Ferrari LaFerrari packs an F1-style HY-KERS hybrid system

Posted by Shane McGlaun

Ferrari is an automotive brand that is legendary not only for its racing prowess, but for designing incredibly high-performing, road-worthy sports cars.

Indeed, Ferrari manufactures a handful of supercars that are launched once a generation to help redefine what performance means, as is illustrated by the F40, the F50 and Enzo.

Ferrari is back with a new supercar that will undoubtedly sit at the top of the streetcar performance hierarchy, despite its horrible name: the Ferrari LaFerrari. The vehicle is equipped with a 789 hp V12 engine of the type the auto manufacturer is famous for cramming under the hood of its lightweight high-end exotic sports cars, such as the F12berlinetta. That V12 isn't alone in helping to motivate the LaFerrari, this car is also the first hybrid Ferrari has ever produced.

You might be thinking that hybrid and Ferrari are a bit of a contradiction, but it's not when you do hybrid the way Ferrari does. Ferrari's hybrid system is a HY-KERS unit derived from the automakers Formula 1 KERS system and is there simply to increase performance. The Ferrari lacks an electric-only driving range, although the hybrid system does apparently help with emissions, with Ferrari claiming the LaFerrari produces only 330 g/kg of CO2 without requiring an electric-only drive.

Ferrari also notes that the hybrid system in the new sports car is designed so that future applications will allow the vehicle to be driven exclusively using electricity for a few kilometers. A full-electric version of the LaFerrari was tested during development and that the vehicle achieved 220 g/kg of CO2 emissions on the European combined cycle.

The hybrid system in the Ferrari ladles in its own 160 hp, bringing the combined power output of the electric motor and the V12 to 949 hp. This hybrid system allowed Ferrari engineers to design an incredibly high revving V12 capable of spinning to 9250 RPM using a very high 13.5:1 compression ratio without sacrificing low-end power. The electric motor allows for high levels of torque at low RPMs so the gasoline engine can be focused on high RPM performance.

The vehicle certainly performs very well, with Ferrari confirming the car is capable of reaching 62 mph from a standstill in less than 3 seconds, while passing 124 mph in about 7 seconds. Meaning, the LaFerrari could achieve 124 mph before most vehicles even reach 60 mph.