Ferrari’s most powerful car is their first PHEV

Ferrari’s first plug-in hybrid production vehicle is the SF90 Stradale and it’s the most powerful street-legal car they’ve ever made. With 3 electric motors supplementing a 3.9 litre V8, the Stradale marks a new era for the world’s premier sportscar manufacturer. We look at the specs and the history to see what this means for Ferrari and the future of performance motoring.

Stradale from overhead

The SF90 Stradale, revealed this week and slated for a 2020 release, is Ferrari’s first plug-in hybrid (PHEV) after a long history of performance combustion motoring. The name is a reference to the 90th anniversary of the Scuderia Ferrari racing team and marks several significant milestones for the company.

The Stradale delivers a combined 986 hp through its turbo V8 and three electric motors. Two of those motors drive the front axle and are used exclusively in the fully electric eDrive mode. When both the engine and motors are engaged the Stradale is the first Ferrari sportscar to be equipped with 4WD. It accelerates 0-100 km/h in only 2.5 seconds.

Drivers will be able to select from 4 modes of driving:

eDrive: fully electric front-wheel drive with 25 km range. Reverse is only available in this mode.

Hybrid: this is the default mode when the Stradale starts, maximising efficiency using regenerative braking and turning the engine on and off as necessary.

Performance: keeps the engine on all the time to maintain battery charge. Suitable for driving at high speeds for long periods.

Qualify: power output is prioritised from the engine and the electric motors. Battery charge is allowed to deplete for maximum performance over short periods.

Ferrari first experimented with hybrid vehicles in the short-lived & ultra-exclusive LaFerrari in 2013, and are expected to continue developing the tech as part of their plan to hybridise 60% of their range by 2022.

Interior design also marks a few changes for Ferrari. The Stradale will feature a 16” curved HD screen and fully keyless entry, both of which are expected to extend to their other models in the coming years.

Forward focus

The fact that Ferrari’s first PHEV is their most powerful model is of enormous significance for them; their engines have been central to the brand since day one. Early moves toward EV were discouraged by the company; former Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo said in 2011, “you will never see an electric Ferrari.”

Hindsight shows this policy was doomed to failure. They promised last year that 60% of their range would be hybridised by 2022. With emissions regulations growing stricter and the clear dominance of electric drivetrains for performance, the decision to start hybridising is looking increasingly wise from the legacy automaker.

The real question is whether they’ll be able to keep up without going all-in on electric vehicles. The 2020 Tesla Roadster is projected to blow the Stradale’s specs out of the water when it drops next year. Even if Tesla’s figures turn out to be extraordinarily inaccurate and their $200,000 USD price doubles, it will still beat the $1 million plus expected for the Stradale.

Hybrids are a start, but will they be enough to save Ferrari? Let us know what you think and check back to the JET Charge blog for more EV news and updates.