The Tesla breaker: Ferrari to release an EV supercar by 2020
Ferrari has unveiled plans to build a battery-electric supercar in an effort to tap into the lucrative electric-auto market, which is currently dominated by Tesla.
Somewhat surprisingly, the luxury sports car maker also announced that it would be making a Ferrari SUV, having previously dismissed the idea as ‘ridiculous’.
Commenting on the announcement at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Ferrari’s CEO Sergio Marchionne refused to disclose any detailed information about the electric car, although he did say it would see the light of the day before Tesla unveils its all-electric battery-powered four-seater sports car prototype Roadster in 2020.
The announcement marks a complete U-turn on the company’s strategic direction, with the former Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo quoted as saying in mid-2011 that the brand would never engage in manufacturing electric vehicles.
Mr Marchionne looked to be on the same page as his predecessor at the helm of Ferrari when he said two years ago that releasing a Ferrari without an internal combustion engine would be ‘an almost obscene concept’ and that they would have to ‘shoot him first’ before an electric vehicle with a Ferrari badge hits the streets.
What’s more, Mr. Marchionne had also said that he did not believe there was any money to be made selling electric vehicles, unless they were sold at ‘the very high end of the spectrum’.
Perhaps his belief that only high-end electric vehicles can generate profit explains why Ferrari has taken upon itself to release an electric model, rather than getting some of Fiat’s other subsidiaries – such as Jeep or Dodge – to do it instead.
The company’s long-standing strategy of releasing a limited number of all of its models means that the electric vehicle would retain Ferrari’s air of exclusivity, although it would almost certainly put a cap on its perspective for future growth.
With regards to the Ferrari SUV, Mr. Marchionne – who also heads Fiat Chrysler – said it would have to ‘feel and look like a Ferrari’.
He said the vehicle would likely roll off the company’s production lines by 2019, and he also added that it would be the fastest vehicle in its class.
This means that Ferrari is looking to dethrone Alfa Romeo’s Stelvio Quadrifoglio as the top performing vehicle in the SUV class, although Lamborghini’s soon-to-be-released Urus model – with its 503bhp twin-turbo V6 – will likely set the new segment benchmark which Ferrari will be aiming to beat.
We’ll just have to wait and see whether an electric Ferrari will ever see the light of day and we can only imagine – for now – what a Ferrari SUV might look like.