Ferrari has decided to stick with internal combustion engines rather than join the crowd. The famed Italian supercar manufacturer is known for its shrieking V8 and V10 engines. And, despite government pressure, will not force electric drivetrains onto their customers. The sound is, after all, a big part of what makes them a Ferrari.
Under the article, there was a comment “a Ferrari that doesn’t win races isn’t a Ferrari” and went on to suggest that the tune would change “when their $600,000 works of art start getting blown away by an electric minivan full of kids, driven by a soccer mom sipping a latte and talking to her mom about her test results, and towing two jet skis.”
If owning a Ferrari was about winning illegal drag races, redlight to redlight, this is a valid point. Obviously, being formidably fast is part of the supercar equation and electric does have a significant torque advantage right off the line. Nobody who spent half a million on a vehicle wants to be dusted by a minivan full of kids.
The van was faster and legend is, in the book of Things That Never Happened, the guy with the McLaren traded it for the modded Honda.
However, the problem with this argument is that there are already muscle cars that will beat a Ferrari in a straight-line race. And many mundane cars can be modified or tuned to at least give a supercar a run for their money. But that’s not the point. Nobody is going to trade their F50 for a Civic with a big turbocharger. Why is that?
First of all, what it takes to win a drag race is completely different from being competitive in the 24 hours of LeMans.
Currently, there is no EV in the world that has the kind of endurance to go full bore (or coil) for as long as a real track car. The Tesla P100DL can only last a lap and a half before it must be pitted due to the batteries overheating. But the main problem is simply that batteries do not store enough energy and take far too long to recharge to be viable in competition.
The huge advantage of petroleum is energy density. This means both extended range and also lightweight. This translates to better driving dynamics, and less demand (or wear) on brakes and tires, which is key to winning races.
And there is no magic wand that will solve these massive drawbacks of EVs either. It’s just how the chemistry and physics work out.
Secondly, most people who drive a Ferrari aren’t racing them nor do they need to own the fastest car on the road. They own the car for the same reason that a person buys a painting rather than a photograph. Sure, the image a cell phone can produce is much more realistic than the artwork, but arguing that this makes a van Gogh worthless is silliness.
Or, more to the point, a true aviation enthusiast isn’t going to turn down a ride in a P-51 Mustang arguing that commercial airliners are fast or that the jet engine made that V12 Merlin obsolete. Sure, the car may have replaced the horse, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who enjoys these beautiful animals is Amish or a Luddite. No, rather they enjoy the experience of riding a horse, being near something with a personality, breathing and majestic.
A pure driving experience is not about only the performance stats on paper. No, it is about way more than that. It is about how it feels.
There’s a reason why Mazda Miatas are a favorite and it had nothing to do with being able to blow the doors off all comers. It was about those intangibles. A combination of size and handling makes a driver’s car.
My Shelby GT-350 isn’t the fastest Mustang on the road. The manual transmission makes it slower than it could be with the latest automatics. But there is just something glorious about the whole experience that was not matched during my test drive of a similarly powered Mustang Mach-E.
Sure, EV fanboys may only care about the 0-60 numbers. But, if that’s all it is about, then why not buy the theoretical future EV minivan that accelerates like a top fuel dragster while pulling jet skis? It’s much more practical than a Ferrari. Why pay a premium for a less capable vehicle?
A car enthusiast knows the answer. They know why the old guy in the neighborhood putters around in their Model T Ford and they also understand why someone restores a vintage Porsche that’s not even a match for a family sedan.
There’s no way to rank fine art. It is all subjective, finesse and balance, what does it for you, those who want to turn everything into some kind of adolescent tool measuring contest don’t get it—they never will.