• Is Ferrari Working On a Hybrid Sports Car?

It’s either that or the company’s developing a hybrid powertrain

A Ferrari test mule sporting the face of the Ferrari 458 was captured on video under the power of what appears to be (or sounds like) a hybrid-based powertrain. The video, which showed up on YouTube last July, has been thrust back into the spotlight because of the unusual configuration. At the very least, there are a number of clues on the car that points to what Ferrari is doing, specifically developing hybrid technology for use on one — or more — of its future cars.

By all accounts, Ferrari’s push to develop hybrid technology is now in full swing. That’s one of the best explanations we can give on why this particular 458-based test mule looks the way it does. It’s unlikely that Ferrari’s bringing back the 458 so why is this prototype wearing that face? It also has the same headlights and taillights as the 458. Seems strange for Ferrari to roll out a test car with this design, unless there’s more to the vehicle than what we can see on the surface.

The thing is, there is a lot more to this prototype than what our eyes can see. Look closer, and you’ll notice that it also features a custom hood with massive air ducts. Speaking of ducts, notice that large roof scoop at the back? The Ferrari 458, or any other Ferrari for that matter, never had that.

Turn your attention towards the car’s rear section, and you’ll see a clear panel right smack in the center, showing what appears to be a battery pack.

More than anything else, that clear panel is as good a sign as any that this 458-based test vehicle is a hybrid car. Turn the volume up on the video, too. Did you hear anything when the car passed by while it was being recorded? The engine was barely audible, and we all know what that means. At least in that section, the car was running on electricity.

Is Ferrari Working On a Hybrid Sports Car?
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So what exactly does all of this mean? The test mule is the latest indication that Ferrari is serious about hybrid technology. Back in April, the late Sergio Marchionne, who was the CEO of the company at the time, confirmed that the Italian automaker was working on a hybrid powertrain. Marchionne even went so far as to say that the company’s development of the technology would yield a hybrid V-8 powertrain, which it plans to unveil sometime in 2019 on a still unnamed vehicle.

The early favorites to use Ferrari’s hybrid V-8 powertrain is the company’s first-ever SUV.

The timeline would sync because the SUV is also expected to arrive next year. If it’s not the SUV, there’s a chance that we could see the hybrid unit in a new Ferrari supercar, or possibly as a different variant of one of the company’s current model. Either way, it’s become clear that Ferrari’s plan to develop hybrid technology was more than just lip service. Judging by the test mule on this video, the Prancing Horse is, in fact, going hybrid.

Further reading

2014 Ferrari 458 Speciale High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2014 Ferrari 458 Speciale.

2010 Ferrari 458 Italia
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Read our full review on the 2010 Ferrari 458 Italia.

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Read more Ferrari news.

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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