Geneva 2010: Ferrari 599 HY-KERS is green in more ways than one

Ferrari 599 HY-KERS – Click above for high-res image gallery

Onlookers green with envy. Waiting twitchingly for the traffic light to turn green. A briefcase full of greenbacks. Even British Racing Green, if you're talking about a GT. You could find a few ways to associate Ferrari with the color green, but the environmental sense would be a bit of a stretch – historically speaking, at least. But the times, as one Mr. Zimmerman wrote, they are a-changing. Now even Maranello has been forced to get on board the "Heal the World" train. And this is the result.

Called the HY-KERS, what you're looking at is a rolling test bed. It's a hybrid, sure, but if you thought this was a haphazard application of a plug-and-play hybrid system, think again. The HY-KERS incorporates a roadgoing derivative of Ferrari's Kinetic Energy Recovery System – fancy-talk for regenerative braking – from last year's Formula One program.

Ferrari has worked diligently to optimize the benefits of the system to the 599's performance. The entire system weighs a modest 40 kilograms, partially offset by the obviation of the starter motor and conventional battery. Integrated into the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and mounted below the car's center of gravity, the system returns over 100 horsepower, supplementing the V12 engine under hard acceleration and it can even operate under full electric power when puttering around town. Of course, a Ferrari never putters around anything, save for when it takes its owner for a round of golf at the local country club.

Take a closer look in the gallery of live shots of the lime-green show car – complete with 599XX-style matte-black roof and mirrored floor – from the Geneva Motor Show floor below, and brush up on the details on the latest from the Italian technological powerhouse after the jump.

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Live Photos: Noah Joseph / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.
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Geneva, 2 March 2010. Ferrari presents a vettura laboratorio (experimental vehicle) at the 80th edition of the Geneva Motor Show based on the 599 GTB Fiorano equipped with an advanced new hybrid transmission.

Hybrid technology is one of the solutions examined by Ferrari in its on-going research and development into making its production cars ever more efficient. Experimenting with alternative technologies represents the company's long-term strategy after the announcement in 2007 of a five-year plan to reduce fuel consumption and emissions across the range. With the launch of the Ferrari California (2008) and the 458 Italia (2009), in fact, Ferrari's average fuel consumption and CO2 emissions figures have already been reduced by around 30 per cent compared to 2007.

The HY-KERS displayed at the Geneva Motor Show is an example of how Ferrari is studying the application of hybrid technology to high-performance sports cars. Central to Ferrari's objectives is maintaining the balance, handling and performance characteristics typical of its cars despite the inevitable disadvantages in terms of weight represented by applying hybrid solutions to existing models.

To this end Ferrari has employed its racing experience to adapt a lightweight hybrid drivetrain to the 599 GTB Fiorano with the aim of ensuring that vehicle dynamics are unaffected. This was achieved by the careful integration of all system components, positioning them below the centre of gravity and ensuring that interior and luggage space are entirely unaffected. Similarly the flat lithium-ion batteries are positioned below the floorpan of the car inside the aerodynamic underbody. The result is a centre of gravity that is even lower than in the standard car. In addition, a part of the weight gained by fitting the electric motor, generator and the batteries is offset by being able to do away with the traditional starter motor and battery.

Ferrari has also applied its F1 technology to the design, engineering and construction of a new kind of electric motor which also helps optimise the longitudinal and lateral dynamics of the car, enhancing traction and brake balance. The motor cuts in during acceleration, providing instantaneous torque when moving away from a standstill and during overtaking manoeuvres, with torque control a function of grip, gear and accelerator pedal angle. Depending on vehicle speed and engine load – for example in town driving – the hybrid system can also function as a full-electric drivetrain. The result is a direct reduction in consumption and emissions. The motor also features a unique cooling and lubrication system for maximum efficiency under all operating temperatures and loads. The castings of the motor are made in the Ferrari foundry, complete with Prancing Horse motif.

Weighing about 40 kg, the compact, tri-phase, high-voltage electric motor of the HY-KERS is coupled to the rear of the dual-clutch 7-speed F1 transmission. It operates through one of the transmission's two clutches and engages one of the two gearbox primary shafts. Thus power is coupled seamlessly and instantaneously between the electric motor and the V12. The electric motor produces more than 100 hp as Ferrari's goal was to offset every kilogram increase in weight by a gain of at least one hp.

Under braking the electric drive unit acts as a generator, using the kinetic energy from the negative torque generated to recharge the batteries. This phase is controlled by a dedicated electronics module which was developed applying experience gained in F1 and, as well as managing the power supply and recharging the batteries, the module also powers the engine's ancillaries (power steering, power-assisted brakes, air conditioning, on-board systems) via a generator mounted on the V12 engine when running 100 per cent under electric drive. It also incorporates the hybrid system's cooling pump.

In keeping with Ferrari's 360-degree approach to efficiency and its commitment to environmental sustainability, new technologies for its road cars are matched by the considerable investments already made to reduce the environmental impact of the company's production activities in Maranello.

After the inauguration of the photovoltaic installation on the roof of the Mechanical Machining facility in January 2009, which reduced the factory's power requirements by over 210,000 kWh annually, 2009 also saw the opening of the trigeneration plant (the simultaneous production of power, heat and cooling from a single source) – the first of its kind to be implemented by a sports car manufacturer. This enabled Ferrari to reduce CO2 emissions by 15 per cent, with the goal of reaching a reduction of over 40 per cent by the end of 2010. Thanks to these ecological solutions, Ferrari is completely autonomous for its energy requirements.

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