Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ferrari to produce its first hybrid?


FERRARI 612

Ferrari will come out with its first hybrid system on the upcoming replacement for its 612 Scaglietti grand touring car. Britain's Autocar magazine quoted unnamed Ferrari sources confirming that the Italian exotic car company is working on a hybrid system that will see electric power going to the front wheels, giving the car all-wheel-drive capability. The system reportedly won't be available before 2014.

Although Ferrari has not officially confirmed the report on the magazine's site, Ferrari CEO Amadeo Felisa confirmed at the most recent Frankfurt Auto show that the first Ferrari hybrid was “likely to be” a V12 model.

Spy shots have since appeared suggesting that the 612's replacement will be the next all-new V12 car from the home of the Prancing Horse. The hybrid system would not be available at that car's launch, but debut closer to the 2015 model year, said the latest report, released last week.

The current 612 offers a massive 5.7-litre V12 engine driving the rear wheels, but this hybrid system would focus more on improving handling and acceleration than fuel economy, according to the company insiders.

But Ferrari is nevertheless interested in reducing fuel consumption and lowering the emissions produced by its products, even though they and exotic car fans in general have long maintained that the limited numbers of these cars sold and the relatively low mileage they accumulate account for a tiny blip in the overall carbon footprint of the global auto industry.

Felisa confirmed that Ferrari's new-for-2009 California hardtop convertible would receive a start-stop system in 2010, which automatically turns off the engine at red lights and restarts it instantly upon letting go of the brakes, which is the system that accounts for the majority of real world fuel savings in most gas-electric hybrid vehicles.

Ferrari is not the only Italian car maker going the planet-friendlier route, while still maintaining its focus on high horsepower performance. Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann also admitted in August that the Volkswagen-controlled company will launch a hybrid model by 2015, likely in the Gallardo, he suggested to a German auto trade journal in August. Winkelmann said Lamborghini was not planning to go the all-electric route, which Mercedes-Benz will pioneer among supercars with its upcoming SLS eDrive, and which Lambo's sister company Audi has recently confirmed it will pursue with an all-electric version of its mid-engine R8.

SOURCE: theglobeandmail