Coming off a very successful start to the year that already generated a 42.1 million euro profit, Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo is confirming a hybrid Enzo by the end of the year.
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Last week, patent applications from Ferrari revealed a new hybrid system for its front-engine V12 road cars. Continuously developing efficient and high performing engines at a fierce pace, Ferrari has now released details on a new mid-engine V12 hybrid powerplant at the 2012 Beijing Auto Show.
Designed specifically for the Ferrari Enzo successor slated to debut towards the end of the year, Ferrari intends for its new hybrid system to deliver a flagship that will raise a new benchmark in performance, emissions and efficiency. The HY-KERS system features two electric motors connected to batteries. While the primary electric motor mounted to the gearbox sends power to the rear wheels, the role of the secondary electric motor is to power auxiliary systems including power steering, brake servo, air conditioning and on-board systems.
Speaking at the launch of the new 458 Spider, Felisa admitted as much and even confirmed that Ferrari is currently testing prototype hybrids. While still a stretch at this point, Ferrari has used Enzo and its predecessors like the F50 and F40 to launch new technologies, with the F50 being the first to utilize a carbon fiber chassis.
The ‘F70′ will continue to use a carbon fiber base, confirms Felisa, as well as a mid-engined V12 for motivation.
That V12 could be joined with a Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS), a technology that Ferrari developed for use in its F1 cars. This would also continue Ferrari’s long-standing tradition of using the pinnacle of motorsports to develop technologies for its road cars.
As for the rest of the Ferrari lineup Felisa commented that carbon fiber tubs or monocoques will not be used, maintaining that the cost and risks are simply too big to justify for standard production models.
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.