The problem with absolutes is that they’re, well, absolute. I’m quite certain at some point in Ferrari’s history, perhaps Enzo Ferrari himself was asked about Ferrari building cars with automatic gearboxes. I’m quite certain his reply would have been along the lines of “Ferraris are cars for the driver, and you’ll never see a Ferrari with an automatic gearbox.”
Times change, technologies evolve, and the only Ferrari still available with a manual transmission today is the California. That’s why I have to chuckle at Ferrari’s president, Luca di Montezemolo when he says, “you will never see a Ferrari electric because I don’t believe in electric cars.” Never is a long time, and technology changes in a heartbeat. We’d be the first to admit that electric cars lack practicality today, but their performance potential keeps us intrigued. At some point in the future, assuming technologies like smart roadways and inductive charging progress, electric cars will be lighter and more powerful than their gasoline counterparts. That’s why you never say, “never.”
More intriguing are di Montezemolo’s comments on hybrids, which he views as “the future” for Ferrari. Hybrids, by nature, are heavier and more complex than either gasoline vehicles or pure electric vehicles, and weight is the enemy of the performance car. It’s likely necessary for Ferrari to embrace hybrids in order to meet fuel-economy and emission standards worldwide, but it seems odd to back a technology that goes counter to what Ferrari was once about.
These days, it’s not about pushing the limits of performance. It’s about selling cars that make you look fast.