It became clear last week that Ferrari CEO Marchionne doesn't think Tesla has created a real supercar (even though Tesla did unveil a new Roadster last November that, when built, will be the fastest thing on the road, with a predicted 0-60 time of 1.9 seconds and styling that's anything but stodgy).
He reiterated his "Ferrari will be first" comment, in the process taking a shot at the handling characteristic of electric vehicles. They aren't great. The P100D is stunning in a straight line, but that makes it more of an electric muscle car than a flashy European go-around-corners demon, like, say, a Ferrari 458 Italia.
Marchionne took a shot:
He also took a shot at Tesla, citing an earlier 0-60 time.
"I have read some interesting analyst reports that suggest that that now that Tesla has done a car that does 0-60 mph in 2.7 seconds and there is no room for supercars," he said."Well, I would challenge anybody who's driven an electric car to try and drive at the same way we drive a Ferrari and you’d recognize immediately that the handling characteristics of the car are totally different. So whenever Ferrari will express itself in a fully electric vehicle, it will do so by making sure that both sound and handling are reflective of Ferrari's heritage."
Marchionne has a point. We've driven the Model S in Ludicrous Mode, and while it is certainly fast, we've also driven the Ferrari 488, and there's no reasonable comparison. You can take a stock 488, rig it up for racing, and run it in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. You can take a Model S to the drag strip.
Ultimately, Tesla and other EV brands might produce "their" Ferraris. But for now, Ferrari thinks they have some work to do — and is convinced that its electric supercars, should they ever exist, will still be not just Ferrari-good, but Ferrari-better.