Ferrari to unveil Hybrid 599 GTB

Ferrari 599 GTB

You don’t buy a Ferrari expecting the latest in green technology, but there are signs of environmentally friendly evolution in Maranello.

Not only did Ferrari’s chief executive, Amedeo Felisa, tell the British press that V-6 cars could be in the company’s future, but Luca di Montezemolo, the company’s chairman, announced recently that it is bringing a hybrid version of the 599 GTB to the Geneva Motor Show in March. He described the hybrid as “a great path towards the future."

Hold on, though. The Sierra Club isn’t likely to bestow awards on the supercar manufacturer anytime soon. The V-12 Ferrari 612 Scaglietti (with nine miles per gallon in the city and 16 on the highway as an automatic) still makes the list of “10 Meanest Cars for the Environment."

But asked about the possibility of V-6-powered Ferraris by Autocar, Mr. Felisa said, “If I had to answer the question a year ago I would have said no, but attitudes are changing and we build cars for customers."

He added, “If you look at global warming, the right solution is not fully electric."

Sound, in the form of a rich exhaust roar, is important to Ferrari, he said, and the company “will not make engine sounds with speakers."

The V-6 car, anathema to purists, is probably not imminent — Mr. Felisa said, “In 20 years, who can say?" — but a Ferrari hybrid is definitely coming, though there’s no assurance it will ever see production.

“It is going to be a prototype, and it will appear in Geneva," said Matteo Sardi, a Ferrari North America spokesman. “We absolutely think ahead of everybody in technology research, and a hybrid is in line with that."

The hybrid has long been rumored, especially since the company patented a “Four-Wheel-Drive System with Hybrid Propulsion" a year ago. In that concept, the gas engine and electric motor drive the front or rear wheels separately. In practice, according to Motor Authority, that could enable the driver to switch between rear- and four-wheel-drive, and enable brief spurts of battery-only power. And that, the site said, “will vastly improve Ferrari’s carbon footprint and position in the eyes of environmentalists." NY Times

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