Ferrari Going Green, Developing Hybrid Supercar

If you can’t imagine a Ferrari in any color other than red you’re out of luck, because the Italian automaker has plans to go green.

AFP is reporting that in an upcoming interview in the German newspaper, Welt Am Sontag, Ferrari president Luca Cordero di Montezemolo says the supercar maker is planning to adapt hybrid technology being developed by the company’s Formula One racing program for a new sports car. In the face of upcoming carbon emissions regulations in Europe that will severely restrict engine power and the use of fossil fuels, even small companies like Ferrari are in a race to develop environmentally friendly solutions or face stiff penalties.

Instead of using a battery and electric motor like a typical hybrid, the kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) being introduced in Formula One next season uses a mechanical flywheel that stores energy under braking, then reverses the process to assist the gasoline engine under acceleration. The company that designed the system, Torotrak, claims KERS is lighter, more compact, and more efficient than today’s battery-electric hybrids.

According to the interview, it is unlikely that a Ferrari hybrid will hit the market before 2015, but it’s not the only green technology Ferrari is considering. Smaller turbocharged engines and cars that run on ethanol like the F430 BioFuel Concept shown at the 2008 North American Auto Show in Detroit are all being looked at. No word yet on when or if such designs will go into production.