Ferrari is full speed ahead on its first electric car—and the CEO promises it’s going to roar just as loud as a combustion engine

Formula 1 drivers aren’t the only ones who love the sounds of a screaming V-8 engine. Ferrari customers love the roar of the car so much that the Italian automaker is making no concessions when recreating it in its forthcoming EV.

“When we talk about luxury cars like our cars, we are talking about the emotion that we are able to deliver to our client, so we are not talking about functional cars like other EVs that you see on the road,” Ferrari CEO Benedetto Vigna said in a Tuesday CNBC interview.

EVs are archetypally silent thanks to the lack of combustion, but Ferrari is incorporating its engine’s classic soundscape through audio technology. Last year it filed a patent for an amplification system that would magnify the sound of at least one electric motor on the car and reroute it through the back of the car. The manufacturer will begin production of its inaugural electric supercar in 2025.

Ferrari’s pivot to EV production is highly anticipated. It announced a $4.6 billion investment in electric alternatives during a 2022 investor presentation with the goal of having hybrid and fully electric vehicles make up 60% of their portfolio by 2026. Ferrari forecasted $2.9 billion in earnings for that year. But the Italian automaker is late to the EV game and has stiff competition, including BYD, which overtook Tesla as the world’s bestselling EV maker in the last quarter of 2023. Last month it launched its $233,450 EV supercar set to rival Ferrari and Lamborghini.

Several EV makers have experimented with bespoke soundscapes. After all, the manufactured noise is not only a bid to appeal to drivers who find the sound of the car important to driving it, but also is a safety measure to give fair warning to visually or hearing impaired pedestrians that have trouble detecting the usually quiet EVs. As of August 2022, all hybrid and electric cars in the U.S. must have a minimum noise requirement, per the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Recapturing the nostalgia and excitement of a powerful vehicle remains important to manufacturers. The electric Dodge Charger will use a not-yet-finalized Fratzonic Chambered Exhaust to mimic the V-8 engine sound that defined the American muscle car. The sound choices are as much of an art as it is a science. Academy Award-winning composer Hans Zimmer designed the sound for the electric BMW i4. 

“Sounds and noises transport us to certain places or to certain memories,” Zimmer said. “Sound gives rise to energy.”

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