Ferrari CEO says all-electric model preserves the 'emotion' of the famed supercars

Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna on EV demand and the 'emotion' of the supercars

Ferrari’s all-electric model won’t be launched for over a year, but early tests indicate it has all the driving traits and emotion of a true Ferrari, according to Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna.

“The final judge will be the client,” Vigna told CNBC during the opening of the company’s new E-Building in Maranello, Italy. “More people have started to drive our electric Ferrari, and they have a good feeling. The driving traits are there.”

Vigna said the defining characteristic of a Ferrari is the emotional experience. Having driven the all-electric Ferrari himself, he said, “I had this kind of emotion.”

Ferrari’s plan to build an electric model marks a bold and expensive bet for a luxury automaker famed for its roaring, powerful combustion engines. Little is known about the electric model, which is not scheduled for launch until the fourth quarter of 2025. Yet the notion of an electric Prancing Horse has already set off a vigorous debate in the auto community and among wealthy car collectors.

Much of the debate is focused on engine sound. Ferrari powertrains are prized for their symphony of roars, rumbles, pops and high-pitched whines. Electric motors are largely silent.

Vigna said Ferrari’s power acoustics will always be “authentic,” meaning the company won’t try to recreate the sound of a combustion engine through fake audio programs. He hinted, however, that it could amplify or better showcase the natural sound of an electric motor.

“The electric engine is not silent,” he said. “There is a way to let it play in a unique way.”

Vigna added that engine sound is only one part of the emotional experience of driving the supercar.

“You interact with eyes, with ears, with your full body,” he said. “When you’re talking about the Ferrari experience, the driving traits in a car, you’re talking about having a unique emotion when you’re in the car. Because it’s about linear acceleration, lateral acceleration, braking experience, gearbox change. So there are many dimensions, not just the sound.”

Vigna declined to give projections for the price or overall sales of the all-electric Ferrari. He said the automaker will continue offering customers the choice of internal combustion engines and hybrids alongside the electric model. Ferrari, he said, will remain “technology neutral,” meaning it will leave it to clients to choose their powertrain.

An in-progress Ferrari at the supercar maker’s E-Building in Maranello, Italy.

Crystal Lau | CNBC

With the new E-Building, which spans over 400,000 square feet and cost over 200 million euros ($215 million) to build, Ferrari will for the first time be able to produce cars with any of the three powertrains in the same factory, which maximizes efficiency and flexibility.

“The choice is in the hands of the client,” Vigna said.

The CEO said while he expects some customers will never buy an electric Ferrari, others will make the switch and some drivers will only “become part of the Ferrari family” if they can buy electric.

With the new E-Building, the company also would be better equipped to meet market demand.

Ferrari produced fewer than 14,000 cars last year, and demand remains so strong that wait times for some models are up to three years. Vigna said the new E-Building will allow the supercar maker to expand production, but he declined to provide specific targets.

“Waiting is part of the experience” of owning a Ferrari, Vigna said.

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