Fer­rari plugs into hy­brid

Emis­sions the tar­get, writes KEVIN HEP­WORTH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

PER­FOR­MANCE su­per­star Fer­rari is pour­ing more than half its re­search and de­vel­op­ment in­vest­ment into plan­ning for hy­brid-elec­tric tech­nol­ogy across its range by 2015.

Fer­rari CEO Amedeo Felisa says the shift in em­pha­sis from safety to fuel and emis­sions ef­fi­ciency is the big­gest chal­lenge the com­pany faces for its su­per-per­for­mance ve­hi­cles. ‘‘What we can­not change is the char­ac­ter of the cars and that is the real chal­lenge,’’ he says. ‘‘If I look at the in­vest­ment we are do­ing to­day on re­search and de­vel­op­ment then more than 50 per cent is on emis­sions. In the past it was safety — now it is emis­sions.’’

Felisa con­cedes that the com­pany’s un­der­stand­ing of hy­brid tech­nol­ogy is in its in­fancy, but huge re­sources are be­ing poured into it.

‘‘We are run­ning in Maranello a 599 with hy­brid tech­nol­ogy, that we have al­ready said,’’ Felisa says. ‘‘Hy­brid is a very big idea and we have to un­der­stand it. We are hav­ing a very good — a very ex­pen­sive — ex­er­cise in F1 and we are looking at how we can trans­fer that tech­nol­ogy (to road cars).’’

Fer­rari’s tar­get, Felisa says, is to utilise hy­brid tech­nol­ogy for ben­e­fits to econ­omy, emis­sions and per­for­mance — a goal in which he sees no con­flict.

‘‘We will have to have some hy­brids in the mod­els for fuel con­sump­tion, that is clear,’’ he says.

‘‘You can use hy­brid to im­prove con­sump­tion or you can use it to im­prove per­for­mance. Cer­tainly for some mod­els we will use hy­brid to im­prove con­sump­tion, but in oth­ers it will be to en­hance per­for­mance.’’

One road Felisa is adamant that Fer­rari will never travel is elec­tric ve­hi­cle tech­nol­ogy.

‘‘I think the noise from the ex­haust is some­thing that must be on our cars,’’ he says.

Though hy­brid tech­nol­ogy is the fo­cus for the mid-term, it is the eco­nomic cri­sis that oc­cu­pies the com­pany’s im­me­di­ate at­ten­tion.

Fer­rari sales were down 3.9 per cent in the cru­cial US mar­ket last year but, Felisa says, were sta­ble in Europe and im­proved in the emerg­ing mar­kets of East­ern Europe, Asi­aPa­cific and the Mid­dle East.

Last year in Aus­tralia Fer­rari sold 163 cars, 12.4 per cent up on 2007. But for the first two months of this year sales are down more then 60 per cent.

‘‘We agree that this (eco­nomic cri­sis) is too big to go away quickly,’’ Felisa says.

‘‘We are try­ing to max­imise the fi­nan­cial re­sult for the com­pany. What we will never do is com­pro­mise our prod­uct strat­egy.’’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.