Friday, May 25, 2012

Ferrari rides wave of green super-cars

[Above: BEIJING, CHINA - APRIL 27: A model stands beside a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta car during the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition at China International Exhibition Center on April 27, 2012 in Beijing, China. More than 2,000 automotive enterprises from 14 countries and regions participated in the 2012 Beijing International Automotive Exhibition from April 23 to May 2. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images; Photo: Feng Li / Getty Images]

Spotlight on Technology (Market date provided by Bloomberg News)
Ferrari hybrid surpassing Enzo as costliest car

Tommaso Ebhardt ( - Bloomberg News - May 17, 2012

Ferrari will turn to fuel-saving hybrid technology to create its most powerful and expensive model, showing that even elite performance cars are under pressure to get greener.

The Italian automaker's first hybrid, called the F70 in trade press and blogs, will probably surpass the $850,000 price of the limited-edition Enzo, said a person familiar with the plan.

Using technology developed for Formula One racing, the model will combine two electric motors with a 12-cylinder gasoline engine to produce more horsepower than any previous Ferrari, while cutting fuel consumption 40 percent.

"Dedicated Ferrari drivers look first at power and technology," said Fabio Barone, chairman of the Passione Rossa owners club, who has two Ferraris. "The new Enzo will satisfy their appetite."

The model is part of a wave of green super-cars as high-end automakers step up efforts to make their models environmentally palatable, while still maintaining or boosting performance. As more models become available and emission rules tighten, sales of hybrid super-cars may surge from less than 100 this year to more than 2,100 in 2015, according to IHS Automotive.

Top-of-the-line Porsche

Porsche, which now sells hybrid versions of the Cayenne sport utility vehicle and Panamera four-door coupe, plans to start deliveries next year of the 918 Spyder, which will cost around $845,000. The top-of-the-line Porsche sports car will combine a 500-horsepower engine with 218-horsepower electric motors to hit a top speed of more than 199 mph.

BMW will roll out the i8 plug-in hybrid in 2014. The BMW super-car will be able to drive up to 21 miles on electric power and accelerate to 62 mph in less than 5 seconds.

"If you want to sell a vehicle in the U.S. and Europe, you must show you want to make the difference in terms of lower emissions, even if you sell" a $125,000 car, said Ian Fletcher, an analyst at IHS Automotive in London. "Even a super-car becomes more usable for city driving if it carries a hybrid engine."

Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus, which has led the way among luxury-car makers in introducing the technology, offers five hybrid models, ranging from the $29,120 CT to the $112,750 LS. Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz sells the $91,850 S-Class hybrid and introduced a diesel-electric version of the E-Class in Germany this year. Volkswagen AG's ultra-luxury Bentley brand is considering a plug-in hybrid version of a planned SUV.

U.S. seen as big market

The Ferrari hybrid will go on sale starting next year, with the United States likely to be the model's biggest market, the person said, declining to be identified because the plans have not yet been made public. Ferrari will produce a limited number of the model, with the final price yet to be decided, the person said.

Ferrari, in Maranello in northern Italy, will show the heir to the Enzo this year, Chairman Luca Cordero Di Montezemolo said in a statement. Ferrari declined to comment on the vehicle beyond the statement.


No comments: