Ferrari all-wheel-drive hybrid patent images - Click above for an image gallery

We've known for quite some time that Ferrari was working on a hybrid sportscar, so it's not too surprising to see these patents for a new all-wheel-drive vehicle with hybrid propulsion filed by Ferrari back in February. The Italian automaker's documents suggest that this particular design is intended to "improve the drivability of a sports car in conditions of poor grip," not necessarily to improve the vehicle's overall environmental friendliness.

Ferrari outlines four possible ways it could introduce its hybrid technology and illustrates the design with six individual diagrams, which you can see below. In each of these possible designs, one set of wheels would be powered by the car's internal combustion engine through a locking differential, while the other set of wheels would be motivated by either a single electric motor or by two smaller in-wheel electric motors.

Ferrari believes a system such as this could provide the advantages of all-wheel drive while keeping the weight low and allowing the driver to choose standard rear-wheel drive when desirable. Of course, depending on the on-board batteries and electronics used in such a system, the car could potentially be powered solely on electricity under certain circumstances, reducing fuel consumption and lowering overall emissions. Click here to see the actual patent filing and check out the images in our gallery below.

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