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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Comments (10)
  1. I think this whole hybrid thing is ridiculously overblown. The energy to move a car has still got to come from somewhere! Ferrari's ideas about re-capturing energy that would be otherwise wasted as heat (KERS and similar systems) and concentrating on moving less mass (which takes less energy) are the way to go.

  2. Agreed.
    I really don't want to see a battery pack in a Ferrari (unless it's the sole power source, like a Tesla)...

  3. I hope Ferarri isn't selling out and humbling!

    I thought before that the Ferarri boss was basically stating "no small ferarris".
    As far as a turbo-fed V6; Ill accept and respect if it's added in addition or (as well as hybrid tech, etc.) to expand the line-up, but if it's to replace any V8s and or V12s, then I'll certainly lose the respect as will many other enthusiasts!

    Ferarri, like many other premium, or upper-eschelon marques, is NOT about humility!

  4. When Ferrari sticks their head out into a new technology, it tends to be for the better.
    I would say that Ferrari is demonstrating that they have the ability to maintain their own standards of excellence and power, but also conserve the already diminishing environmental state. I agree, that the loss entirely of V12 and V8's would be cataclysmic to Ferrari's quality and image, however, the downsizing of such monstrous motors would not be. If they can figure out a way to balance environmental awareness, and extreme performance and passion in the realm of motorsport, than that should just be another demonstration of Ferrari's versatility and excellence.

  5. yeah I'm with CFU on that one.. just because its a V12 doesnt mean it has to be 6L... why not a 3L V12? throw a turbo on it and it's going to growl just like a big V12.

    KERS done well can replace any demand for an electric hybrid because the KERS recovers the same lost energy as an electric hybrid but with SIGNIFICANTLY less wieght.

    decrease the displacement, not the engine format, introduce KERS, and cut the fat like there's no tomorrow. If Tesla can make a Carbon Fiber Elise for 100 grand, surely ferrari can use liberal CF in their cars without too much premium on their already rediculous price tags.

  6. Truthfully, If the litre displacement is a little lessened, but not the cylinder count, I can live with that. When turbos are added, the litre-displacement is generally lessened - BMWs famtastic twin-turbo DI 4.4L V8 for example, lesser than it's 4.8L predecessor, but superior to the 4.8L on many levels, and much greater power stats.

    If Ferarri lessened the Litre size with it's V8s & V12s, but increased the stats with various technologies and applications such as DI, KERS, Hybrid tech, and even turbos and blowers, as well as lowered weight with more exitic materials, but maintained an equivlent footprint and overall dimensions, I'll support and admire all the efforts.

    If anything goes downhill and backward, for-going all the brilliant development since the maliase period(s), that is indeed depressing.

  7. Some of these comments are spoken as if Ferrari is turning it's back on decades of heritage to follow a path that is new to them......they are being forced to do it, people. It's petualnt and erroneous to suggest that they are 'selling out'. If they don't look at these alternatives they will cease to exist as a company so lets not criticise them for trying to continue making spectacular exotic cars withing the new legislation.

  8. If Ferrari loses it's V8 and V12 engines for V6's I will lose almost all respect for the brand. I totally agree about downsizing the displacement though. Just look at the past, the F40 had a 2.9L and it was a monstrous car. Ferrari has done very good with small displacement engines, with the technology they have now they can make awesome low displacement engines.

  9. Okay, how'bout a 4l FlexFuel V12 with DI, a quad-charger system, cylinder deactivation, and KERS, in a mid-engine carbon fibre-titanium composite chassis tub, and magnesium alloy wheels with slotted, drilled carbon-ceramic rotor, 10 piston caliper brakes?

  10. Okay, how'bout a 4l FlexFuel V12 with DI, a quad-charger system, cylinder deactivation, and KERS, in a mid-engine carbon fibre-titanium composite chassis tub, and magnesium alloy wheels with slotted, drilled carbon-ceramic rotor, 10 piston caliper brakes?

    now that sounds like fun :D :D :D :D

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