which exempts them from fuel economy standard in many countries. Now that Ferrari is a separate entity from FIAT, there is more pressure on them to grow and make more profit. Part of that is to diversify their model lineup, that is where the SUV comes in, as well as the long-rumored “entry level” Ferrari Dino.
The likely next step in the plan is to exploit the strength of electric propulsion to fatten up the car’s bottom end, allowing the engine to live with a higher state of tune and still be perfectly docile on the street. Electric power also makes all-wheel drive much easier to implement, making accelerating from a stop much quicker thanks to the added traction.
Tesla claims their new Roadster will be introduced in 2020, so figure we should see them for sale by the end of 2021. There is no need for Ferrari to reinvent the wheel, or literally, the battery, and they have experience already with the electric Energy Recovery System in Formula One (and their neighbor FIAT has sold an electric 500 for years), plus 70 years of building cars and advancing technology. There is no reason to think that Ferrari can’t beat Tesla to the punch, while Elon is still trying to integrate the latest silicon valley techno wizardry into his car.
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