Ferrari Chairman and CEO Louis Camilleri addressed analysts this week in the company’s quarterly results conference call, confirming Ferrari’s plans to go forward with hybrid electric cars and stating that the company’s “leaning toward” making key EV components for such vehicles itself, rather than sourcing them.
Camilleri’s statement was hedged, far from a definitive declaration, but I find it interesting that Ferrari’s boss seems to feel that the company can develop better EV systems than anybody currently making them.
Here’s the line exchange I’m referring to, per a transcript of the call from The Motley Fool:
Morgan Stanley Analyst Adam Jonas asked:
“...Louis, on EVs, can you tell us how you and the management team are looking at make-or-buy decisions with respect to key battery components, cells, software, pack, in terms of your room to collaborate with partners that have huge scale and a part of the product that maybe the consumer doesn’t see? Or does this have to be done within house of Ferrari as you leverage your Formula 1 expertise and design in thermal and everything else? I just — I know I’m throwing a lot at you there, but can you just give us a sense of what you buy-in versus do in -house on those critical components going forward?”
To which Ferrari Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Louis Camilleri replied:
“Well, clearly, we work with our privilege suppliers, but — and if it’s something we’re studying, but ultimately, I think we’re leaning toward make rather than buy to assure a competitive advantage in terms of the battery, the cells, et cetera.”
Some of the major electric propulsion pieces on the hybrid Ferrari the world’s already seen, the Ferrari LaFerrari, or Ferrari The Ferrari if you like, were made by supplier Magneti Marelli. Its HY-KERS system helped The Ferrari creep toward 1,000 horsepower, adding about 160 HP on top of what that car’s V12 was roaring out. Apparently it was not without issues, as referenced on the forum FerrariChat, though I doubt too many LaFerrari owners even use the cars enough to notice anything less than a severe malfunction.
The batteries themselves were assembled at the company’s Scuderia racing department, developed along the same lines as the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) Ferrari has used in F1 racing.
Interestingly, I was just reading on the Malaysian car blog Drive Safe & Fast that the cost to replace a LaFerrari’s primary battery and secondary hybrid battery is about $23,000 out there. Which, considering the car listed for about a million bucks, actually sounds really cheap. Maybe that figure doesn’t include installation.
Anyway, it’s interesting to watch which car companies commit to developing proprietary EV components and which will leave that development to industrial suppliers. I’m definitely on board with Ferrari investing in hybrid and electric propulsion tech going forward. If nothing else, it shows that the company sees it as a significant part of its future.