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Ferrari HY-KERS

We can categorically state that has never featured a news story about Ferrari since the site was founded in September 2006 – however today that has just changed, and it shows how all manufacturers are now taking the issue of greening their cars seriously.

OK, so even with efficient technologies, a Ferrari may not be the greenest car around, but our focus is on class-leading green cars and so the company should be acknowledged for making progress.

So what is the Ferrari HY-KERS? It’s an experimental vehicle, based on the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, and it’s equipped with an advanced new hybrid transmission.

The car has a lightweight hybrid drivetrain with the aim of ensuring that vehicle dynamics are unaffected. Ferrari says that it has achieved this by the careful integration of all system components, positioning them below the centre of gravity and ensuring that interior and luggage space are entirely unaffected.

The flat lithium-ion batteries are positioned below the floorpan of the car inside the aerodynamic underbody. The result is a centre of gravity that is even lower than in the standard car. Also, some of the weight gained by fitting the electric motor, generator and the batteries is offset by being able to get rid of the traditional starter motor and battery (central to Ferrari’s objectives is maintaining the balance, handling and performance characteristics typical of its cars despite the inevitable disadvantages in terms of weight represented by applying hybrid solutions to existing models).

The car’s electric motor cuts in during acceleration, providing instantaneous torque when moving away from a standstill and during overtaking. The hybrid system can also function as a full-electric drivetrain for use in urban areas.

Weighing about 40 kg, the compact, tri-phase, high-voltage electric motor of the HY-KERS is coupled to the rear of the dual-clutch 7-speed F1 transmission. It operates through one of the transmission’s two clutches and engages one of the two gearbox primary shafts, so that power is coupled between the electric motor and the V12 engine. The electric motor produces more than 100 hp as Ferrari’s goal was to offset every kilogramme increase in weight by a gain of at least one hp.

Under braking the electric drive unit acts as a generator, using the kinetic energy from the negative torque generated to recharge the batteries. This phase is controlled by a dedicated electronics module which was developed applying experience gained in F1 and, as well as managing the power supply and recharging the batteries, the module also powers the engine’s ancillaries (power steering, power-assisted brakes, air conditioning, on-board systems) via a generator mounted on the V12 engine when running 100 per cent under electric drive.

In 2007 Ferrari announced a five-year plan to reduce fuel consumption and emissions across the range. Ferrari’s average fuel consumption and CO2 emissions figures have already been reduced by around 30 per cent compared to 2007 with the launch of the Ferrari California (2008) and the 458 Italia (2009).

The HY-KERS is on display at the Geneva Motor Show.

Keywords: Ferrari HY-KERS, Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, hybrid transmission.