There have been rumors circulating for months now that Ferrari, that most vaunted of automobile builders, will be jumping into the hybrid game, and now those rumors are starting to gain more traction. It seems that both the over all greening of the auto industry plays a part, as does Grand Prix racings use of the kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) last season.
One way or the other, it looks like a Ferrari hybrid is in the offing.
The word is that the long-rumored Ferrari gas-electric hybrid, which will be a full blown supercar, not something more economy minded and prosaic as a Prius, might be revealed as early as spring.
According to the Italian auto magazine Quattroroute, via Wired’s Autopia, the boys from Maranello are building a hybrid that will be based on the 599 GTB Fiorano. And it seems that what will make it onto the street will be sourced from the track. It is said that the hybrid system will be a kinetic energy recovery system very similar to what was used in Ferrari’s Formula 1 cars. Hopefully, we should get a first look at the ride in March of next year at the Geneva Auto Show.
Using the 599 GTB Fiorano as the platform makes a lot of engineering sense. For starters, the 599 GTB Fiorano uses a transmission/transaxle hanging out the back, connected to the V12 engine up front via a torque tube-encased prop shaft. This layout will allow Ferrari to mount an electric motor at the rear transaxle as well as a lithium-ion battery out back as well. Simple and elegant.
The KERS-like system, in addition to giving an added boost of power, will also give the “599 GTB Fiorano” hybrid a start-stop function as well as regenerative braking. In case you’re wondering, adding the hybrid drive will, reportedly, give the new Ferrari a 35 percent improvement in fuel economy. Not bad.
So it looks like what has been rumbling as a rumor for a while might finally be exposed. Autocar magazine from England said last month that Ferrari has a hybrid system in the pipeline for 2014, due to be seen in the successor to the 612 Scaglietti. The system that Autocar mentioned is different from the one described here. Autocar said that system would use an electric motor inboard of the front wheels as a way to improve handling, and that there was no consideration given to fuel economy.
Perhaps Ferrari chose to abandon this system or perhaps Autocar was just wrong.
We’ll find out soon enough though.