Ferrari has decided its time to plug-into the electrification revolution, joining traditional competitors like Aston Martin, as well as upstarts such as Croatia’s Rimac.
As was widely expected, the Italian automaker’s prancing pony will show up on its first-ever plug-in hybrid, the SF90 Stradale, set to roll into showrooms during the summer of 2020. The PHEV, which will combine Ferrari’s most powerful V-8 with three electric motors, will be able to operate at up to 84 mph in pure electric mode, though its modest 7.9 kilowatt-hour battery will yield no more than 15 miles in range in eDrive mode.
The debut of the SF90 is “a milestone” for the exotic automaker, said CEO Louis Camilleri, though Ferrari did dabble in electrification once before, using a Formula One-based KERS, or kinetic energy recovery system, on its flagship LaFerrari model introduced in 2013.
Only 500 of those were built by the time production wrapped up. The SF90 is not being billed as a limited edition, however, and Ferrari claims about 2,000 likely customers have either raised their hands or placed deposits.
(Ferrari set to reveal new hybrid supercar this summer. Click Here for the story.)
The automakers flirtation with electrification might have seemed unlikely not all that long ago but it appears to be an inevitability today.
One of the key reasons is regulatory. More and more stiff new emissions and fuel economy mandates are being enacted that would be hard to meet without some form of battery assist technology. Some countries, including Norway, France and the UK, are considering rules that could either ban the sale of vehicles with internal combustion engines, while China and some others are relying on guidelines that incentivize plug-based models. Some cities, such as London, may ban vehicles not operating in all-electric mode over the coming years.
But there’s a plus side to electrification that exotic manufacturers expect will appeal to potential buyers, the fact that electric motors can generate incredible amounts of instantaneous torque – something demonstrated by the Tesla Model S with Ludicrous Mode which can launch it from 0-60 in a mere 2.3 seconds, rivaling some of the fastest vehicles in the world.
The Ferrari SF90 Stradale pairs a newly updated version of its turbocharged V-8 that sees its displacement jump from 3.9 to 4.0-liter. It manages 769 horsepower on its own. It’s paired with three electric motors, one tied to the driveshaft powering the rear wheels. The other two run the front axle, a layout similar to the conventional hybrid Acura NSX. The electric motors alone produce 217 hp, according to Ferrari, bringing combined output to 986 hp and 590 pound-feet of torque. That makes it the most powerful street-legal Ferrari ever, producing 23 hp more than the LaFerrari.
According to Ferrari, that will give it a 211 mph top speed, with a 0 to 60 time of 2.5 seconds. The automaker also says it has taken steps to cool the motors and electronic power control system to ensure that the hybrid side can keep pulling without a break. That’s problem faced by some electrified performance vehicles like the Model S.
The SF90 will normally operate in hybrid mode, meaning it will be able to recapture energy normally lost during breaking and coasting to be reused under hard acceleration or while in all-electric mode.
(To see more about Ferrari’s new F8 Tributo, Click Here.)
One of the more unusual design details of the SF90 Stradale is the fact that the supercar’s eight-speed dual-clutch transmission does not have a reverse gear. Instead, Ferrari uses the electric motors to back up the Stradale.
That was one of the steps it has taken to minimize weight, a concern with battery technology. The electrified portion of the drivetrain adds 594 pounds, the coupe weighing a total of 3,454 pounds.
The technology does offer some other advantages. Among other things, the Stradale uses the three-motor layout to allow torque vectoring both in the rear and front axles. The two motors up front can speed up or slow down individually, making it possible to use torque to steer into a corner. The car also updates the Ferrari Slip Slide Control and can use the motors to enhance braking, in the process accelerating brake regeneration.
Visually, you’ll instantly recognize this to be a Ferrari, starting with that prancing pony logo on the front and back. The overall design is quite busy, with a number of details, including an integrated rear wing clearly meant to enhance the Stradale’s aerodynamics. The car’s roof is all black and there’s a familiar touch, a glass cover for viewing the big V-8, though the electrified bits are largely out of sight.
Oh, and as for the name, the SF90 is an homage to the 90th anniversary of the Scuderia Ferrari racing team – and is shared with the automaker’s F1 racer. The Stradale simply means this model is built for the street.
(It’s official: mid-engine, Ferrari-challenging Corvette C8 making its debut in mid-July. Click Here for more.)
Look for the Ferrari SF90 Stradale to sit atop the rest of its road-worthy line-up, including the 812 Superfast. Pricing in the U.S. hasn’t been released. The automaker expects it to be more than the F8 Tributo, at around $300,000, but less than the million-plus La Ferrari.