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Ferrari Goes Green ~ Literally

Ferrari made it official today and unveiled the hybrid Hy-Kers we gave you a sneak peek of, and for those of you who think the guys in Maranello are going soft by going green(er), this car is a real Ferrari that could be in showrooms soon.

Maranello promises the Hy-Kers concept will offer stellar performance along with improved fuel economy and emissions. It makes that point clear in calling Hy-Kers “an example of how Ferrari is approaching the development of hybrid technology without losing sight of the performance traits and driving involvement that have always exemplified its cars.”

An unnamed Ferrari spokesman told the Daily Mail, “Central to our objective is maintaining the balance, handling and performance characteristics typical of [Ferrari's] cars, despite the inevitable disadvantages in terms of weight.”

Taking a look at the tech under that green bodywork — who knew a Ferrari would look good in bright green? — gives us no reason to doubt him.

The car is based on the 599 GTB Fiorano. Ferrari put the motor, batteries and related electronics as low as possible in the car to keep the center of gravity low and preserve interior space. It appears to have worked — Ferrari says the hybrid’s center of gravity is lower than the 599s, so the vehicle dynamics are unchanged. We’ll have to take the firm’s word for it, because obviously we haven’t driven the car.

The compact motor weighs 40 kilograms (about 88 pounds) and is mounted at the back of a seven-speed paddle-shifted transmission taken from the 458 Italia parts bin. It works through one of the transmission’s two clutches and engages the gearbox shaft carrying the odd-numbered gears. Ferrari says the motor produces 107 horsepower and 111 pound-feet of torque, according to Automobile.


“Ferrari’s goal was to offset every kilogram increase in weight by a gain of at least one horsepower,” the company said, and the power is coupled “seamlessly and instantaneously” with that of the 6.0-liter V-12 engine. Ferrari says the car runs under electric power under light loads or around town. Stomp the pedal and the gasoline engine takes over, with an assist from the electric motor to provide additional torque.

Electricity is stored in a 3-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack said to be just an inch thick. It’s mounted under the floorboard and runs the length of the floor pan. It is air-cooled. Of course the Hy-Kers has regenerative braking — hit the binders and the kinetic energy is returned to the battery.

The system was developed using Ferrari’s experience with kinetic energy recovery systems in Formula 1 racing. The same control module that manages the re-gen also manages the power supply and recharges the batteries. Ancillary systems like power steering and power-assisted brakes are also electric.

Ferrari didn’t say what the car weighs, but Automobile says 55 percent of the weight is carried by the rear wheels, up from 53 percent for the GTB.

The obvious question is why a company known for glorious internal combustion engines would go electric. Simple: The rules require it to. The Hy-Kers concept is Ferrari’s first step toward meet new European Union fuel-economy and emissions regulations

“This hybrid project is also aimed at ensuring that Ferrari will be in a position to comply with future CO2 emissions standards, particularly in terms of the urban cycle,” the company said. “City driving is traditionally where sports cars are most penalized, as their engines are designed for maximum efficiency and performance at high revs, whereas the urban cycle involves low revs and low engine loads.”

To that end, the Hy-Kers system cuts the 599′s emissions by 35 percent to 270 grams per kilometer. Ferrari expects to see the car get as much as 25 mpg, a big improvement on the 16 mpg the conventional 599 gets.

Ferrari hopes to have Hy-Kers technology in showrooms within three to five years. The system can be adapted to front- or mid-engine vehicles, according to Automobile, and the first production car to use it will be available only as a hybrid. According to the Daily Mail, Ferrari says the technology could double the cost of the 599, but Maranello hopes to bring those costs under control as it ramps up production.

Yeah, yeah. So what’s the bottom line? Ferrari says the Hy-Kers will do zero to 60 in 3.5 seconds and hit 125 mph in 10.5.

Sounds like a real Ferrari. We’d love to see it on the Nurburgring alongside the Porsche 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid concept.


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