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Challenging Tesla, Ferrari Will Build An Electric Sportscar -- and an SUV (theverge.com) 117

Long-time Slashdot reader Kant shared an article from The Verge: Ferrari will build a battery-electric supercar in a bid to challenge Tesla for a piece of the high-end, eco-conscious luxury market. CEO Sergio Marchionne, who also heads Fiat Chrysler, said that the Italian racecar company would also make a Ferrari SUV -- after previously dismissing the idea as ridiculous. Speaking at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Marchionne didn't offer any specifics on the electric Ferrari, but indicated the company would release it before the Tesla Roadster hits the road in 2020.

"If there is an electric supercar to be built, then Ferrari will be the first," Marchionne said, according to Bloomberg. "People are amazed at what Tesla did with a supercar: I'm not trying to minimize what Elon did but I think it's doable by all of us."

BMW and Porsche also have plans to introduce all-electric supercars, and Marchionne says "I don't know of a [business] that is making money selling electric vehicles unless you are selling them at the very, very high end of the spectrum."

His remarks were also "a significant departure" from comments made in 2016 about the Ferrari SUV: 'You have to shoot me first.'"
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Challenging Tesla, Ferrari Will Build An Electric Sportscar -- and an SUV

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  • First? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I don't think he understands what the word "first" means.

    "People are amazed at what Tesla did with a supercar" ...""If there is an electric supercar to be built, then Ferrari will be the first,""

    • by haruchai ( 17472 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @10:40AM (#55971893)

      That distinction goes to the Rimac Concept One

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Even so, there is still no chance of Ferrari being first, given that IT ALREADY HAPPENED.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by cayenne8 ( 626475 )
          I don't care about "first"....

          I wish they'd put out an electric sports car, with a range of at least 400+ miles to a charge, 2-seater and make it comparable in price to a corvette (not the Z06)....more of the base model.

          I'd scoop one up in a heartbeat.

          I"ll never have Ferrari money....but there are plenty of us that would spring for an electric 2-seater with performance in the $60-80K range....

          • I"ll never have Ferrari money....but there are plenty of us that would spring for an electric 2-seater with performance in the $60-80K range....

            Yep. I have a 'super enough' 2 seater petrol car. I'd like a Tesla roadster, but it's a choice between that and a house and the house wins.

          • by haruchai ( 17472 )

            "I wish they'd put out an electric sports car, with a range of at least 400+ miles to a charge, 2-seater and make it comparable in price to a corvette (not the Z06)....more of the base model.

            I'd scoop one up in a heartbeat.:"

            Wouldn't we all. But that's a pretty tall order. You may get the 1st two fulfilled in the next 5 years but I don't see it happening for $50k in the next 10 yrs.

      • But think how much fun it will be to watch Richard Hammond crash a Ferrari into oblivion like he did with the Rimac!

        • by haruchai ( 17472 )

          " think how much fun it will be to watch Richard Hammond crash a Ferrari into oblivion"
          How much do you hate him? I think in a Ferrari, he'd probably would have died.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I can never tell what is a supercar and what isn't. I thought it had to be a super fast, expensive sports car. Why doesn't the Tesla Roadster 2010 qualify? It's six figures in cost. 3.7 0-60 time. That puts it on par with a 2008 Mercedes SLR McLaren Roadster (3.7), 2010 Spyker C8 Aileron (4.1), 2010 Dodge Viper SRT-10 (3.6), 2010 Audi R8 (4.1), 2017 Aston Martin V12 Vantage S (3.9) or DB11 (3.8). I'm not saying it is a supercar, what I'm saying is what the hell is the definition of a supercar then? Does it

        • I'm not an expert but i've noticed that an important aspect of a supercar is that it is mid-engine design because for that amount of handling you need all the weight centered in the vehicle. In an EV supercar I imagine both battery and engine would need to be centered.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Electric engine, really ?? Some people are trying to say electric engine when they mean electric motor. This is because they know that cars have engines (internal combustion) and therefore are familiar with the term engine in everyday usage.

