Ferrari is the symbol of Italian sports car engineering: sleek, fast, powerful, and . . . green? That's right, Ferrari's newest direction applies all the knowledge and prestige that comes from being one of the most well-known luxury sports car companies in the world with their finely tuned Formula One racing legacy, and brings Ferrari into the future as a green industry leader. As Ferrari designed and engineered the HY-KERS 599 concept car, they didn't just add electric components to an existing model or only view “going green” as an attempt to reduce the vehicle's CO2 emissions (although this is important). Instead Ferrari completely integrated the latest and smartest electric vehicle technology into the 599 GTB Fiorano, effectively representing the green direction Ferrari is heading.
Ferrari and the iconic dancing pony logo have long been the symbol for fast sports cars. However, even though the Ferrari name is associated with cutting edge sports car technology, especially with their work in designing cars for the Formula One track, Ferrari had not planned to enter the electric vehicle market until recently. Over the past several years, the company's facilities in Maranello, Italy, have been undergoing a green transformation. The factory now boasts rooftop photocells to help reduce electricity usage by about 210,000 kilowatt hours per year. Plus they opened a new power, heat and cooling plant in 2009, which helps the Ferrari facility generate all their own energy, for a reduction of CO2 emissions by 40%. So it only makes sense that a company, that is taking their global operations and practices as seriously as Ferrari is, make a splash onto the electric vehicle scene.
The Ferrari GTB Fiorano is the basis for the HY-KERS concept car. “KERS” is an acronym for the Formula One racing concept "Kinetic Energy Recovery System." This system allows the vehicle to recharge its own battery while operating by “underbraking,” which allows the electric drive unit to act as a generator to charge the battery. Additionally, the 599 is outfitted with a light hybrid drivetrain, flat lithium ion batteries, and an electric motor, all designed and tested through the company’s work with F1 racing. The motor only weighs 40 kilograms, and is integrated with the rear of the car's dual clutch seven-speed F1 transmission. Every component was carefully and seamlessly integrated into the car in order to maintain Ferrari's low center of gravity and luxury interior and luggage space.
The main purpose of the design and efficiency of the HY-KERS 599 is to ensure maximum Ferrari power and performance, reduce fuel usage, and reduce CO2 emissions. Ferrari is taking a future view with this new concept car, as it probably won't be available on the market for a few years. Instead, Ferrari is cognizant of upcoming stricter CO2 emissions standards, especially since sports cars are not traditionally designed for “in city” driving and have a tougher time meeting regulations. Ferrari is refreshingly honest about their intentions with this vehicle and with future output, in that they are striving to meet the upcoming regulations and are working to have ideas in place now in order to be ready for the changes. However, the company is showing their stance on environmental issues by focusing on greening their operations across their facility, putting in place a sustainable energy plan, and effectively making use of green additions to their facilities. All of this places Ferrari at the forefront of the green manufacturing movement, while still maintaining their status as one of the most advanced production facilities in the world.
The HY-KERS 599 concept car made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show, in an appropriately shiny lime-green hue, on display at a tilt over a mirrored floor so onlookers could get an up-close look at every component of the vehicle. When the vehicle is ready for its market debut, it will have all the traits Ferrari is known for: sleek sports car styling, a luxury interior with plenty of storage space, a V12 motor to couple with the electric motor, which adds over 100 horsepower, and enhanced traction and brake balancing thanks to the dynamics of the engineering, construction of the car, and placement of the important components. Ferrari is looking ahead to a green future with their concept HY-KERS 599 sports car, one where the famous prancing horse logo represents vehicles electrified with speed, power, luxury, and environmentally-friendly driving.