Electric vehicles are the new black. Most mainstream manufacturers either have or are currently developing an EV in order to promote their environmentally friendly profile and at the same time, reduce the average fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of their fleet to comply with stricter future regulations.
However, Ferrari’s president, Luca di Montezemolo begs to differ. And we are talking about the man responsible for transforming Maranello’s supercars from fragile and non-practical toys for the wealthy to the finest in their class, while also turning the Scuderia’s F1 fortunes around bringing home five consecutive world championships.
“You will never see a Ferrari electric because I don’t believe in electric cars” he told Engagdet. “I don’t think they represent an important step forward for pollution or CO2 or the environment”. Now that’s a rather controversial statement. And how exactly does Montezemolo intend to make Ferrari comply with future regulations? The answer is hybrids.
“We are working very, very hard on the hybrid Ferrari. This should be the future, and I hope in a couple of years you can see it”.
This was pretty much anticipated after Ferrari unveiled the 599-based HY-KERS hybrid concept at the Geneva Motor Show in 2010 and subsequently equipped the California with an auto stop-start system. And our guess is that the 599’s replacement, which is already being tested, will be the first production Ferrari to boast the KERS system.
Montezemolo’s plans to create a direct link between F1, where the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) is already employed, and the company’s road cars. KERS is recovering kinetic energy during braking, that in normal cars is dissipated as heat, and powers an electric motor that charges a battery. In Ferrari’s case, a sophisticated management unit using technology developed for the F1 department controls the system.
The hybrid system in the prototype 599 is very compact, weighting just 40 kg, and is coupled to the rear of the dual-clutch transmission, engaging one of the two primary shafts and ensuring a seamless transition between the gasoline-powered V12 and the electric motor. The hybrid Ferrari can also run on 100% electric power for a short amount of time, powering all of the car’s systems, such as air conditioning, power steering and brakes.
Despite its compact dimensions, the Ferrari KERS system adds another 100HP to the car’s maximum power, further increasing its performance and, at the same time, reducing its CO2 emissions by around 35%.
To this number you can add the 23% reduction in CO2 emissions by the HELE system that was launched last October in the California and includes, apart from the auto stop-start, a range of features such as :intelligent” cooling control, engine-CPU controlled fuel pump and air conditioning, all designed to make the Italian supercar more eco-friendly.
Looks like Montezemolo is right after all: near future Ferraris will pollute less, but still produce that gorgeous V8 or V12 music and not some whining electric sound.