Lamborghini, Jaguar … Boost the luxury car on the electric


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If you’ve ever had the opportunity to walk the hills around Bologna in northeastern Italy, you may have unknowingly come across Lamborghini bees. A nickname – it is not a new variety of ultra-fast insects – which was given to them because the 13 hives that house these bees are located in Parco Lamborghini. A park built in 2010 by the prestigious luxury brand, located near its Sant’Agata Bolognese factory, from which 7,430 race cars came out last year, to compensate for part of the site’s CO2 emissions. “Three researchers from the University of Bologna are studying their behavior to find out the effects of pollution and pesticides,” said a spokesman for the bull mark. An experiment that is part of a broader approach that enabled the company to achieve a “CO2-neutral” brand for its factory in 2015, especially thanks to the largest solar cell installation in the Emilia-Romagna region.

The electrification race is underway

Angry spirits could see it as yet another ripolinage in green, just to make people forget that the transalpine industrialist is first and foremost a manufacturer of racing cars of over 700 horsepower and 300 kilometers per hour, which atomizes the CO2 meters at it less acceleration. And let’s be honest, we would be tempted to agree with them. But times are changing. Lamborghini has announced the arrival of an all-electric model in 2027. And it’s not the only manufacturer of “supercars” to turn its cuti. The latter have been competing with ads since the beginning of the year to show how committed they are to the floor in the electrification revolution. Porsche is thus aiming for a fully electrified series (electric or hybrid) by 2030, Rolls-Royce intends to scrap its thermal V12 before the end of the decade, Jaguar aims to become a 100% electric brand from 2025, and even the legendary Ferrari announced its first battery-powered car in the middle of the decade.

A 180-degree turn, whereas the abandonment of thermals only yesterday seemed unthinkable to the leaders of these claws, who were shaken all their lives by the song of the stamps, whether in line or in V. “For a large number of our customers , it’s impossible to imagine a real 100% electric Ferrari, “said the former head of the Maranello company, Louis Camilleri, in late 2019. “The internal combustion engine is part of the DNA of these brands. For them, going electric is a bit like asking a luxury watch manufacturer to abandon mechanisms and go digital,” said Pierre Gerfaux, head of the automotive sector at Accenture.

Increasingly strict rules for CO2 emissions

So how can such a turn be explained? No revelation, but the obligation to comply with increasingly stringent emission targets. Jaguar has already had to pay a fine of 40 million euros to the European Commission for exceeding its CO2 targets this year. And the experts in the exceptional car have their eyes fixed on the direct ban on internal combustion engines on new cars sold in Europe from 2035. “Not to mention the slightest social acceptance of these big cars, which is starting to become problematic for buyers.” said Philippe Houchois, an analyst at Jefferies.

To gently get rid of their dependence on diesel, manufacturers have opted for the hybrid as a transitional step. Porsche has paved the way “with the plug-in hybrid Panamera, which we launched in 2013”, welcomes Marc Meurer, CEO of Porsche France. And everyone is now happily getting into it, just as Lamborghini, which plans to launch hybrid versions of all of its 2023 vehicles, is a little less damaging. “And above all, this allows buyers to avoid the penalty, which in France can now climb up to 30,000 euros! But this can only be a step: From 2035, even hybrids will no longer be able to overlook the European asphalt, “recalls Jean Pierre Corniou, Deputy CEO of Sia Partners.

Reinvent the DNA of these legendary brands

As well, the manufacturers of “supercars” had the phosphors of their engineers and marketers to succeed in melting the soul of their brand into the electron. One of their very first questions: What noise are their future electric cars going to make? A question that is anything but anecdotal when part of their legend is built on the roar of their internal combustion engines and their zero-emission cousins ​​are almost silent. Stephan Winkelmann, head of Lamborghini, promised this summer “second music, a separate sound” for his very first battery-powered model. “With us, it’s only natural sounds, we do not inject ‘false sounds’: we simply provide a function to amplify the noise from the electric motor,” says Marc Meurer contentedly; way to emphasize that this is not the case with all its competitors ….

It will also be necessary to forget the standard gauge for the number of seconds to go from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour, which made it possible to know who had the largest engine. The absence of latency on electric motors – as on our childhood circuits – allows spectacular acceleration regardless of the car. The difference will be made on optimizing the power and the autonomy of the batteries. “But the greatest added value of these supercars will remain their maneuverability: grip on the ground, ability to take a flat turn at 180 kilometers per hour, safety …”, emphasizes Bernard Jullien, economist, specialist in the automotive industry.

“Ferrari has just announced a partnership with the company Jony Ive, the former star designer of Apple”

And apparently there is always the designed, strong side of this toy for big (and rich) people. The brands intend to be one step ahead of the subject. “Ferrari has just announced a multi-year partnership with LoveFrom, the company of Jony Ive, the former star designer of Apple, who has especially designed the iPhone and Apple Watch. A very, very nice picture,” said Philippe Houchois. The iconic designer is given the heavy task of modernizing the mythical brand without distorting it. And to anchor their brand image and differentiate themselves from the car industry’s “plebs”, “manufacturers of exceptional cars will work even more on personalization: initials on the headrests, rare fuel in the cabin …”, says Pierre Gerfaux. At Lamborghini, where it is already possible to choose from 300 different colors, “we have a team of engineers who are able to reproduce any color chosen by the buyer”, boasts Francesco Scaramuzza, head of the painting workshop. at the Sant’Agata Bolognese factory. . “What manufacturers will get in margins on electric motors – simpler to design and produce – they will re-inject into everything else to ensure their status,” assures Philippe Houchois.

Settlers in ambush

Their great anxiety? That electrification does not reset all counters and puts them on the same starting line as the new native electric premium brands. We’re thinking of Tesla, of course, but in reality there are already a dozen baby Teslas on the planet. Whether they’re called Lucid Motors, Faraday Future, Canoo (American side) or Nine, XPeng, Byton (Chinese side), they intend to sharpen their fangs on the calves of their glorious predecessors. “Blinded by their superiority complex, Ferrari and others let Musk develop its brand without touching a finger, they will never make the mistake of letting a competitor escape again,” warns Jean Pierre Corniou nonetheless.

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As proof, Porsche, having taken over 24% of the capital in Rimac, a Croatian manufacturer of electric race cars for almost 1 million euros each, has just set up a joint venture with the latter, in which the Bugatti brand will be integrated – property as f. ex. Porsche from the Volkswagen Group. The meeting between the old and the new world to imagine the future of the car planet?


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