Governments around the world are bowing to public pressure to reduce the levels of greenhouse gases their respective countries produce, and more often than not, the first sector they look at is the auto industry. Here in the U.S. the government has imposed a tough 35.5 mpg fleet-wide fuel economy standard for 2016, while in Europe the government wants to put a limit on CO2 levels--something that could have disastrous effects for niche players like Ferrari. In fact, the changes have Ferrari so worried that engineers for both its F1 division and road cars are hard at work developing methods to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions of its engines.

Ferrari’s management has maintained that any reduction of CO2 levels will not come at the cost of performance but recognize that it has a tough challenge on its hands.

Speaking at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show, Ferrari boss Amadeo Felisa said that the company’s first production hybrid model is likely to be fitted with a V-12 engine and today we have news that a new hybrid concept based on the 599 GTB Fiorano is being prepared for the 2010 Geneva Motor Show next March.

The latest information comes via Italian magazine Quattroruote, which reports that the Ferrari hybrid system will use a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) similar to the one used in the company’s F1 race cars this past season.

The set-up will feature a lithium ion battery pack and electric motor mounted near the rear transaxle. The system would be used to provide automatic start-stop functionality and regenerative braking, as well as provide an electric boost of energy when required. The system is expected to improve fuel economy of the 599 by more than 30%, up from the current 8.7 mpg to around 13.8 mpg.

Earlier this year there was a leak of some official Ferrari patent filings revealing schematics for a four-wheel drive hybrid system. However, this much more complicated system isn’t expected to be presented for some years to come.

[Quattroruote]

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