Ferrari confirms 599 hybrid prototype in testing


The Cobo Center will get new tax money to address its main problems

The Cobo Center will get new tax money to address its main problems

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Governments around the world are bowing to public pressure to reduce greenhouse gases, and more often than not the first sector they look at is the auto industry. The European Council has proposed a ruling that could see carmaker’s forced to limit their fleet average CO2 levels to 130g/km by as early as 2012, something that could have disastrous effects for niche players like Ferrari, though the cars shown at this week's Geneva Motor Show may reveal how the Prancing Horse will tackle the problem.

The supercar company is working on cutting its vehicles' greenhouse gas emissions by nearly half and has several different strategies including building lighter cars and implementing new hybrid technology. Ferrari president Luca Cordero di Montezemolo has previously told reporters the carmaker is aiming to reduce CO2 emissions by 40% between now and 2012.

"We are currently working on the development of a Ferrari that will use alternative energy sources and which will be based on what we are doing at the moment in Formula 1," he revealed, referring to the new Kinetic Energy Recycling System (KERS) that works on the principle of brake-energy-regeneration. The KERS is basically an efficient CVT gearbox joined to a flywheel that rotates when the cars undergo braking. The stored energy can then be used to boost acceleration for overtaking and cornering.

The 599XX experimental car on display in Geneva houses the company's "most advanced" technology from Formula 1, and it is purpose-built as a technology showcase and testbed. The latest word from Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa indicates that this could be the car used to test production-car applications of the F1 KERS hybrid technology. “We are running a 599 prototype,” said Felisa. “We have to understand how you can benefit from hybrid technology.” The hybrid 599 prototype could by an altogether different car, however.

The benefits of a hybrid system, says Felisa, can be in the form of efficiency, performance or both. An all-electric system is out of the question for Ferrari, however, just as diesel won't be making its way among the folks at Maranello either.

Montezemolo has said that any future hybrid Ferrari would still be "fundamentally a Ferrari". However, the first models aren't expected to be available for sale until around 2015.

In a further effort to reduce emissions, future Ferraris could also come powered by smaller and more fuel-efficient turbocharged V6 engines. A company spokesman revealed last week that Ferrari has ruled out nothing in terms of technology as it works to keep high-performance a priority while accommodating strict emissions rules.

For more on the 599XX at the Geneva Motor Show, check out our original coverage here.
 
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