Electrifying Ferrari

Maranello’s phased approach to plug-in future

JOHN CAREY

Blue Oval’s rental health days

If you’ planning on buying a Ford Ranger or Escape but hanker for something a little more potent, signing up to Ford Australia’ 2nd Car pilot program nets you up to two weeks in a Mustang. The downside is that it isn’ free. Buyers pay a $500 enrolment fee and the loan period then costs Ranger owners $250 per week and Escape owners $375. That’ still significantly cheaper than mainstream rental companies. “With 2nd Car, new Ford buyers can own one vehicle, but drive two,” says program manager Christine Wagner.

FERRARI is working on EV powertrains... for now only for Maserati. But it is only a matter of time until there’s a new model from Maranello with a recharge port instead of a fuel filler. As outlined in FCA’s fiveyear plan last month, Maserati will soon drop diesel engines. It will produce only plug-in petrolelectric hybrid and pure batterypowered vehicles and Ferrari will supply the powertrains for all of them.

The Ferrari-developed EV powertrain will deliver Ferrari-grade performance. Tim Kuniskis, the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles exec who heads both Maserati and Alfa Romeo, promises 0-100km/h acceleration in around 2.0 seconds and a 300km/h-plus top speed for its new brand-halo sports car in his presentation.

The EVs, marketed under the ‘Maserati Blue’ banner, will utilise three electric motors. It’s certain two will be mounted on the rear axle, for full torque-vectoring capability. And 800-volt battery packs will deliver high power, long range and quick recharging. This is exactly the kind of highend EV technology that Ferrari would choose.

Ferrari and FCA head Sergio Marchionne sees plug-in vehicles becoming a staple of Maranello’s model mix. “I think I’ve been clear on the topic that we’re going to embrace electrification,” he said at Ferrari’s Geneva International motor show press conference last March. “We are going to bring it in and make it a mainstay of our offering.”

At the same time he confirmed Ferrari would launch a hybrid model in 2019. He implied it would be a plug-in hybrid, unlike the LaFerrari, and that it wouldn’t be a supercar.

“In the LaFerrari it’s an interesting add-on that’s used for power,” he said, referring to hybrid tech. “In the case of the next hybrid I think it needs to become more traditional in a sense, because it needs to fulfil a different role.”

Ferrari, recently spun off from FCA, will present its separate plan to investors come September. Marchionne hopes it will include a new model or concept reveal.

Count on it being large, since size is needed to make space for battery packs and hybrid hardware. Plug-in hyper-hybrid SUV? Or a ‘Ferrari Red’-branded EV pointing to a potential GTC4 Lusso replacement? Both are now possible.

Whatever it is, a utility vehicle will stretch Maranello’s designers. “Doing an incredibly elegant car that embodies Ferrari values is not an easy thing,” Marchionne admitted in Geneva last March.

THE LOOKING EVs WE’RE FORWARD TO

Althought Elon's wheeled out a couple of prototypes, the big numbers around the tantalising Tesla Roadster still gie it the faint whiff of vapourware. We're certain that Porsche's Taycan - the new name for the Mission E project - will hit the market on time and make all of its numbers but the Ev we're more excited about/ Nissan's next-gen Leaf. With 400km on a charge, 0-100 in 7.9sec, effective e-Pedal regenerateive braking and an 80 percent charge in 40 minutes, it outght to finallry send the EV mainstream.

JOHN CAREY