An Electrifying Future - Ferrari to Produce an Electric Supercar
With a new focus on our relationship with electric vehicles, we look at the impact of new technologies on Ferrari Hire
Electric Ferrari Supercars
Ferrari has long been synonymous with high-performance supercars with legendary screaming V8 and V12 engines. For a significant number of our customers, there is only one choice, a beautiful, sleek, loud Ferrari. Ferrari engines are the pinnacle of what traditional combustion can offer and have been tuned over the years to offer the maximum performance. In the world of supercars, Ferrari are particularly adept at delivering an optimum driving experience within the boundaries of what a compression unit can offer. They have a history and continued involvement in high-end motorsports, which gives them the ideal environment to try innovative engineering concepts.
As consumers move away from fossil based fuels, that engineering experience will come into its own. Supercar manufacturers no longer shy away from the difficult topic of transitioning to electric and have now fully embraced new engineering ideals. Ferrari by their own admission were a little late in making the transition, but have now committed to their first fully electric supercar, due for release as early as 2025. Ferrari have produced a fantastic hybrid model, the SF90 where they have blended a V8 with 3 electric motors, but are now looking to produce models with 4 larger motors and no V8 combustion unit. They have also committed to the building of a new electric facility at Maranello designed to manufacture electric motors, inverters, and batteries and assemble a new range of electric and hybrid vehicles.
That isn’t to say the combustion engine is dead. Formula 1 president Stefano Domenicali told Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore that “F1 will never go electric,” despite taking steps toward sustainability in the coming years. What does that actually mean in practice? F1 will require new synthetic, sustainable fuels combined with much more powerful electric units. We will see F1 drive innovation as it always has, which will enable Ferrari to offer both a leading fully electric supercar as well as a range of non-electric or partial electric vehicles. This will then begin to filter through to Ferrari Hire companies that will offer a range of hire options.
Building a Ferrari for a New Generation
The challenge for Ferrari is to produce new icons worthy of the badge. To do this supercar companies need to look at the advantages of electric. The acceleration and torque which can be produced from electric cars is staggering and would only previously be possible in the dreams of Ferrari engineers. If supercars manage to reframe their positives and focus on the driving experience, then they have the opportunity to deliver amazing cars that will be looked back on by future generations in the same way as we look back on classic Ferraris.
If we follow the broad rule that “form follows function”, then the opportunity is there for designers to play with new shapes, textures and materials. But how do we keep faithful to the Ferrari design aesthetic? Ferrari have never been afraid of developing a design which makes heads turn. We need to remember how revolutionary the Daytona or the 308 were when faced with the challenge of aerodynamic advances in the 1970s. Look at how stunning the F40 is with its rear wing, a design influenced by the speed race of the 80s with the Porsche 959 and the Lamborghini Countach. External influences had a huge effect on how Ferrari’s looked and we will probably see a similar effect in the next few years.
A New Electrifying Future
As with any supercar project, it is difficult to find out many confirmed details about the new car. We can however make some educated guesses and enjoy some harmless speculation as to what it will drive like. We would assume the car will have a quad electric motor array which will translate into all-wheel drive, the ability to deliver the engine's power to all four tires all of the time, or with some clever technology, as and when needed to enable better handling. The AWD will aid the 0-60 time which will be a serious plus. To enable any real usable range, the onboard batteries will be required to be pretty large in order to give the supercar a range of about 350 miles. For now, these are super heavy, but as development allows, we will see these reduced in future cars.
The design will most likely take influence from previous traditional styling, but could introduce a bold new direction. We should expect a sleek streamlined shape in order to make the body aerodynamically efficient in order to maximise its range. Supercar designers can no longer rely on pure brute force power and have to consider charging times. Inside the car will have a minimal feel which has driver-focused technology, pioneered by the current electric vehicles. A simple display that can be updated regularly and tailored to the individual will greet the driver and even have the option to electronically tweak the performance with a touch of the screen, previously something reserved only for the professionals.
What about the performance? Ferrari have already stated that the car will deliver "supercar levels of performance". We know it will be quick. We would expect the top speed to be well in excess of 200 mph, the bare minimum in current combustion based supercars and is likely to have over 1000 bhp. What will be a real showstopper is the acceleration. The 0-60 time could be as low as 2 seconds. Just stop and consider how that will feel when driving! However, will the amazing acceleration make up for the lack of a V12 roar coming from the engine? The noise a Ferrari makes is an integral part of the experience and this has been recognised with CEO Benedetto Vigna stating that sound is one of the “essentials that characterises a Ferrari.” To help mitigate the loss of the engine noise, Ferrari plans to deploy a new, patented system which is a “reproduction device for the realisation of a sound that can be associated with an electric motor”. They plan to amplify a distinctive engine noise produced by the electric motors by rerouting through the rear of the car.
A new Ferrari electric supercar will automatically be a top seller. The Ferrari brand goes a long way and they have a very loyal customer base. For those that have no affiliation with any particular marque will look at possible competitors such as the Porsche Taycan, launched in 2019 or any number of future models such as the Tesla Roadster (although it is difficult to imagine Tesla making serious inroads into the Ferrari brand), or a rumoured Pagani supercar due to market in 2028. Ferrari however have trust, pedigree, engineering excellence and these qualities go a long way.
Looking beyond performance, we anticipate lots of tech to play which allow a level of car management not seen in a traditional Ferrari. We will see an advanced battery management system so drivers can get the maximum range available and active aerodynamics adding to the range and performance. There will also be a version of KERS, the Kinetic Energy Recovery System seen in their F1 cars which includes regenerative braking technology.
The Future for Ferrari Hire
As new technology becomes the mainstream we will see more electric options within the supercar hire arena. One of the great advantages of hiring a supercar is you can see how you feel about it before committing to a purchase, so those looking to see how the driving experience differs from the V12 and V8 models they are used to will welcome the opportunity to hire one for a few days. However, with the new electric Ferrari still a few years away, we can still enjoy the tremendous audio soundscape generated by a Ferrari 488 hire or a Ferrari Portofino hire.
Resurrection of Classic Ferraris
One last aspect of electric supercars to keep an eye on is the reinvention of classic models. Bentley has recently worked with a third party manufacturer, The Little Car Company (LCC) to produce an 85% scale replica of the 1929 Bentley Blower. LLC were granted access to Bentley’s archive in order to research the Blower and produce their electric version. Now, this isn't exactly the 4.5 litre supercharged Le Man racer, it is a 20 php, 45 mph imitation, but it does raise some interesting thoughts. The new Bentley Blower costs only £90,000 compared to £30 million should you want to invest in an original, not that an original would come up for sale anyway. Would Ferrari consider resurrecting classic models of the past and producing electric versions of them? There has been no indication they are likely to, but could we have a future where we could hire a 250 GTO for a quick weekend away?