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First electric Ferrari faster than original: ‘It absolutely decimated it’

Source : CNN

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Back in 2016, Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne said an electric Ferrari would be “obscene”. What’s the point of a silent Ferrari when the aggressive sound of its engine is a crucial part of the driving experience, he argued.

And while Marchionne has since changed his stance, admitting that the luxury automaker will move towards electrification by 2020, Hutchinson couldn’t wait that long, so he spent thousands of hours restoring and modernising his vintage 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS. Californian Eric Hutchison accomplished the unthinkable and created the very first — and, as it turns out, fastest — electric 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS.

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.

Now fitted with three batteries, the California-based vehicle is not only sustainable, but faster too.

The roar of Hutchison’s car, which has three batteries — one in the front and two in an L-shaped configuration where the gas tanks used to sit — has been replaced by a quieter electric hum.

“There’s something very calming about sitting in a car when it’s not making any engine noise,” he explains.

“You put your foot down on the pedal in this car, it elicits fear, it’s scary, it launches, it explodes and that there’s no noise and then you put your foot down and you hear your tires ripping.

“The adrenaline of getting in an electric car with this much power on a Ferrari frame is phenomenal. Indescribable.”

But is it comparable to an original Ferrari?

“Not by any means,” Hutchison admits. “It’s a whole different experience.

“The association with noise and shifting is an automotive experience … the symphony changes tremendously and the car — the feeling, the motors — sound much more like a jet engine when they fire up.

“So there are other noises that come with the change and if you compare it to what a Ferrari has sounded like forever, of course, it’s not a Ferrari engine.”

After completing work on the car, Hutchison put it up for sale with classic car auctioneer Barrett Jackson.

“The most satisfying part of the experience is having someone else share the experience of the electric car,” Hutchinson explains. “A classic car that’s 40 years old, it’s going to go for 40 more years to share that, to drive it, and to show that elsewhere to other people. ”

The GTE’s new owner, Drew Gill, was ecstatic to find out the sports car was electric.

“I didn’t know that it was electric when I was bidding on it,” he reveals.

“I just thought it was in pristine condition and something that you can drive.”

It was only when Gill won the auction after bidding $77,000 that he learned of its unconventional engine.

“It wasn’t making any noise but it was moving and then we sat in the post-bid section where we were discussing the car and I found out there that it was electric and I was even more amped.

“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 so it’s something that I don’t feel bad about driving.

“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?”

“The electric car absolutely decimated the gas car,” he says, having hired a professional driver to compare the two, concluding with a 10 second difference between the cars.

Having put the car up for auction, the GTE’s current owner, Drew Gill, was ecstatic to find out the sports car was electric: “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?”

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