Published March 28, 2012
By Huw Evans
When Ferrari unveiled its new F12 Berlinetta at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, as witnessed first hand by HybridCars.com, Ferrari’s President Luca di Montezemolo was adamant that its introduction signaled a new era in V12 engined Ferraris.
For diehard Modena fans, the news no doubt comes as a sigh of relief, especially as many luxury and exotic car manufacturers are under pressure to improve fuel economy. More conventional means of doing so include smaller displacement engines with fewer cylinders and relying on forced induction, direct injection and other trickery to maintain power and torque levels.
That said, Ferrari has been working on its own fuel saving measures, namely a Formula 1 derived Kinetic Energy Recovery System; that uses two electric motors to recover and store energy, that’s then released under acceleration, providing additional power when needed. Furthermore, the front-mounted electric motor also powers the vehicle’s accessory drive while the vehicle is operating in electric mode, providing significant fuel savings.
The KERS system is believed to be a major component in Ferrari choosing to retain V12 engines in its lineup and is expected to make its production car debut in a new generation Enzo, with other applications to follow afterwards.
Besides KERS, Ferrari is also looking at other avenues to conserve fuel and emissions from its vehicles, including the re-adoption of V6 engines in street cars, following a planned move to this engine configuration in Formula 1.
“Why not six cylinders?” said Ferrari CEO Amedeo Felisa during a recent interview. “It is far away perhaps, but it is clear perceptions [on cylinders and displacement] have altered, even in the U.S.”