Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ferrari Hybrid Heads to Geneva

Ferrari 599 GTB

Ferrari will show its first hybrid production car this March at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show. The high-end hybrid specimen will be a gas-electric version of the carmaker�"s eye-popping 599 GTB. It will also be the world�"s first ready-for-market exotic hybrid.

The exact specs will not be known until the car is unveiled, but it will most likely unite a lithium ion battery pack with a pair of electric motors fixed at the rear axle, along with Ferrari�"s outlandishly powerful 600-plus horsepower V12 engine. Other fuel-saving features will include start-stop capabilities and Formula One-based regenerative braking technology known as KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System). Fuel economy is expected to increase by about 30 percent over the non-hybrid 599 GTB. In other words, it will go from about 9 miles per gallon to about 12 miles per gallon.

The World's Fastest Eco-Cars

The days of fuel economy only coming in small, slow and stripped-down cars are over. Every major auto show these days brings the unveiling of another green super car using hybrid or electric car technology to conserve fuel while delivering Ferrari-like performance.

Nobody expects the Ferrari 599 GTB to save the earth from global warming�especially when you consider how few Ferraris there are, and how little they are actually driven by their owners. Ultimately, this move serves more as a sign of the times and a testament to technology, rather than having any kind of tangible impact on the environment. �SIt sends a message,⬝ said Ben Davis, roadtest producer for PBS�" MotorWeek. �SIt�"s a ripple effect that starts at the upper echelon of the auto industry, and echoes a theme that green is good.⬝

Reports of Ferrari testing a hybrid powertrain first surfaced in June 2009, but details were sketchy. Ferrari�"s plans to reduce carbon emissions have been making news for the last few years, mainly due to Europe�"s resolution for more stringent emissions standards to take effect in 2012. Still, it is unclear what route Ferrari and other ultra-luxury brands will take. Hybrids are just one possibility in a field of options that included diesels, electric cars, biofuels, and hydrogen. Ferrari may explore these other areas, but gas-electric technology is the carmaker�"s first concrete initiative on the green front.

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