            A steam locomotive, also known as a steam engine, uses a piston engine, there is a crankshaft and conrod to convert the linear motion of the piston into rotational motion of the drive wheels.

            Similarly, an internal combustion engine uses a piston engine, there is a cranks

            • The only reason I see that the electric motor is placed centrally is so it can be mated with a transmission, because electric motors get their best torque at 0 RPM, and go down from there.

              • It's all about weight distribution and suspension. If anything with weight is at one end of the vehicle, you get more sideways force on the front or back tires in turns which hurts forward momentum.
            • Granted, it sounded strange when I wrote it and I couldn't put my finger on why. I got stuck on engine because the phrase is 'mid-engine design'. However, upon checking the definition for 'engine' I am happy to report that the word works for EVs as well: "a machine for converting any of various forms of energy into mechanical force and motion; also : a mechanism or object that serves as an energy source. eg.black holes may be the engines for quasars"
            • from wikipedia : "An engine or motor is a machine designed to convert one form of energy into mechanical energy." so; engine = motor.
          • by mspohr ( 589790 )

            Teslas have the battery in a flat pack under the middle of the car ("skateboard design"). Electric motors are located front and rear low next to the wheels. This gives a very low center of gravity and ideal 50-50 weight distribution. Much better than a mid-engine ICE car.

          • I'm not an expert but i've noticed that an important aspect of a supercar is that it is mid-engine design because for that amount of handling you need all the weight centered in the vehicle. In an EV supercar I imagine both battery and engine would need to be centered.

            For handling, you want the center of gravity central and low. In a petrol car, the engine is heavy and so to get that, the car needs to be mid engined. An electric car has no such constraint. The battery pack can be (and is) in a plane under the car body and so it pulls the center of gravity lower and to the center, while the motors are light and don't matter in the way a petrol engine does.

      • Rimac eh? I can't keep track of the glut in new supercars. The Grand Tour just listed these upcoming models, and some of them are electric.

        Devel 16
        Ikeya Formula IF-02RDS
        Apollo – Intensa Emozione
        Dallara Stradale
        Asbark OWL
        Vencer Sarth
        Arrinera Hussarya
        Evantra Millecavalli
        Henessy Venom
        Glickenhaus SCG 003
        Zenvo TS1 GT

        • by haruchai ( 17472 )

          The Grand Tour had a Rimac to play with - and crashed & burned it.
          But they were mightily impressed with it's performance, leaving all competitors in the dust.
          Let's hope they're a bit more careful with these upcoming supercars.

          • Yes I saw it. But in a way performance bursts are easy for electric cars. Sustained performance is harder because it requires serious cooling upgrades. Range and loading time are becoming acceptable for a range of users.

    • Re:First? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Sunday January 21, 2018 @10:57AM (#55971961) Homepage Journal

      The modern supercars they put out are kind of stupid anyway. They poured so much effort into shaving a couple of tenths of a second off the 0-60 time with a petrol engine, only to be trounced by an electric sedan costing 1/15th as much.

      Okay, I get that a petrol engine makes a nice sound and can be fun to drive, but these modern supercars don't sound particularly great, are hybrid anyway and the driving experience is carefully managed by the computers needed to wring that level of performance out of a combustion engine. There are plenty of interesting, fun fossil performance cars, but things like the La Ferrari are the iPhones of the car world, expensive jewelry that's good but not terribly interesting.

      And now Tesla have a supercar that does 0-60 in 1.9 seconds, and doesn't overheat. The closest Ferrari have is 2.4 seconds, so they need to learn how to build an electric performance car and shave half a second off their current best. I'm sure they will do it eventually and probably make a car with superior handling, but it will cost at least 5x as much as the Tesla and won't arrive for 5 years.

      Like most European manufacturers, they kinda missed the boat.

      • " Ferrari are the iPhones of the car world, expensive jewelry that's good but not terribly interesting."

        With the difference that iPhones and jewelry make money, Ferrari is a prestige-only penis extension for the Fiat boss.

