Ferrari. It’s a company famous for its less-than-positive attitudes towards electric power. After all, an electric motor can’t sing like a beautifully tuned V8 can.
And while Ferrari has somewhat changed its stance on electric power (it’s testing a hybrid model now, if reports are to be believed), we’re still a long way from seeing an all-electric Ferrari gracing the pages of the Internet.
But for one Ferrari owner, that just won’t do. CNN’s Supercharged recently spoke to Californian Eric Hutchison, who’s turned an old, rusty 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS into the world’s first (and only) fully electric Ferrari.
Hutchison found the 1978 Ferrari totally destroyed after a catastrophic engine fire — the motor and all of its electronics were irreparable. But $10,000 later, he was the owner of a Ferrari 308 shell.
“When I brought the project home from the junk yard, I was completely horrified. It had been burned up in a fuel fire, gasoline leaked on the motor. It smelled, all the rubber was melted, there was broken glass. It was frankly a mess. I think I quit four times in the year and a half to two years that it took to get there,” Hutchison told Supercharged.
But Hutchison persevered, spending $10,000 on repairing the 308 GTS’ body, and fitting it with three large lithium-ion batteries. Sacrilege? Maybe, but Hutchison reckons the process was worth it because he not only saved a classic Ferrari, but also made it faster.
“Converting what is historically a gas car with a big roar to all electric is extremely polarising in public. Because it’s a Ferrari there’s ‘Why’d you do that?’. This car came back to life with double the torque and almost double the horsepower, essentially. It’s a whole different experience. It might not have been engineered for this much speed, but it handles it really well,” he said.
In fact, this electric 308 GTS is way, way faster than the original.
“I really was dying to know how this 308 compared to a stock 308. We had a professional driver drive both cars in a timed environment on the same track — about a mile and a half — and the professional driver did that lap in 1:26 with a gas Ferrari,” Hutchison explained.
“The electric car absolutely decimated the gas car, watching the professional driver off the line, the electric car left like a 25-foot burn out as he was just gripping for traction.”
Indeed, the electric car was over 10 seconds quicker around the same course than its fossil-fuelled relative.
The car has since been sold at an auction – to a guy who thought he was simply buying a pristine 308 GTS. But when he found out that this particular 308 was electric, he was over the moon – he had something faster and greener than what he thought he was buying. And it was all wrapped in that beautiful vintage shell.
“I didn’t know that it was electric when I was bidding on it, I just thought it was in pristine condition and something that you can drive. Being from California, electric right now is the way to be and then the good thing about it is there’s no emissions — all you ever have to do is change brakes and change tires,” the buyer, Drew Gill, told CNN’s Supercharged.
“It’s fast, it’s way better than any other electric car that you’re going to drive on the market today, and it’s a Ferrari. What else do you want out of a car?”
What do you think? Would you be on board with whacking an electric motor or three into a Ferrari?