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Hybrid power is becoming a supercar requirement. After McLaren and its P1, Ferrari comes out with its LaFerrari.
The Prancing Horse’s new exclusive model made its world debut today at the Geneva International Motor Show. It will be known as LaFerrari and will combine the brand’s well known V12 to electric motors.
“We chose to call this model LaFerrari,” declared Ferrari’s President, Luca di Montezemolo, “because it is the maximum expression of what defines our company – excellence. Excellence in terms of technological innovation, performance, visionary styling and the sheer thrill of driving. Aimed at our collectors, this is a truly extraordinary car which encompasses advanced solutions that, in the future, will find their way onto the rest of the range, and it represents the benchmark for the entire automotive industry. LaFerrari is the finest expression of our company’s unique, unparalleled engineering and design know-how, including that acquired in Formula 1.”
Ferrari said during the launch that the development of a limited-series special like the LaFerrari represents an opportunity to experiment with all the technological solutions that will later filter down onto the production cars. Of particular significance in this context is the introduction of the hybrid system which makes full use of the Scuderia Ferrari’s F1 KERS know-how.
The hybrid technology used, known as HY-KERS, represents, according to Ferrari, the perfect combination of maximum performance and lower emissions. The LaFerrari in fact emits just 330 g/km of CO2 but without resorting to electric-only drive which would not fit the mission of this model.
The HY-KERS system is, however, designed so that in future applications a car can be driven using exclusively electric power for a few miles and, during development testing, a full-electric version of LaFerrari achieved just 220 g/km of CO2 emissions on the combined cycle.
The LaFerrari is equipped with dynamic controls that are integrated for the first time ever on a Ferrari road car with active aerodynamics and the HY-KERS system.
The hybrid supercar’s chassis features no less than four different types of carbon-fiber, all hand-laminated and autoclave-cured in the racing department using the same design and production methods as the Formula 1 car. This helped Ferrari optimize the design: various functions were integrated (e.g. seats and battery compartment) into the chassis to improve torsional rigidity (+27 percent) and beam stiffness (+22 percent) while cutting weight.
The LaFerrari is the first car in Ferrari history to be powered by the HY-KERS system. The ICE is a 6262 cc V12 that produces 800 horsepower and revs to a maximum of 9,250 rpm, a record for an engine of this displacement.
The engine also features a very high 13.5:1 compression ratio and a high specific output equal to 128 horsepower per liter. The engine is coupled with a 120 kilowatt (163 horsepower) electric motor, giving it a combined power output of 963 horsepower.
The high torque levels available at low revs from the electric motor allowed the engineers to optimize the internal combustion engine’s performance at higher revs, thus providing a constant supply of exceptional power throughout the rev range.
The hybrid system is composed of two electric motors developed in collaboration with Magneti Marelli – one powering the driven wheels and the second the ancillaries – and a battery pack attached to the floor of the chassis consisting of cells that are assembled in the Scuderia Ferrari department where the KERS for the F138 is also made.
The Scuderia’s expertise allowed considerable savings in weight and size of the individual components and the batteries weigh 60 kilograms (132 pounds).
The batteries are charged in different ways: under braking (even hard braking with the ABS active) and every time the V12 produces more torque than required, such as in cornering. In the latter instance, rather than the power being sent to the wheels, the excess torque is converted to energy and stored in the batteries.
The electric motor is coupled with the F1 dual-clutch gearbox to the benefit of optimal weight distribution, but also to help boost energy efficiency as torque is instantly available to the wheels and, vice versa, from the wheels to the electric motor in recharging.
Ferrari said proprietary algorithms deliver optimal integration of the electric motor and V12 for instantaneous response. In cornering, for instance, the HY-KERS keeps the V12’s revs high to guarantee better acceleration on exit.
The LaFerrari’s Brembo braking system is also integrated with the hybrid system, and incorporates several new features, including new lightweight calipers designed to guarantee correct cooling and carbon-ceramic material (CCM) discs featuring a new composition.
The car’s performance potential called for a special tire set-up, with 265/30 R 19 Pirelli P-Zeros on the front and 345/30 R 20s on the rear.
As expected, performance levels are high: 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in less than 3 seconds and 0-200 km/h (124 mph) in under 7 seconds.
The LeFerrari will be particularly exclusive, with only 499 units to be built.