      • Re:First? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by fluffernutter ( 1411889 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @11:39AM (#55972145)
        Straight line acceleration is only a very small consideration for performance. Could a Tesla S beat a Ferrari around a track? I don't think anyone knows because EVs tend to overheat and turn off performance on any track actually designed to test a vehicle such as Nübergring.
        • by Cederic ( 9623 )

          Apparently someone's done a 10 minute lap of the Nurburgring in a Tesla. So only two minutes slower than a Ford Transit van.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Tesla has stated that the new Roadster will be able to keep going at maximum power output indefinitely.

          But yes, the current family sedan that wins the 0-60 race isn't really designed to be a track car. If course, Ferrari now have to solve the heat dissipation issue too.

        • Re:First? (Score:5, Informative)

          by haruchai ( 17472 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @11:13PM (#55975553)

          "Straight line acceleration is only a very small consideration for performance. Could a Tesla S beat a Ferrari around a track?"

          Straight line accel wasn't a problem until Tesla came along :-D
          No, a Model S isn't made for the track unlike many performance sedans - it needs to have more cooling and to give the option to turn off regen or dial it down more as that heats up the pack too quickly under the kind of frequent braking needed on a demanding road course.

          "I don't think anyone knows because EVs tend to overheat and turn off performance on any track actually designed to test a vehicle such as Nübergring"

          Whoa, let's not jump to conclusions. You can't simply lump all EVs into this basket because the most common ones aren't designed for a famous track. FYI, Teslas and others do very well on shorter courses.
          The Green Hell is a special case.
          That said, the NextEV NIO EP9, a pure battery electric that uses on *air* cooling for the battery pack took on the Nurburgring and shaved almost 2 full seconds off the (then) production vehicle record time that had stood since 2010 when set by the Pagani Zonda.
          I expect the Rimac Concept One which has considerably better cooling than the Model S would also perform respectably around the 'ring.

          • We are talking about production cars. Once you go custom build, it is a completely different conversation.
            • by haruchai ( 17472 )

              The EP9 is considered a production car although I don't agree with that classification.
              The Exagon Furtive completed several Nurburgring runs, driven by Queen Sabine herself but I don't consider that production either.
              When you're up in the very expensive, low-volume brackets, "production" is hard to classify as most of those cars are bespoke.
              It's telling that Ferrari is always hesitant to allow their cars to be tested unsupervised, something that MotorTrend says isn't a problem for any other automaker

        • Straight line acceleration is only a very small consideration for performance. Could a Tesla S beat a Ferrari around a track?

          The fact that you're even having to pose the rhetorical question in the first place is a bit telling, don't you think? I mean, here we are, comparing a family sedan's performance to that of a supercar without a hint of irony or jest. By all rights, the performance of the two shouldn't even be considered in the same sentence and yet we're talking about how the two trade blows.

          That alone should tell you how the world of cars has shifted.

          It'll be interesting to see what happens once Tesla and Ferrari each make

        • by mjwx ( 966435 )

          Straight line acceleration is only a very small consideration for performance. Could a Tesla S beat a Ferrari around a track? I don't think anyone knows because EVs tend to overheat and turn off performance on any track actually designed to test a vehicle such as Nübergring.

          The reason Tesla wont race against an ICE is precisely because they wont do very well. Thus far, none have managed to complete the the 14 mile Nurburgring at full power. In fact racing drivers have panned it as being heavy, unresponsive steering and lacking grip... pretty much the opposite of a sports car. Tesla talk about 0-60 times.... but are quite about how fast it actually goes round a track. As Colin McRae said, "straights are for cars, corners are for drivers" A Tesla isn't a car for doing 2:35 at S

      • Re:First? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Kernel Kurtz ( 182424 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @12:09PM (#55972281) Homepage

        They poured so much effort into shaving a couple of tenths of a second off the 0-60 time with a petrol engine, only to be trounced by an electric sedan costing 1/15th as much

        As long as you don't expect to do a whole lap....

        http://www.thedrive.com/news/5... [thedrive.com]

        Sure, you can do a few ludicrous 0-60 runs before you have to recharge. The petrol engine can do them all day long.

        • by bgarcia ( 33222 )

          As long as you don't expect to do a whole lap....

