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Give me an f-ing break! This is ridiculous!

http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Features/articleId=122424

Ferrari Reveals Its Strategy for Fuel Efficiency

By Alistair Weaver, Contributor Email

Date posted: 09-03-2007


It would seem that the environmental message has even reached the hallowed halls of Maranello. Over the next decade, Ferrari will introduce a host of new technology that will make its cars lighter, smaller and more aerodynamic in a bid to improve their fuel efficiency. The company famous for its scarlet cars is going green.

"Ferrari has always been a byword for innovation," said Ferrari's general director, Amedeo Felisa, during an exclusive presentation at the company's Fiorano test track. "Traditionally, our strategy has concentrated on power density and the power/weight ratio. Now we must focus on energy efficiency. We must rethink everything to create a new mindset and a new paradigm."

Felisa acknowledges that if the Prancing Horse is to live to be a hundred, then it must breathe cleaner air. This is the future of Ferrari.

Aerodynamics
Since the early 1990s, Ferrari has focused its attention on generating aerodynamic downforce. "The F355 of 1994 represented our first attempt to generate downforce," explains Ferdinando Cannizzo, formerly an engineer for the Ferrari Formula 1 team. "Its predecessor, the 348 of 1989, still generated lift." The 1999 F360 Modena that followed the F355 was the first Ferrari to feature a sculptured aerodynamic underbody, while the 2002 Enzo introduced front and rear air diffusers.

The lessons learned in the past decade will not be wasted, but there will be a change of focus. "There will be a dramatic reduction in aerodynamic drag," says Cannizzo. Lower drag means lower fuel consumption and a higher top speed, but it does create problems. By creating a slippery, low-drag shape, you risk compromising aerodynamic downforce, reducing cornering speeds and also creating dangerous instability at higher velocities. This is the inherent contradiction that causes heartache for race teams the world over.

Ferrari's solution is to employ technology that's banned in racing — movable aerodynamic parts or "active flow control." In other words, you create downforce only when it's needed. "We will use the car's energy in a more efficient way," says Cannizzo. Ferrari is working on a new "humped" underbody design and will also seek to match the air intake to the airflow needed by the radiators.

Rolling Resistance and Weight Reduction
The rolling resistance of today's tires has been reduced fourfold since 1900, but Ferrari is targeting a further 33 percent reduction at 150 kph (93 mph). This will require a philosophical shift. Traditionally, the tire has been developed and set up for the car, but in the future, the car will be set up to suit the tire. In other words, Ferrari will adopt the same philosophy for its street cars that it has employed for its Formula 1 cars.

Felisa admits that Ferrari has targeted a curb weight for its future sports cars of just 1,000 kilograms (2,205 pounds), which is 300 kg (661 pounds) less than the Enzo supercar. This would offer a dramatic increase in performance without the need for more powerful engines. At the Fiorano event, Ferrari showed a plastic-and-cardboard mock-up of a 1,000-kg car called the FXX Mille-Chili ("1,000 kilos," in Italian), which looked like a scaled-down Enzo.

In pursuit of this goal, Ferrari is advocating a broad portfolio of solutions, the most radical of which is the introduction of a fixed driving position — only the pedals and steering wheel will move to accommodate different drivers. Ferrari estimates that this will allow the designers to reduce the length of the passenger compartment by around 3.1 inches. The driver will also sit in a more reclined position, which helps reduce the height of the cabin by 2.4 inches. The steering wheel will adjust for reach and rake, but it will have a fixed hub featuring a greater array of controls. Such refinements should reduce the overall vehicle mass, lower the center of gravity and improve aerodynamics.

We can also expect to see increased use of lightweight carbon-fiber construction, particularly for suspension components and the nose box. The use of carbon fiber for the latter will also improve crash protection. Ferrari is also working with Brembo to lower the weight of the brakes, further reducing unsprung mass and improving the center of gravity. Even brake-by-wire technology is being considered.

Engines
Ferrari is no stranger to turbocharged engines. The legendary F40 supercar of 1987 notably featured a twin-turbo V8, and Ferrari even produced 2.0-liter turbo cars in the 1980s in response to idiosyncratic Italian tax legislation. Jean-Jacques His, Ferrari's engine guru, says, "Although turbocharging was abandoned by Ferrari, it is something we might come back to." Ferrari also is hoping to improve the throttle response of a turbo engine relative to the normally aspirated alternative, while also lowering its fuel consumption. "We want a turbo engine that can achieve high revs," says His.

Other engine technologies in the pipeline include direct injection and lower (700 rpm) idling speeds. The technicians are also working with Shell to ensure that future engines can run on fuel with a higher percentage (up to 20 percent) of bioethanol.

Ferrari also expects to have developed a prototype road car with a regenerative braking system by the end of the year, technology scheduled to be introduced in Formula 1 in 2009.

Gearbox
Contemporary F1 cars use a seamless-shift transmission system that provides an uninterrupted flow of power. While Ferrari does not believe such a system would be viable on a road car for reasons of refinement and durability, the company is targeting a reduction in shift times. The F599 GTB Fiorano is Ferrari's current speed king with shift times of just 100 milliseconds, but the new F430 Scuderia will swap cogs in just 60 milliseconds thanks to the introduction of new software. This is as quick as Michael Schumacher's F1 Ferrari achieved in 1999.

