2009 Ferrari California

2009 Ferrari California

Governments around the world are bowing to public pressure to reduce the 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.

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. Of course, Ferrari being Ferrari, the automaker’s management has maintained that any reduction of CO2 levels will not come at the cost of performance.

While we know Ferrari is planning hybrid technology, a preview has already been presented in the form of the recent 599 HY-KERS concept car, there’s a strong chance that downsized engines will also play a part in the marque’s future.

Speaking with Autocar, Ferrari boss Luca di Montezemolo has revealed that a six-cylinder engine is a possibility.

"An engine smaller than a V-8? Why not?" he told reporters, acknowledging that six-cylinder engines had been part of Ferrari’s heritage.

Already the company has begun to employ some small technological tools to keep power up while reducing fuel consumption. The California, for example, uses the company's first direct-injection engine and as Ferrari moves forward with the next generation of engines, focusing on the development period from 2013 to 2016, there’s also the possibility of using a turbocharger or other forced-induction methods to strike a balance between power and economy.