Ferrari says e-fuel might save combustion engines

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Ferrari will launch its first EV in 2025, but CEO Benedetto Vigna says “ICE still has a lot to do”.

Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna has suggested the marque could keep selling combustion cars after 2035, in line with the European Union’s plan to allow e-fuel-powered cars to remain on sale.

In March, the EU announced that some cars running exclusively on e-fuels would be allowed to remain on sale beyond the regional ban on new combustion-engined car sales in 2035, raising the intriguing possibility of low-volume marques such as Ferrari continuing to build and sell non-electrified cars.

Speaking at the Financial Times Future of the Car Conference in London, Vigna said the brand remains on track to meet its goal of carbon neutrality by 2030 and that it will launch its first electric car in 2025 as previously announced, but the ability to continue selling combustion-engined cars is a boon because “ICE still has a lot to do”.

He explained that the e-fuels narrative is playing out at a faster speed than earlier anticipated, which has opened up new possibilities for Ferrari in terms of its future product and technology roadmap.

Vigna said: “The discussion that was happening a few weeks ago about the adoption of e-fuel – I thought that this would happen in 2025 or 2026. Now it has happened two years before.

“This is very good for us because you can run a thermal [combustion] car with fuel that is neutral, because you take the CO2 from the atmosphere and you merge it with other things. So I think that the two are very much compatible, and this is a reinforcement of our strategy, if you want.”

Ferrari has so far remained tight-lipped on the design, technical make-up and positioning of its first electric car, but Vigna says all component supply lines have been drawn up and hints that the car is nearly ready to make its debut: “It’s 2023 and 2025 is tomorrow…”

Beyond that, the Italian marque has given little away in terms of how its line-up will evolve, but Vigna’s latest comments suggest combustion could still play a core role. He said: “This approval of the European Union [for the e-fuel exemption] was very, very good for us – for us and for the world, I believe – because it gives life to a technology that still has a long way to go. There are many things that can be done in terms of efficiency, in terms of emissions.

“So let’s say we, as a company, will stick to our strategy: we are investing in ICE, we are investing in hybrid, we are investing in EVs.”

Vigna stopped short of confirming that investment in entirely new engines is therefore on the cards. Ferrari currently has a 3.0-litre V6, a 3.9-litre V8 and a 6.5-litre V12 in its portfolio – the first two of which have already been used in the hybridised 296 GTB and SF90 Stradale supercars.

Importantly, the EU’s e-fuels exemption proposal dictates that any combustion car on sale past 2035 must be unable to run on anything but e-fuel, meaning any existing engines would most likely need to be heavily reworked to meet the requirements.

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