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Patent applications from Ferrari have revealed some details on a new hybrid system for its performance road cars.
Ever since the FIA motorsport governing body permitted the application of a KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) in Formula 1, Ferrari had intended to trickle down its latest racing technology and apply it to its line of sports cars. At the Geneva Auto Show of 2010, Ferrari first introduced its new gas-electric hybrid concept based on the Ferrari 599, dubbed the HY-KERS.
After a duration without much word on HY-KERS development, Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa revealed last month of continuing hybrid developments that will allow its V12 engines to become more fuel efficient and meet the demands of future emission regulations as well as the demands from Ferrari’s eco-conscious customers.
Rather than borrowing from team Scuderia Ferrari’s flywheel-based KERS racing technology, the Ferrari patent applications illustrate a more conventional electric motor and battery setup. The patent also states that the battery may be replaced with a supercapacitor as an alternative energy storage device.
In detail, the design features two electric motors, one sending power to the wheels and the other used to generate energy for on-board electronic devices including the air-conditioning and power steering systems. Another patent application features designs where the electric motor is mounted in between the cylinder banks of the V12 engine or mounted directly to the gearbox – the latter similar in setup to the 2010 HY-KERS concept car.
Ferrari’s hybrid patent filings are exclusively designed for front engine vehicles for now, possibly applied for future Ferrari FF and F12 models.
GALLERY: Ferrari HY-KERS
[Source: Car and Driver]
Despite the commitment of many automakers to go green, consumers do not share the sentiment. According to a Polk study released today, almost two-thirds of U.S. hybrid buyers do not return to the market for another hybrid.
From surveys recorded since 2008, customer loyalty ratings for hybrids have been inconsistent. While the loyalty rate for hybrids are at 22 percent now, loyalty once reached 41.8 percent during the second quarter of 2009. By the fourth quarter of 2010, the rate had fallen to 26.4 percent, but had risen back to a total of 35 percent for 2011.
Paice LLC, a company whose founder says he developed a high-voltage electrical system to power hybrid vehicles, filed a lawsuit against Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia on the claim that they infringed upon patents held by the company.
This follows on from another long running legal battle between Paice and Toyota, also over Hybrid technology patents, which endured for some eight years and was finally settled in 2010.
As for the latest suit, Paice claims that it repeatedly tried to contact Hyundai as early as 2004, in order to discuss its patent Hybrid technology, but says that with the development and market introduction of the Sonata Hybrid sedan, the automaker infringed upon three patents owned by Paice.
The technology company says it wants cash compensation for the infringement as well as an order that will require automakers to get permission before they can use the proprietary technology from Paice.
Ford Motor Company, which has also employed hybrid technology for vehicles such as the popular Escape SUV and Fusion midsize sedan, agreed to use Paice’s technology under license in order to avoid legal issues.
[Source: Auto News]