Resistance is futile. Already finishing up development of its first SUV, Ferrari Chairman and acting CEO John Elkann told shareholders the automaker will have its first battery-electric vehicle ready to go in 2025.
The company previously confirmed it is working up a BEV but had been vague about details, including production timing. There’s still plenty left to reveal, however, including specifics about the body style and powertrain.
“You can be sure this will be everything you dream the engineers and designers at Maranello can imagine for such a landmark in our history,” Elkann said during the Ferrari annual meeting.
These have been good years for Ferrari, the Italian automaker barely feeling the impact of the coronavirus pandemic after surging to record sales in 2019.
If anything, “The order book is at record levels, up 22% versus last year and covering the entire 2021 and beyond, Ferrari CFO Antonio Picca Piccon said in February.
Still facing challenges
But the company does have its challenges. Almost everywhere it looks, regulators are tightening emissions and fuel economy mandates. A number of major markets are getting ready to ban sales of vehicles solely powered by internal combustion engines. Britain and several other countries have laid out timetables for switching to battery power entirely — as has California.
That means it’s no longer possible for even the most exotic brands to avoid the inevitable switch.
The good news is that Ferrari already has had some experience with electrification. Its LaFerrari hypercar was the first to use a Formula One-derived KERS hybrid system. The current SF90 Stradale, its mid-engine flagship, uses a plug-in hybrid drivetrain, and it has a hybrid hypercar set to debut in 2023.
The as yet-unnamed model due in 2025 will become Ferrari’s first all-electric model, though others likely will follow, according to industry analysts, as the automaker may have no other option if it plans to remain a player in some of the biggest markets for its sports cars. Even China is ramping up its New Energy Vehicle Electrification program, with 25% of each manufacturer’s products expected to use PHEV or BEV drive technology by 2025.
“Our interpretation and application of these technologies both in motorsport and in road cars is a huge opportunity to bring the uniqueness and passion of Ferrari to new generations,” Elkann — who also serves as chairman of Stellantis — said Thursday during the shareholders meeting.
Details still scarce
Exactly what Ferrari has in store for its BEV is unclear, though patent renderings have indicated it will use a flexible platform that, in all-electric form, will place its batteries below a skateboard-like platform — in line with the industry norm. But the platform also will provide the ability to mount a gas engine midship for a hybrid variant.
It certainly will face challenges as there are plenty of other high-performance battery-electric vehicles coming to market from competitors including Rimac and Pininfarina. And traditional sports car companies also are getting into the game, including Lamborghini and Aston Martin. Mercedes’ AMG unit also will be rolling out battery-electric supercars.
“If we bring in new technology, then we need to bring something new to the market,” said Elkann. “That’s how Ferrari has always worked with new technology. The evolution of new technology is 100% in the DNA of Ferrari.”
Even as Ferrari takes aim at the emerging battery-electric market it is also set to address another shift in the automotive market, the rise of the SUV. With virtually all of its competitors now offering utility vehicles, it will enter the segment, as well, with the Purosangue. Set to debut sometime in 2022, Elkann has described it as “something truly special.”