Ferrari Says 'No Thanks' to Autonomous and Fully-Electric Cars
The Prancing Horse puts the brakes on all the self-driving, electric hype.
Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne once famously answered the question of an autonomous, fully-electric Ferrari by saying "You'll have to shoot me first." And coming off the heels of Lamborghini's recent commitment to being the "last" automaker to put out an autonomous car, a Ferrari executive has reaffirmed the brand's devotion to both internal combustion and drivers everywhere.
In an interview with Arabian Business tied to the Prancing Horse's 70th anniversary extravaganza, the company's Middle East CEO Dieter Knechtel said that the idea of a fully autonomous, fully electric Ferrari is simply "not fitting with the brand."
Of course, astute observers will note that Ferrari has already dipped its toe in electrification, utilizing a KERS-style regenerative hybrid setup on the LaFerrari hypercar. But even the logic there goes against the grain, as Knechtel notes they're mainly interested how hybrid technology can further boost performance, rather than save fuel. More hybrids will be coming, but that idea of a battery-powered, plug-in Ferrari? Fuggedaboudit.
"To be honest with you, I don't see our clients in a self-driving, autonomous Ferrari. Electrification is very important for us, but there will not be any 100 percent electric car coming from Ferrari," he said.
Ferrari knows what it's doing. The company's reputation of exclusivity was forged through knife-edged performance, limited production numbers, and being both famously mean to potential customers and incredibly deferential to favored clients. Twenty years from now, driving around in a brand new car with an internal combustion engine might just be a rare enough experience to warrant such theatrics. Just like with Lamborghini, Ferrari buyers come for the driving experience and stay for the sound - and they have the scratch to keep supporting their small-batch production if they like what they see and hear. Ditching both would be very bad for business.
Then again, these sorts of proclamations don't often age well. The late Enzo Ferrari is probably still spinning in his grave over the death of the brand's iconic gated manual shifter. Marchionne himself said numerous times that Ferrari would never build an SUV; in August, he called the segment "too big and too inviting" to ignore and confirmed plans for the company's first utility vehicle. Hybrid power will find its way into other Ferraris before long, and if experiments like the Porsche Mission E convince those deep-pocketed individuals of the value of pure electric performance, it would only make sense for Maranello to at least consider the idea of a battery-powered Ferrari.
But hey, even if that does happen, at least they won't be pink.
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