A series of patents that Ferrari has filed for a four-wheel drive hybrid system have leaked out and in true Ferrari fashion they are more red than green.
You see, the patents show several different layouts, all of which are designed to use a hybrid system where the electric motor powers one set of wheels and the gasoline engine the other. In other words, it’s not so much about saving fuel as it is about maximizing performance.
This system could significantly reduce the demand on an engine of a four-wheel drive while at the same time keep the vehicle’s weight at a minimum by removing the need for bulky differentials.
Ferrari says in it’s patent application that handling and grip are actually a primary concern. “The aim of the present invention is to provide a four-wheel – drive vehicle with hybrid propulsion…and being at the same time easy and inexpensive to produce,” it reads.
The application continues by saying that the driver would be able to choose between rear-wheel drive of four-wheel drive by the push of a button, engaging the hybrid system and giving grip to the front wheels. Several patent drawings were submitted showing different layouts, some with the hybrid system powering the wheels though a conventional setup of axles, and others with a setup whereby the wheels are powered by individual electric motors located inside the wheels.
There is no mention of how this hybrid system could reduce fuel consumption although it seems that is not Ferrari’s main concern. No doubt a start-stop system could be built in, and its possible that the electric motor could be used to power or assist the car in low speed city driving.