Ferrari joins the luxury club going electric

Ferrari joins the luxury club going electric

FOR some, the unthinkable is about to happen. Ferrari, the Italian supercar manufacturer famed for the aggressive note of its V12 engines, has long maintained it would stick to making proper sports cars. No way would it be towed into the world of the sports utility vehicle or - blasphemy! - electric motors. Well, the SUV’s a given now following on from the success of the company’s all-wheel-drive GTC4Lusso. And Ferrari was recently sprung testing a petrol-battery hybrid car on a track near its Maranello headquarters, in northern Italy.

Ferrari CEO Sergio Marchionne has admitted to Bloomberg that Ferrari has been quietly testing a car “you could run silently”. This is a big lane change from the Prancing Horse boss who in October dismissed as nonsense the notion that electric cars “are going to save the planet” given that the substances used to power those batteries came from polluting sources. As recently as January, he told journalists that Ferrari didn’t think electric cars were a worthy investment.

Now he’s revealed that, from next year, the company will start offering hybrid engines capable of running solely on battery power for long distances. The technology will shortly be made available on all new models and, from 2020, it will be the only drivetrain used in the upcoming SUV. As you’d expect from Ferrari, this one is set to be the fastest on the market.

Marchionne says Ferrari won’t produce a full-electric vehicle before 2022, but the attitude shift is evidence of the power of how loudly money speaks given the demand from wealthy consumers for alternatives to Tesla’s Model S.

Ferrari is the latest luxury car brand to fall into line on electrically-powered vehicles following Porsche’s head-start which will see its electric sports car, called Mission E Cross Turismo, hit the market next year. Aston Martin and Bentley have announced plans to offer some sort of electric drivetrain in all its vehicles within the next decade. Aston Martin’s roll-out will commence with the Rapide in 2019, while Bentley’s Bentayga SUV debuted on European roads last month.