Ferrari Working On California-Based Hybrid?

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2009 Ferrari California

2009 Ferrari California

Ferrari has made little secret of its plans to introduce an environmentally-friendly hybrid model, even going so far as to unveil a concept version of its new gasoline-electric hybrid system, dubbed HY-KERS, last year. Now it appears that the Italian automaker is testing the first prototypes for its future hybrid model out in the real world.

Prototypes of an odd-looking 599 GTB Fiorano thought to be a test-mule for the big grand tourer’s replacement is actually a heavily camouflaged hybrid version of the California, according to Autocar.

The key is the prototype’s license plate, which shows the car is from Stuttgart, the home of Bosch, which is thought to be the supplier of Ferrari’s new hybrid technology. This technology, however, is likely to be different to what we saw on the previous 599 HY-KERS concept car.

Instead of the single electric motor mounted to the rear of the vehicle’s gearbox as seen on the concept, Ferrari’s production hybrid system is likely to feature two electric motors--a less powerful unit to run ancillary features when the car is in electric only mode and a more powerful unit mounted on the rear axle to drive the vehicle at low speeds and aid the internal combustion engine during high load situations.

The hybrid system should boost the Ferrari California’s acceleration while also curbing its fuel consumption. Additionally, the system will also reportedly aid the car’s traction control setup by reversing the electric motor’s torque rather than the typical method of simply cutting power to help slow the wheels. Finally, the electric motor may also be used to momentarily supply torque during gear changes so that acceleration is smoother.

Ferrari has set itself a fleet-wide average CO2 emissions target of 240 g/km by 2018, down from current levels of 310 g/km, and the introduction of new hybrid models will certainly help that happen.

As always, we’ll keep you updated on news of Ferrari’s hybrid developments as it breaks.


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