Green with envy over new Ferrari

By Alastair Sloane

F70 hybrid will be the $1.2m replacement for the Enzo

Ferrari's petrol-electric F70 will be quick, but it will also be a fuel-saver, says the company. Photo / Supplied
Ferrari's petrol-electric F70 will be quick, but it will also be a fuel-saver, says the company. Photo / Supplied

Ferrari will this year take the covers off its most expensive and powerful sports car yet, the petrol-electric F70 hybrid that will replace the limited-edition and naturally aspirated Enzo.

Chairman Luca di Montezemolo confirmed the arrival of the new car in the company's first-quarter report for this year.

"At the end of the year, we'll also be unveiling the new Enzo, a limited series model and our first hybrid car," he said.

The car would be unveiled at either next year's Detroit motor show in January or Geneva's in March.

"We want to surprise people not just in terms of price but also with the car itself," he said.

The fuel-saving flyer is likely to cost considerably more than the roughly $1 million Ferrari wanted for the Enzo, named after the Ferrari founder and restricted to a production run of 400 between 2002 and 2004.

Industry watchers in Europe are tipping a price of around NZ$1.2 million for the hybrid.

It will be powered by a new version of the Hy-Kers hybrid technology, developed for the brand's Formula One team. The "green" unit is expected to cut fuel use by up to 40 per cent.

The system mates a V12 engine, two electric motors, a battery pack, and a dual-clutch gearbox. When accelerating, the main electric motor delivers an extra 75kW to the wheels through one of the gearbox's two clutches. The powertrain is expected to deliver maximum output of around 670kW.

When the driver brakes, the main motor turns into a generator, transforming brake energy into electricity to recharge the batteries.

A second, non-powertrain electric motor is used for powering auxiliary electronics including power steering and air conditioning.

Both motors receive power from a lithium-ion battery pack believed to come from South Korean electronics giant Samsung.

The model is part of a wave of green supercars appearing as high-end carmakers step up efforts to make their models environmentally friendly while maintaining or boosting performance.

Porsche plans to start deliveries next year of the hybrid 918 Spydner, priced at €768,000 euros (nearly $1.3 million). It will combine a 373kW engine with 162kW electric motors to hit a top speed of more than 320km/h.

BMW will introduce the i8 plug-in hybrid in 2014. It will be able to drive up to 35km on electric power and reach 100km/h in less than 5sec.

The F70 is part of a Ferrari strategy to boost profitability with high-end versions while restraining deliveries to about 7000 cars a year to guard its exclusivity.

The supercar brand is also seeking to boost revenue with its "tailor made" personalisation programme, adding touches such as cashmere-covered seats to increase prices by 20 per cent to 60 per cent.

Ferrari delivered 1733 cars worldwide in the first quarter of this year, generating revenue of €556 million and an operating profit of €42.1 million euros, up 13.2 and 17.2 per cent respectively on first quarter 2011.

Its model range consists of the 458 Italia and Spider, the recently revised California, the all-wheel-drive FF and the new F12 Berlinetta.

The original Enzo now sells for $1.3 million, according to website infomotori.com. Enzo owners include musician Eric Clapton and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason. A red Enzo was found abandoned in the desert near Dubai last month.

- NZ Herald

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