Ferrari files patent for 4-cylinder engine with electric compressor, exhaust energy regeneration

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Ferrari 488 Pista

Ferrari 488 Pista

It won't power a Dino—it seems that nameplate is never going to return—but a 4-cylinder engine may be in development at Ferrari.

Autoguide has discovered a patent for an advanced 4-cylinder engine filed by Ferrari on January 17 with the European Patent Office.

The diagram below is taken from the patent. It looks complicated but basically shows a 4-cylinder engine with with an exhaust-driven turbine that rather than spin a compressor like a conventional turbocharger instead spins a generator, similar to the MGU-H system used in Formula 1. The generated electricity is then used to spin a compressor in the intake to feed more air into the engine, resulting in more power.

Patent filed by Ferrari for 4-cylinder engine with electric compressor, exhaust energy regeneration

Patent filed by Ferrari for 4-cylinder engine with electric compressor, exhaust energy regeneration

There's another benefit of the system. The patent says the exhaust-driven turbine can be used to alter the sound of the engine. Basically, the faster the turbine spins the louder the sound as more exhaust escapes. According to the patent, controlling the speed of the turbine can be done by altering the intensity of regeneration of the attached generator, similar to how some electric cars let you alter the intensity of their brake energy regeneration systems.

Ferrari like any other automaker is faced with increasing environmental pressures but could we actually see a 4-cylinder engine plonked into one of its cars? It seems odd but then again the company will have an SUV in its fleet in a couple of years.

However, such a powertrain is more likely to end up in an Alfa Romeo or Maserati, which source their engines from the Prancing Horse. It could also simply be that Ferrari only filed the patent to protect the design.

 
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