Ferrari Patent Application Reveals Plans For New Hybrid System
The Prancing Horse is fully on board the hybrid revolutionby Kirby, on
A few years ago, the mere suggestion of Ferrari being remotely interested in pursuing hybrid technology would’ve been met with fits of laughter. Things have certainly changed over there in Maranello with the launch of the Ferrari LaFerrari, and now it appears that the Italian automaker is doubling down on hybrid technology. According to Autocar, Ferrari filed a patent application in June 2015 for a future production model that will prominently feature a hybrid technology that the company is currently developing. The objective of this tech is to build a series production car with supercar-like performance capabilities and the efficiency to travel as much as 30 miles in pure electric mode.
Details surrounding the development are being kept under wraps so far, but Autocar pointed out that the patents showed a model with a front-engined layout, a telling indicator that they could be used on the eventual successor of the Ferrari F12berlinetta. Just as important is the layout of the new hybrid tech, which shows batteries made up of a series of individual cylindrical cells that are mounted to a “support matrix” and integrated into the floor structure of the car, and an electric motor mounted to the transmission. This new system is different and more advanced than the system used on the 599 Hybrid concept from 2010. That model came with a pair of small lithium ion batteries that had a combined capacity of 3kWh, a relatively pedestrian figure by today’s standards.
In addition, the more advanced hybrid layout also makes it suitable for future Ferraris that will carry either front or mid-mounted engines. If the patent moves forward, expect Ferrari to have multiple uses for the hybrid system, including the possibility of integrating it, or slightly altered versions of it, into the Ferrari Dino — the automaker’s future entry-level model that’s scheduled to arrive in 2017 or 2018, and the aforementioned successor of the F12berlinetta.
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Why it matters
There’s a lot to process with this news, not the least of which is what these patents could mean for future Ferrari models, especially those that are being lined up with hybrid technology. For a lot of purists, it’s still weird to associate Ferrari with hybrid technology, but the company’s decision to adopt hybrid tech isn’t so much about embracing it wholeheartedly as it is acquiescing to the shifting values and importance consumers require with products that will be of interest to them.
This is especially true for young consumers who are growing up in a different world than previous generations did. Sure, Ferrari, by its sheer force of nature, will appeal to a broad generation of buyers. But, the Italian automaker is probably best served listening to the future of its business. That means acknowledging the growing importance being placed in high-end, low-CO2 cars. Tesla already proved that such an approach can be successful if it’s done the right way. On that end, automakers like Porsche, Audi, BMW, and Mercedes have all acknowledged it and are responding in kind. Ferrari should too if it wants to keep up with evolution.
This patent application, if it pushes through, is a great step for the Prancing Horse. It is a sign that the company is willing to lay the foundation for a future when a lot of its models will have the option of being hybrid, but just as important is the understanding that — as a company that’s now independent from Fiat-Chrysler — the bottom line has become far more important than it ever was. After all, there are shareholders that the company has to answer to now.
Read our full review on the Ferrari LaFerrari here.