Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Ferrari and Fiat Chrysler, has been famously skeptical, even scathing, about electric cars in the past. But it looks like he had a change of heart, after he told Bloomberg Television that Ferrari has been testing a new gasoline-battery hybrid at its track near Maranello, Italy.
Marchionne had said in October that if electricity to power the batteries comes from polluting sources, then “the analysis that we are going to save the planet with electric cars is nonsense.” He also said at a press conference in January that electric cars were not worth the automakers’ investment. But the announcement shows the iconic sportscar maker is changing lanes.
He said Ferrari is working on cars that will show “the full power of electrification.” The hybrid tech will be available from next year, and power the company’s first-ever SUV, which, he claims, will be the fastest SUV on the market.
Right now electric cars are not lucrative for automakers, compared to their combustion-engine models. But they’re under intense pressure to electrify all or most of their model ranges within the next few years or face penalties for not hitting their CO2 targets—not to mention falling behind their competitors. They also need to keep catering to their wealthy customers by giving them an alternative to the pioneering Tesla S.
Porsche is already streets ahead of Ferrari, with its Mission E slated for launch at the end of next year, and the Mission E Cross Turismo after that. Bentley, Aston Martin, and Jaguar are already gearing up to debut high-performance hybrids too.