© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Ferrari logo will be seen at the company's headquarters in Maranello, Italy on June 8, 2021. REUTERS / Guglielmo Mangiapane
By Giulio Piovaccari
MILAN (Reuters) – Ferrari (NYSE 🙂 announced a new plug-in hybrid car on Thursday to expand its range of cleaner vehicles and meet changing tastes in the exclusive high-performance sports car market.
The new 296 GTB comes after the 2019 SF 90 Stradale, Ferrari's first series hybrid car, and the 2020 SF90 Spider. The Italian company, known for its prancing horse logo and red racing cars, has its first fully electric model promised for 2025.
Ferrari and competitors, also associated with powerful engines, are wrestling over how to convert their line of products to battery-powered propulsion without losing the extreme performance that supports their premium prices.
Porsche, part of the Volkswagen (DE 🙂 Group, already offers a fully electric vehicle with its Taycan model, but Ferrari is ahead of its arch-rival Lamborghini, also part of Volkswagen, whose first fully electric sports car will not appear until the second half of this decade .
To lead Ferrari into the new era of electrification, the company selected technology industry veteran Benedetto Vigna, a physics graduate who has spent the last 26 years at chipmaker STMicroelectronics, as its new CEO earlier this month.
The new 296 GTB sports car will be fitted with a 6-cylinder (V6) mid-rear turbo engine, the first for a Ferrari road car, although such engines go back to the 1950s in Ferrari racing cars.
Ferrari road cars are usually powered by V8 or more powerful – but also more polluting – V12 engines.
Nevertheless, the V6 engine in conjunction with a 122 kW electric motor can produce a whopping 830 hp for the new two-seater.
The 296 GTB is the third of three cars Ferrari has promised for this year.
It comes after the 812 Competizione and 812 Cometizione A, the two limited edition V12 models it unveiled in April, and it keeps it up with its ambitious plan to launch 15 new models between 2018 and 2022, including its first SUV, Purosangue (whole blood), probably next year.
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