Ferrari doesn’t want an all-electric model, so Electric GT made one itself

It hasn’t been that long since Sergio Marchionne, the CEO of Ferrari, said that the brand’s stable would never have room for an all-electric prancing horse. He even went so far as to say that a Ferrari without a traditional internal combustion engine would be “obscene.” There’s no doubt that a number of Ferrari fanboys inevitably feel the same way, but that didn’t stop an electric car conversion company based out of San Diego, California from creating the world’s first all-electric Ferrari.

The company responsible for this travesty is known as Electric GT. It got its hands on a salvage-titled 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS that had previously be destroyed by fire because of a leaking fuel line. The engine and electrical system had been destroyed beyond repair, so Electric GT decided to rip out the car’s heart and replaced it with the first-even three-motor unit and a battery pack.

The men responsible for the first all-electric Ferrari made it a point to engineer and design a new powerplant that would preserve the car’s integrity. Michael Bream, an EV specialist that worked on the project, said, “We have to be careful with iconic cars, as we want to preserve their history, but still make them impressive to drive. Technology changes, and we are now in a time when an electric SUV is faster than a Ferrari sports car.

This is probably one of those situations where you’re either really going to like what the company did, or you’re going to hate it. Whether you like the idea of an all-electric Ferrari or not, at the end of the day, turning that 308 GTS in an all-electric car is better than crushing it into a cube and forgetting about it. So, let’s dive on in a take a look at what the company was able to pull off.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ferrari 308 GTS By Electric GT.

What makes the Ferrari 308 GTS By Electric GT special

1978 Ferrari 308 GTS By Electric GT High Resolution Exterior
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Before you start hating on Electric GT too much, at least wait until you’ve heard what the company did while bringing this 308 GTS back to life. To start off, the once-dead 308 GTS was stripped down to a bare chassis. All useable parts that weren’t used during the rebuild were actually given back to the Ferrari community to be used on other 308 projects and looked to the Ferrari Chat community for insight and contribution – a gesture that is sure to make any fan of the Ferrari brand happy. Eric Hutchinson from Electric GT said, “The Ferrari Chat community really contributed to this project. Several guys from the forum came to see the project and some even flew across the country. The support was awesome.”

As you can see from the images, Electric GT did right by the Ferrari name by leaving, or restoring, the interior and exterior to original specifications. The only thing out of place, inside or out, is the Alpine radio that has been mounted in the dash above the center console. For those of you who don’t know, the 308 GTS had a single-din-size pocket here, and it has become a common place for aftermarket radio installation over the years. Looking at some of the pictures we have here, and the extent of damage caused by the fire in, you’ve really got to tip your hat to Electric GT. It’s hard to believe that the finished car is that same that had that extensive fire damage to the entire rear hatch, most of the roof, and both rear quarters.

1978 Ferrari 308 GTS By Electric GT High Resolution Drivetrain
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Since the car was converted over to all electric, there is, of course, some considerable modifications. Open the hatch and you’ll find that the engine bay has been tubbed out with clear-finished carbon fiber. Sitting at the rear is a host of battery backs that are connected to the triple-motor unit that is mounted in the middle of the tub. I’ve got to say that I’ve seen quite a few electric conversions over the years, and Electric GT did a phenomenal job converting this Ferrari. If you didn’t know much about cars (or Ferrari for that matter), it would be pretty easy to assume the car was built this way at the factory.

The triple electric HPEVS AC-51 motor assembly is the first of its kind and is able to develop 330 pound-feet of torque. That motor unit is connected to a 30 kWh battery, allowing an overall range of about 100 miles – not bad for the first all-electric Ferrari, right? That range doesn’t seem like much, I know, but bigger battery packs are available. Electric GT chose to go with the 30 kWh unit to “keep the car light” and “maintain the original feel of Ferrari. Keep in mind that the electric motors produce nearly twice the torque of the original engine.

1978 Ferrari 308 GTS By Electric GT High Resolution Interior
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Don’t move on quite yet – we still have more to talk about. Electric GT wanted to capture a true driving experience. So, it mated that triple-motor unit to a Porsche G50 five-speed transmission in a “flipped mid-engine orientation.” This was done because a manual gearbox is said to improve efficiency and performance of electric vehicles. Tesla planned on using one in its Roadster, and manual gearboxes are used in Formula E race cars as well. According to Eric Hutchinson, it engages the driver in a “clutch dropping, gear pounding, Ferrari experience.”

All told, Ferrari’s tube frame chassis made the 308 GTS a good candidate for an EV conversion, plus the car is aerodynamically sound, with race inspired suspension and a light-weight design. When speaking of the finished project, Hutchinson said, “It will continue to be as iconic as ever with a new power plant that is always ready for some tire smoking, clutch banging driving. I love that I can drive a high-performance Ferrari by charging it on my solar panels at home.”