          Yeah, that was a problem with Tesla's luxury family sedan. We're talking about the upcoming Roadster. It's not going to have that issue. They'll be sure to give that thing enough cooling ability to track it all day long.

          • Hardly a problem, the model s/x is a family car, and I'm fairly certain that my wife would kill me if I told her I'm taking the kids for a spin around the race track.
          • We're talking about the upcoming Roadster. It's not going to have that issue. They'll be sure to give that thing enough cooling ability to track it all day long.

            Those cars go fast by drawing a large amount of current from the battery very quickly. Doing that for a sustained period will not only create a lot of heat, but the bigger problem is if you draw lots of current quickly you use up your charge very quickly as well.

            So all day long with a charging break every few laps, perhaps.

            • by bgarcia ( 33222 )
              Unlike a combustion vehicle, an electric vehicle doesn't use a whole lot more energy when accelerating quickly vs. accelerating slowly (given the same final velocity). Also, regenerative braking would allow the Roadster to recover a good portion of that expended energy. The Roadster has a huge battery, giving it a 600 mile range at normal highway speeds. The Roadster is going to end up needing *fewer* breaks than the combustion vehicles.
      • Like most European car manufacturers, they kinda missed the boat.

        Which is not really important since they're not in the boat manufacturing business.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          People came to America by boat. Those that missed the boat... are still in Europe. "European" and "missed the boat" are practically synonymous.

          • People came to America by boat. Those that missed the boat... are still in Europe. "European" and "missed the boat" are practically synonymous.

            I came by United airlines, through Chicago.

      • Like all other manufacturers, they kinda missed the boat.

        FTFY. Telsa is a unique oddity, not just in Europe but also the USA and Asia.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Nissan got started on EVs fairly early and had quite a lot of success with the Leaf. Aside from producing a great and decent selling car, they have a lot of the patents on EV tech now and have figured out a lot of the issues that other manufacturers are just starting to face, like how to do an EV instrument cluster or manage the battery.

          The Chinese are also doing pretty well. Several Chinese manufacturers, most notably BYD, have lots of EVs and lots of EV tech.

          • Oh I agree, I thought we were talking about performance cars though. There were a few viable EVs before Tesla. One of the guys in my apartment building owns a BYD. Despite what a lot of people think of the Chinese cars it actually seems to be pretty decent.

        • >not just in Europe but also the USA and Asia.

          only small car manufacturers are exclusive to 1 continent. even Tesla is planning factories in China and Europe.

          • Yeah, Ford the South African car company. What the hell are you talking about, no one cares where the factories are, the comments are in the context of the traditional locations.

      • What Ferrari will do though, is to make an electric super car that is *beautiful* - something that seems to elude Tesla. For that reason, it'll be successful amongst the super-car buying super-rich. You don't want a minger parked next to your yacht, it'll ruin the lines ;-)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Forget your supercars and your A.I.-driving gadgets, what we need to make a difference is electric cars that anyone can afford, i.e. sub-$15K electric cars.

    • The issues you raise are exactly why electric and supercar go well together. Even with taxpayers paying half the cost, buying a Nissan Leaf (at half price) doesn't make sense, they are too expensive for what you get. Range, refilling time, etc make electric cars not as practical for everyday use. People don't buy supercars based on price, looking for a good value. Supercars aren't supposed to be practical. Electric is a good fit for supercars.

      Maybe in 20 years a lot of things will change and electric w

      • Sure - not all drivers are well served by any of the electrics cars on the market. But many are.

        Consider that the vast majority of trips driven are 30 miles or less in length, so those 100 mile range cars gets you there and back with charge to spare. About 1/3 of households have one car, and they'll likely want a hybrid or conventional gas car, but multi-car families can usually work things out so that range is not a problem. Electrics can be more convenient since there is rarely a need to charge them

        • A couple weeks ago when I bought another car I really tried to justify going electric. I guess I just wanted one because they're different. The reality is, even after significant government subsidies you end with a low-end economy car for the price of a mid-range gas car, after factoring in gas cost.

