click above to view more images of the Ferrari 430 Spider Bio Fuel

Emerging reports indicate that Ferrari will unveil an E85 ethanol-powered version of the 430 Spider tomorrow at the North American International Auto Show, and it looks like they're right because we ran into this car on the show floor today. Labeled as the 430 Spider Bio Fuel, the roadster runs on the familiar mix of 85% natural ethanol and 15% gasoline, which reports suggest yield a modest 2% increase in power. That's enough to bring the 4.3-liter V8's output up to 500 from the standard 490 with torque rising 4% and fuel economy improving by 5%.

The vehicle being shown at Ferrari's always-scarletastic Detroit booth is strictly a concept at the moment, as the company has not decided when, or even if the car will be put into production. As Ferrari points out, the main locations where ethanol is readily available – like the Midwest states, Brazil and Sweden – are not major markets for the sportscar maker. But if ethanol were to become more readily available in, say, California (where Maranello ships 10% of its production each year), the more environmentally conscious supercar would be fast-tracked for production.

Ferrari doesn't do a lot of concept cars, and although this isn't the first "green" concept Maranello has shown, it seems a far more realistic short-term prospect than the previous cardboard Mille Chili design study.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req'd]

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