1978 Ferrari 308 GTS By Electric GT High Resolution Exterior
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If you want to see the Electric Ferrari in action, it will take part in the Re-Fuel Electric Car Races on May 22, 2016, at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California. I don’t know about you, but I’ll make it a point to tune in and see how well the electric 308 GTS really performs.

Ferrari 308 GTS

1977 - 1980 Ferrari 308 GTS
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The Ferrari 308 GTS was added to the Ferrari stable in 1977 at the Frankfurt Salon. It was quite similar to the 308 GTB, but the “S” in the name stood for Spider. Of course, even that was a bit of a misdirection as the cars was, in fact, a Tara top. The fiberglass roof was removable and could be stored behind the seats. There was also a small luggage compartment located behind the engine bay and was accessible by lifting the rear hatch. All told, a total of 3,219 examples of the GTS was produced, which was significantly more than the number of 308 GTB coupes produced. It was originally equipped with a 3.0-liter V-8 that delivered a good-for-the-time 255 horsepower. The car has widely become known over the years for being durable and powerful.
Read our full review on the Ferrari 308 GTS here.

Press Release

Ferrari’s CEO Sergio Marchionne announced that Ferrari will never build an electric car. He drove a Tesla and afterwards said that the idea of a Ferrari without an internal combustion engine would be “an obscene concept” and that it’s something Ferrari will never do. Unfortunately for Sergio, the world’s first 100% electric Ferrari was recently completed by Electric GT, a San Diego based electric car conversion company.

1978 Ferrari 308 GTS By Electric GT High Resolution Exterior
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Electric GT rescued a salvage titled 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS from certain death. Fires are nothing new to Ferrari and this car was no exception. Leaking fuel burned the motor and electrical systems of this former beauty beyond repair. Out of the ashes rose the perfect conversion opportunity. Restoration, design, engineering and recycling efforts beckoned a major undertaking for the formerly iconic 308 GTS.

The burned out Ferrari was stripped down to the bare chassis, and every original part that wasn’t used was returned back to the Ferrari community and quickly found homes in other 308 projects around the globe. “The Ferrari Chat community really contributed to this project” says Hutchison, “several guys from the forum came to see the project and some even flew across the country. The support was awesome.”

Hutchison worked with friend and EV specialist Michael Bream at EV West to engineer and design an electric powerplant that would preserve the integrity of the Ferrari. “We have to be careful with iconic cars, as we want to preserve their history, but still make them impressive to drive” states Bream. “Technology changes, and we are now in a time when an electric SUV is faster than a Ferrari sports car.”

The V8 was replaced with a first-ever triple electric HPEVS AC-51 motor assembly providing 330 ft lbs of torque with a range of 100 miles. The current battery of 30 kWh delivers excellent performance, and Electric GT will a soon offer a pack with twice that capacity. “We can make it even faster and give it more range, but instead chose to keep it light and maintain the original feel of a Ferrari” said Hutchison. With nearly double the torque of the original engine, the electric motors are no contest for even the finest tuned Weber carburetors.

1978 Ferrari 308 GTS By Electric GT High Resolution Interior
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To capture the true driving experience, Electric GT used a Porsche G50 5 speed gearbox in a flipped mid-engine orientation to reliably deliver the electric Ferrari’s increased torque. Manual gearboxes in EVs improve efficiency and performance, as evidenced in Tesla’s planned inclusion of a transmission in the original Roadster, and Formula E’s use of gearboxes in their racecars. “The massive torque transferring through the transmission engages the driver in a clutch dropping gear pounding Ferrari experience.” states Hutchison.

Electric car numbers have grown significantly in the past year with over 1 million EV’s on the road. The problem is the typical car enthusiast doesn’t want a Nissan Leaf, and the only performance option is a Tesla sedan. Gone is the expensive maintenance associated with daily driving a Ferrari, and the annual passing of a smog check.

Justin Herrmann of Strategic Racing Designs who assisted on the Electric Ferrari project states “The Ferrari tube frame chassis makes it the perfect candidate for an EV conversion.” Herrmann continues “the aerodynamics, race inspired suspension and light weight design is ideal.”

Instead of ending up in the car crusher, Hutchison has brought this Ferrari back to life. “It will continue to be as iconic as ever with a new power plant that is always ready for some tire smoking, clutch banging driving.” Hutchison said “I love that I can drive a high performance Ferrari by charging it on my solar panels at home.”

1978 Ferrari 308 GTS By Electric GT High Resolution Interior
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The Electric Ferrari will be running in this year’s Re-Fuel Electric Car Races on May 22, 2016 at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, CA.

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