          Maintenance costs are low until you pay $6,000 to replace the battery, which is guaranteed to get worn out. Gas cars have low maintenance for the first 60,000 - 100,000 miles too. Even a cheap Kia comes with

    • by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @12:02PM (#55972243) Homepage

      Forget {...} your A.I.-driving gadgets, what we need to make a difference is electric cars that anyone can afford, i.e. sub-$15K electric cars.

      Several European car makers tend to disagree.
      Some of them tend to see driving-assistant gadget as essential tools to increase safety.
      As an example VW for the past few year has offered some form of forward collision avoidance as a standard on *all* of their cars, including the cheapest ones (e.g.: VW Up! - and electric variations thereof).

      ---

      Regarding the price of electric cars themselves : the big barrier is the price of the battery it self. With most cars (Tesla being a prime example), you aren't as much buying an overpriced car, as you're actually buying an giant expensive battery, with the manufacturer adding a car chasis around that battery for a modest increase of price.

      Though there *are* variation (Renault offers plans where you buy the car alone, sans the battery, for a more reasonable price, and then rent the battery for a monthly fee).

      • But you don't need A.I. for basic things like detecting obstacles in front of the car and slowing it down so you don't crash into said obstacle. Students do this sort of thing daily on Arduino or similar. It's a good feature that doesn't require decades of work, powerful neural net processors and thousands of dollars of sensors and cameras all over the car.

        I do agree that the price of the battery is the problem, what we need is a standardized battery that works in all brands of cars/trucks/SUVs/etc. Let Tes

        • But you don't need A.I. for basic things like detecting obstacles in front of the car and slowing it down so you don't crash into said obstacle. {...} It's a good feature that doesn't require decades of work, powerful neural net processors and thousands of dollars of sensors and cameras all over the car.

          Depends.

          Ultra-sound sonars (the kind already equipped on cars for "Parking Assistance" type of feature) only get you that far (pun intended): they are short sighted (only the immediate vicinity around the car) very poor resolution/object recognition (can be easily foiled by grass, or event bursts of air emitted by other vehicles' active suspensions).

          Radars are also limited. They can detect a big metallic object in front (The next car in line, that's why they were the first go-to technology in early iteratio

    • That's not what Ferrari does.

      If you are looking for "affordable" don't even bother reading a press release from Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, etc. You won't find it there.

      Why would you think differently?

  • The comment from Ferrari makes me think of the motorcycle company in the game Full Throttle where the founder mentions the guy who wants to take over the company and sell minivans.

    • Putting out an SUV could be major step toward throwing away the Ferrari brand, the brand image they've carefully built over seventy years.

      Or it could be a way to go from selling 8,000 units per year to selling 80,000 or 800,000 while maintaining their brand identity. For the last several years Porsche has been very carefully expanding, continuing to sell cars to the same customers after they have kids, while maintaining their brand and their high gross profit on each vehicle. The Cayenne is an SUV, yet als

      • by tsa ( 15680 )

        Unlike a Porsche 911, you normally don't use a Ferrari for commuting. So what works for Porsche is probably devastating for Ferrari.

    • It's not quite like that though, because small sport utility vehicles are really fun as performance cars. Think rally vehicles...

      Now if they were ACTUALLY producing a minivan? Then yeah I'd question they brand tie-in.

      All they have to do to be a pretty decent success is not make a sport SUV half as ugly as a Porsche Cayenne [porsche.com]. Maybe don't make a station wagon you call an SUV...

  • The Tesla phenomena isn't just about the cars - Tesla's range and supercharger network have played a critical role in their success. Most other manufacturers are still at step 1 in the process - building the cars - and they won't be really successful until their is a common charging infrastructure that all cars can use.
    • Most other manufacturers are still at step 1 in the process - building the cars - and they won't be really successful until their is a common charging infrastructure that all cars can use.

      Maybe in the USA that is true. In Europe the goal for these companies is to have the electric vehicles available at the same time that the IONITY network goes live, incidentally that will happen in 2020. You'll be able to buy your new Ferrari and drive it from the South of Spain to the north of Lapland stopping only for 20min at a time.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... of all types of cars into one.
    Doesn't fit any (unamerican) parking spot or European city street, costs a shitload of money to buy and in taxes, guzzles tons of gas, spits out tons of pollution, and on the positive side, it drives like a snail-powered 5-ton blancmange on springs.

    The only reason those thing are bought anyway, is because they are basically civilian tanks, and people are such massive pussies nowadays. They delude themselves into believing that they will be safe and not die in them, when i

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Maybe the Ferarri will have design input instead of a big iPad in the center of dash. Too me the Tesla Model 3 is just a plain Jane for a interior. Maybe the textures are nice, and I am sure they are not plastic like. But from what I have seen, its just too bland. Everything done through a giant iPad is not always the best way to do things.

    • I totally agree with you about the big iPad being a bad way to do things (I've been in a Tesla X a few times and wasn't very keen on that touchpad either).

      But I read an interview with a Tesla designer and I liked the thought behind it - basically that it was nice to have an interior that was timeless, because the look of dials and buttons did not give away the age of the car.

      I agree it could look less bland but a pretty blank inside gives them a lot of room for future customization - if I were a Model 3 own

  • >"for a piece of the high-end, eco-conscious luxury market."

    But what would work better is to focus on the tangible advantages of electric vehicles, instead of feel-good "eco" ones. Things like incredible performance, simplicity, reliability, lack of noise, smoothness, lower cost of operation, ability to power it at home, etc. There are a lot of good reasons to be excited about electric vehicles. To many consumers, slapping "eco" on it just means "oh, this will cost a lot more, and be inconvenient, and

  • Of course it's doable by any car manufacturer. But without Tesla breaking out a can of whoop @$$ all you other car companies would still be ignoring the EV revolution. Idiots.

  • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Sunday January 21, 2018 @02:55PM (#55973211)

    Marchionne said,..."I'm not trying to minimize what Elon did but I think it's doable by all of us."

    Assuming he's not lying, all this does is confirm my long-held belief that car-manufacturers are purposely holding back from the public performance and better technology that they could easily provide.

    I'm not a big Tesla fan but even if all Elon has achieved is to finally get the big car manufacturers off their fat complacent asses and actually have to work for a living, then kudos to him.

  • I don't know of a [business] that is making money selling electric vehicles unless you are selling them at the very, very high end of the spectrum.

    This is a comment right out of 2008 not from 2018. The 3rd gen Prius started turning profits 8 years ago. Renault and Nissan have stated they make the same profit on electric vehicles as ICE vehicles, except for the Twizzy which makes even higher profits due to the leasing agreements and refurbishment of the battery packs.

    Mind you I'm not at all surprised to see a car company which has nothing to do with the common automobile industry have absolutely no clue about what's going on.

  • Or something like it. A sporty 2 door vert similar to the original tesla roadster but at 1/2 to 1/3 of the price. With the advances in tech that should be doable now.
  • BMW and Porsche also have plans to introduce all-electric supercars, and Marchionne says "I don't know of a [business] that is making money selling electric vehicles unless you are selling them at the very, very high end of the spectrum."

    Precisely. EV are luxury items. May as well go all the way.

  • Imagine that: Ferrari making an SUV.

  • Regulation problems made Ferrari threaten to leave the Formula 1.
    May be the logical step following the threats ?

  • I had lunch down at the Ren Cen, and took a few to look at GM's latest lineup. Knowing a number of engineers on their EV and Hybrid programs, I expected more... but again, no electric Corvette, no hybrid crossover (Equinox or Terrain). What a shame... an EV Corvette would be sexy and awesome - and not all that difficult to do. A hybrid crossover would sell like crazy, but instead, they concentrate on their poor selling Bolt and hybridizing big pickups.

    Ah well.

    Meanwhile, their autonomous Cruze looks like the

  • at 2, maybe 3x the price of a tesla i would expect nothing else.
    the model 3 is a modern electric car almost within reach for most people, those silly ferrari vehicles are not. if you're lucky you can afford an officiel poster.
    on the other hand, porsche says it will deliver its electric car from €55k, that is a high, but competitive price compared to tesla 3 & 5.

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