Ferrari Chairman Sergio Marchionne a year ago said the idea of an electric Ferrari was “almost an obscene concept.”
But last November he conceded that Ferrari entering the Formula E electric car racing series is a possibility.
Now he’s on the record as stating that Ferrari being involved in Formula E is a necessity for the Italian firm. That necessity is not due to the need for a pure electric supercar but rather hybrids, technology for which could be honed in Formula E competition.
“We need to be involved in Formula E because electrification via hybridization is going to be part of our future,” Marchionne said in an interview with Auto, the FIA’s official magazine. “Hybridization is crucial to Ferrari.”
Ferrari will need hybrids to meet stricter fleet average emission targets due in coming years. There’s also the possibility that in the future cars will need to be emissions free to enter certain cities, which Ferrari could achieve with plug-in hybrid technology.
Part of Marchionne’s desire to join Formula E is probably also so Ferrari doesn’t look like its lagging rivals in the technology race. McLaren is already supplying the high-performance electric motors for Formula E and major automakers such as Audi, BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz are already committed to the sport or have expressed interest in doing so.