Ferrari Will Challenge Tesla By Creating an Electric Supercar
The Stonecutters from The Simpsons may have held back the electric car for decades, but their era is at an end.
Ferrari is the latest traditional car company to throw its hat into the electric ring, as it tries desperately to catch up with the unstoppable force that is Elon Musk's Tesla. While we're still a few years away from the release of Ferrari's battery-powered offering, the company intends to build a supercar - a luxury electric sports car that will appeal directly to wealthy millionaires who are also conscious about their impact on the environment.
So, essentially, this car is being built for the Elon Musks of the world. Somehow, it feels unlikely that Musk himself is going to want one of these any time soon, but once his own midnight cherry Tesla roadster is launched into orbit around Mars, he is going to need something to drive around in.
Besides, now that Lamborghini is also working on an electric supercar, Ferrari can't possibly let their rival succeed without a fight. According to Sergio Marchionne, chairman of Ferrari:
Of course, it's hard not to notice that Marchionne's words here sound vague as possible. For one thing, he seems to be trying to insist that the Ferrari supercar will be the first of its kind, while in the same breath noting that Tesla has beaten the company to the punch.
Then there's the sketchy timeline for this - Marchionne describes Ferrari's eventual electric supercar as an "if", rather than a definite certainty. Presumably, the company is waiting to see whether their upcoming range of hybrids do well before fully committing themselves to a time schedule for the release of an electric alternative.
There is wisdom in hanging back: luxury car manufacture isn't the same as, say, longhaul electric trucks. There's no need for Ferrari to be early to the market, as they're only ever going to sell a relative few cars to particularly wealthy buyers.
It may serve Ferrari well to ensure that their electric cars are definitely (and literally) up to speed before offering them commercially, as well as making sure that there's enough of an interest among their standard customer base. Anyone who's currently even considering buying a Ferrari in the near future probably isn't too concerned about the environmental impact of such a car, otherwise they'd already be looking at new Teslas instead.
That said, the writing is on the wall for traditional gasoline-powered automobiles. As electric cars grow in popularity, and as an increasing amount of the world's energy is generated from renewable sources, petroleum-based fuels will increasingly be seen as socially irresponsible and undesirable.
It's not too surprising that an established brand like Ferrari wants to dig in their heels and embrace change as slowly as possible, but it's only a matter of time before all modern car manufacturers will have to face the music and start changing their practices.
So it's for the best that Ferrari is at least considering this, even if they're still a long way from actually making the electric supercar they promise.