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Ferrari: Hybrid Tech Will Secure V-12, Six-Cylinder Possible

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Ferrari is launching a brand new V-12 engine in its latest supercar, the F12 Berlinetta, and the advanced unit, the most powerful ever to be fitted to one of Ferrari’s road cars, is just the first in what the automaker claims will be a whole new generation of V-12 powerplants.

Claims like that suggest that the V-12 engine is here to stay, even in a world of increasing environmental consciousness.

But the V-12 engines of the future will be unlike those of today. To secure their future, hybrid technology will become more prevalent, even featuring in high-performance supercars like those built by Ferrari.

“We will roll out new technology that is there first and foremost to introduce a green factor to our cars and ensure that we can keep our product where it is in terms of CO2,” Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa revealed during a recent interview with Autocar. “Our hybrid system won’t just be about creating power, but saving energy, too. Yes, that technology is expensive today, but the road ahead is open and evolution will bring down the cost and weight disadvantages.”

Felisa didn’t say when Ferrari might use hybrid technology in one of its road cars but the successor to the Enzo supercar, set to be unveiled around the end of the year, is expected to be the first recipient.

2010 Ferrari 599 HY-KERS Concept

2010 Ferrari 599 HY-KERS Concept

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The setup is likely to be based on the Kinetic Energy Regeneration System (KERS) used by Ferrari in Formula 1 racing and previewed in 2010’s 599 HY-KERS Concept. Ferrari’s design calls for a compact electric motor to bolted onto the rear of a car’s gearbox. The motor is designed to cut in during acceleration, providing instantaneous torque when moving away from a standstill and during overtaking maneuvers. At low speeds--for example in slow city driving--the hybrid system can also function as a full-electric drivetrain.

Note, one of Ferrari's key rivals, McLaren, is also exploring the use of an energy-boosting KERS for its future models and is rumored to launch just such a system in its own McLaren F1 successor due out this May. Lamborghini has also stated in the past that it is planning to use hybrid technology to ensure the future viability of its big V-12 engines.

Of course, six-cylinder engines are also being considered by Ferrari to help curb its fleet-wide emissions. Felisa explained that performance-minded customers are once again open to the idea of sports cars featuring less than eight-cylinders and that this is a direction Ferrari needs to explore.
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