The Good Oil: Ferrari moves up the hybrid scale

By Alastair Sloane

Ferrari F12 Berlinetta. Photo / Supplied
Ferrari F12 Berlinetta. Photo / Supplied

It wasn't long ago that the idea of a hybrid Ferrari made about as much sense as eating cabbage with icecream. But a lot has changed.

Ferrari first made a move towards hybrids with its kinetic energy recovery system (KERS), a regenerative braking device developed with sister company Magneti Marelli for use in Formula One.

Next came an experimental version of the 599 called the HY-KERS concept. Now it has used the launch of its F12 Berlinetta to show off a revised HY-KERS system which it says cuts emissions from a V12 engine by 40 per cent.

The F12 Berlinetta is Ferrari's quickest road car yet, a full second quicker around Ferrari's Firono test circuit than the 599 GTO it replaces, and two seconds faster than the Enzo, the 458 Italia and the 430 Scuderia.

Presenter in wrong gear over deaths
Controversial Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has rankled yet another group in Britain, this time over his column in the the Sun.

He wrote that people who commit suicide by jumping under trains were "selfish" and that, after such incidents, trains should be running again as soon as possible.

Five groups who assist suicide victims and their families have complained that Clarkson and the newspaper violated a clause pertaining to "intrusion into grief".

The Sun apologised, removed Clarkson's column from its website and agreed to train its staff in reporting suicide sensitively. It said nothing about retraining Clarkson.

Licence to drive just about anything
James Bond has driven many vehicles over the course of his 50-year career in Her Majesty's Secret Service: Bentleys, Aston Martins, Lotuses, BMWs. And those are just the cars. There have also been motorcycles, tanks and trucks as well as helicopters, jets and hot-air balloons. Also, as a commander in the Navy, 007 is no stranger to speedboats, jetskis, yachts and submarines. To keep track of it all check out the James Bond infographic here.

Chinese can buy Audi Dragons
Audi has unveiled a Chinese edition of its Q3 compact SUV to commemorate the year of the dragon. The Q3 Jinlong Yufeng, or Golden Dragon In The Wind, is designed for kite surfers. It comes with two roof-mounted carbon-fibre polymer boards and a kite pouch that can also be used to hold wet clothing or serve as a beach umbrella. Designers have also thrown in a set of removable, wireless video cameras that can easily be attached to a sail bar or helmet. The Q3 Jinlong Yufeng carries its yellow colour inside with the use of yellow contrasting thread throughout.

Get to grips with how engines work
Want to know how engines work? The difference between diesel and petrol engines? Go to the Animated Engines website and click on one of the 21 different types.

Doing so will take you to a page demonstrating how that engine creates power. The animations can be run from one to 25 frames a second. The animations show some forgotten freakshows of the pistoned world, including the unknown beam, low differential stirling and crank substitute.

Ford banks on recycling old notes
Ford is looking at using shredded, out-of-circulation banknotes for insulation. It already uses reclaimed material such as denim for sound-deadening - the Ford Fusion, for example, contains the denim equivalent of two pairs of blue jeans. Ford started using recycled materials 10 years ago as a way to cut use of petroleum in components that required plastic. At that time, oil cost about a seventh of what it costs now. Part of the fibre in Ford Focus' seats comes from recycled plastic.

We are the world
* When workers at the Carlsberg Beer plant in Lithuania decided to walk out over poor pay and conditions, the company went to court to block them. A judge ruled for the company, saying the strike was not in the national interest because Carlsberg Beer was "vitally essential," putting the brew in the same legal category as medical supplies.

* Kendall Reid, 36, is awaiting trial in Louisiana on a charge of shooting at a car on a highway. He missed the car he was aiming at, police said, instead blowing out the back window of one containing two women. They stopped, Reid pulled over, said "Sorry, wrong car", and took off after his intended target.

* Some state senators in Wyoming like the idea of seceding from the United States so much that they promoted legislation to establish a state army, navy, and air force. An amendment added an aircraft carrier. The amendment was defeated, although 27 representatives voted for it. Wyoming is landlocked. The only place for an aircraft carrier is Yellowstone Lake, with 180km of shoreline but 2357m above sea level.

- NZ Herald

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