If you are an environmentalist, this should make you happy. Ferrari, the iconic Italian supercar maker, is planning to go green.
Don’t tell us that the few hundred Ferrari cars are not going to make a difference. But I guess they would balance out the few hundred Ferrari cars that are totally messing up our planet right now!
Anyway – so Ferrari plans to introduce a hybrid sports car, which will use alternative energy sources, by 2015. Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, Ferrari president, said that Ferrari is committed to reduce CO2 emissions and fuel consumption. Montezemelo told the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag that the hybrid Ferrai will help reduce CO2 emissions by 40% by 2012.
From 2009, Formula One racing will require all cars to have a kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), which is a regenerative braking system. Essentially, it uses the braking of the car to store energy. A spinning flywheel captures and stores energy that is lost while braking, which can then be used later to improve acceleration. The kinetic energy that is stored is recycled to the wheels using a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Ferrari is planning to develop road-going version of the KERS, which might make its way into some ferrari cars much before the hybrid is produced.
Last year, same time, Ferrari had shown off a hybrid sports car concept the Mille Chili – which looked like a mini Enzo. KERS was talked about for that concept too. It is quite likely that the Ferrari hybrid which we will see in 2015 would use the Mille Chili’s design as a starting point. (More on the Mille Chili hybrid here: External link)
Montezemolo has reassured Ferrari fans that the hybrid will be fundamentally Ferrari, despite the green changes.
A hybrid car from Ferrari is hardly news from a purely business point of view; after all, other companies have been manufacturing and selling hybrid cars for years. Ferrari won’t be the first to come out with a hybrid sports car either – Tesla is the first name that comes to mind.
However, Ferrari’s hybrid sports car will be a final acknowledgement from the gods of speed that hybrids can be as good, if not better, than a gasoline sports car on the road. And that, will be something.
Ferrari’s efforts to reduce CO2 emissions will include using materials like aluminum and carbon fiber composites, and replacing the V12s and V8s engines with V6 engines.
Ferrari will also focus on using biofuels in their Formula 1 cars to reduce fuel consumption, and also experiment with turbochargers and superchargers.
Ferrari is not the only topline sports car maker to turn eco-friendly. Lexus is planning to introduce gas-electric and hybrid version of the new LF-A sports car, by 2011.
The move towards using hybrid systems and alternative sources of energy is also due to the increasingly stringent EU regulations. Low fuel consumption is hardly a factor in purchase decisions for the niche client base of superfast, exotic cars. The EU’s impending proposal to impose financial penalties on carmakers who do not reduce CO2 emissions to 130 grqams per kilometer will affect the luxury sports cars the most, because of their high CO2 emissions.