Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer at Ferrari, has said that the race-car maker will build an electric supercar to challenge Tesla at the luxury end of the electric vehicle market.
“If there is an electric supercar to be built, then Ferrari will be the first,” Marchionne said at the Detroit auto show earlier this week. “People are amazed at what Tesla did with a supercar. I’m not trying to minimise what Elon did but I think it’s doable by all of us.”
Marchionne hasn’t been as quick as other car makers to make serious investments in the creation of electric vehicles and said this week: “We do it because we have to”. However, there is little doubt that an all-electric Ferrari would steal some of Elon Musk’s limelight. Musk unveiled Tesla’s new Roadster in November, which is to be released to the market in 2020. If Ferrari is serious about their electric supercar, it could produce some real competition for the Roadster.
Marchionne said that the first half of Ferrari’s new plan will involve hybrid cars. This will allow for an easier transition into full-electric. It will also be Marchionne’s final plan as CEO of the company.
The Ferrari chief predicts that fully combustion-powered cars will make up less than half of the market by 2025. He said that the time is right for carmakers to shift away from diesel and petrol, towards hybrid and electric vehicles. This gives less than 10 years for manufacturers to redefine themselves. In an interview before the Detroit show, Marchionne told reporters that he believes that premium brands will be able to hold onto their identities but others will struggle in the face of the technologies being developed by the likes of Tesla and Waymo.
Ferrari also plans to release its first SUV by 2020, which it promises will be “the fastest on the market”.