Ferrari has used the Geneva motor show to unveil its new hybrid technology, which it says will not only make its cars more efficient, but will also markedly improve performance and handling.
Unveiling the car, Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said: "You don't often see a green Ferrari on our Geneva stand, but this year there's a new agenda for us."
The addition of an electric motor into the drivetrain will also be accompanied by other efficiency measures including engine downsizing and advanced aerodynamic concepts.
Ferrari’s Hybrid Concept is based on an otherwise-stock 599, and serious road testing of the prototype system is about to begin, according to engineers. But sources say that production Ferrari hybrids will not appear in the showroom for at least three years; they will probably make their debut in a 599 replacement.
By 2018, when most of Ferrari’s line-up will at least have the option of a hybrid drivetrain, the company says the average CO2 output of its fleet will be around 240g/km, down from today’s figure of 310g/km.
Ferrari’s hybrid design is particularly clever because it is notably compact and can be integrated relatively simply into both the company’s front and mid-engined layouts.
The firm considered a number of different concepts, including a version using a four-wheel drive hybrid with an electrically driven front axle, but settled on a small electric motor attached to the rear of the dual-clutch transmission. This motor is meshed directly with the transmission’s primary shaft, which holds the odd-numbered gear ratios.