The next target is 30 milliseconds, which Ferrari believes is the quickest time possible using current technology. In the future, it might even be possible to use the energy produced by regenerative braking technology to fill in the torque gap between gearshifts.

The Ferrari Future
A green Ferrari is a very interesting development, but it's important not to overstate the impact of green technology on the formula for speed to which we've become accustomed.

Ferrari intends to reduce the carbon-dioxide emissions of its cars to around 250 grams per kilometer (402 grams/mile). This would be a major achievement — the F599 GTB Fiorano currently emits 490 g/km (788 grams/mile) — but it would still make any Ferrari one of the dirtiest air polluters on the road. After all, a Toyota Prius emits carbon-dioxide emissions of just 104 g/km (167 grams/mile).

Yet there can also be no denying that this initiative has not come a moment too soon. There are already rumors that the European Union may impose a carbon limit of 250 g/km on road cars in the not-too-distant future. Other supercar manufacturers will have to follow Ferrari's lead.

It is reassuring that while these changes will have a dramatic impact on future Ferraris, they do not sound the death knell of the high-performance supercar. Ferrari's core philosophy has not changed. "Ferrari will continue to sell a dream, not a means of transport," says Ferrari's president, Luca di Montezemolo. "A Ferrari is like a woman. You have to desire and want her."
 

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Sounds like someone at Ferrari has some inside info about how soon that law will be put into place. But isn't the point of a Ferrari just like any other super car to go fast, make lots of beautiful noise, and use as much gas as it takes to accomplish the first two? If someone wants any economy car then why don't they just go find a hybrid? Why mess with Ferrari?
 

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I'm not sure why you guys seems to regard this as 'messing' with Ferrari. Why do you assume that they won't be able to go just as fast and make just as much noise, but more efficiently?

Do you really want to cede all the pioneering technology to the Japanese? Not me. I say let Ferrari go at it; I don't think there's the slightest chance that they'll lose their soul in the process. 'Green' Ferrari technology sounds a whole lot better than a world full of beige Priuses...
 

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'Green' Ferrari technology sounds a whole lot better than a world full of beige Priuses...
I agree.

Why do you assume that they won't be able to go just as fast and make just as much noise, but more efficiently?
I was just referencing the article.

Lower drag means lower fuel consumption and a higher top speed, but it does create problems. By creating a slippery, low-drag shape, you risk compromising aerodynamic downforce, reducing cornering speeds and also creating dangerous instability at higher velocities. This is the inherent contradiction that causes heartache for race teams the world over.
Green Ferrari is better than no Ferrari though. I'd just hate to see the spirit lost.
 

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I'm sorry, I really don't mean to misquote. Long day, lots of reading/typing. What I was basically trying to say is that I believe it will be quite a feat to make something that is fuel efficient, and keeps the spirit of excess IMHO. Its something new, and if it works I believe many many car companies will be following. Just my opinion, not fact. I'm really not trying to turn this into an argument/debate/135 in a Spider thread. ;) BTW since this is the other Italian cars section, I really like the Lancia. :cool:
 

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Hey, redspiderveloce, no problem (and no explanation necessary at all); I'm no more interested than you are in seeing Ferrari build a 'Prius with a Prancing Horse'.

But I've gotta believe that Ferrari isn't going to compromise its principles (or its excess) in trying to do better than Kraig's downhill 12 mpg. I simply refuse to accept the premise that technological innovation is antithetical to maintaining Ferrari's essential character.

And I think, frankly, that Ferrari refuses to accept that premise. If you really read that press release, to pick one example, they're not looking at regenerative braking as a way of recharging electric batteries; they're looking to use it to fill in the torque gap between gearshifts, because they're worried that they can't use conventional technology to get shift times below 30 milliseconds!. Sounds like "the spirit of excess" to me.

And thanks for the nice words about my HF. If you're interested, there's a bigger, high-res version of that avatar photo at http://www.fulviahf.it/levin.htm.
 

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Thanks for the pics! The rally lights look very sharp, especially with the racing stripe. Che bella!

But yes, I suppose you're right, Ferrari is always implementing new technologies, and I'm sure at some point people were scared when they heard about the first rear engine, paddle shifters, etc. We'll all just have to see how it goes.

Andy
 

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I also applaud this move by Ferrari. Many years ago Lotus showed that one of the most useful things to do is "add lightness" to a chassis to make it go faster without needing a huge engine to achieve that. And let's not forget that Enzo Ferrari himself set in motion the ASA project - a mini lightweight Ferrari, in effect - and he owned a personalised Mini, too, and he went on record to say that such cars were the future of road transport. There is a fierce debate as to whether bio-ethanol fuels are quite as ecologically friendly as they are claimed to be, and they do not have the potential energy of raw gasoline - but what else will there be in 2080? Ferrari is right to concentrate its research in this area and, as perhaps the most recognised car brand in the world, it will cause other manufacturers to sit up and pay attention too - which is no bad thing at all.

Finally, let's not forget that you guys in the US are used to cheap fuel to drive around a country which has been structured around the motor vehicle, and one day that fossil fuel will dry up. And then what? Back to Wells Fargo and the Pony Express? 22nd Century Man might be glad to reach 50mph in anything, for all we know ...

Alex.
 
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