The future of Ferrari V12s has been secured by hybrid technology that will ensure the company can hit its CO2 targets without having to compromise on engine layout.
At the launch of the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta earlier this month, Ferrari made a veiled reference to the future use of V12 engines in its range by describing the car as “the first in a new generation of V12s”.
It is understood that environmental pressures had forced Ferrari to evaluate other engine layouts, but development of the F1-derived KERS system has given it the opportunity to keep V12s in its line-up. “We will roll out new technology that is there first and foremost to introduce a green factor to our cars and ensure that we can keep our product where it is in terms of CO2,” Ferrari boss Amedeo Felisa told Autocar.
“Our hybrid system won’t just be about creating power, but saving energy, too. Yes, that technology is expensive today, but the road ahead is open and evolution will bring down the cost and weight disadvantages.
“I’m not saying when, but it is possible that this technology will be on all Ferraris. It has been designed to fit all our future architecture, and if we go ahead it will be fitted as standard. It is not the sort of thing you offer as an option.”
The firm first experimented with hybrids in the 2010 HY-KERS concept, an otherwise stock Ferrari 599 GTB with a KERS system. It featured a low-capacity electric motor at the front to drive ancillaries when running on electric power alone, and a rear-mounted one rated at 100bhp and 110lb ft. The battery cells was spread over the floorpan.
A production version of this system is first expected to be adopted in the next Enzo, which will feature a mid-mounted V12.
As part of its commitment to reducing CO2 emissions, Ferrari is also considering adopting six-cylinder engines. Felisa hinted that such engines were likely following F1’s push in that direction.
“Why not six cylinders?” said Felisa. “It is far away in the future, perhaps, but it is clear perceptions have altered. Even in the US, where until a few years ago eight cylinders was the minimum, it is clear attitudes have changed. We have to think in that direction.”