Saturday, May 23, 2009

LEAKED : Patent search confirms Ferrari working on all-wheel drive hybrid

The word "Hybrid" and the Ferrari name would never be a match. At least that's what we though! Rumors now for over a year that Ferrari has been working secretly on their own hybrid drive-train. Well here comes the proof.

Searching through the European Patent Office (EPO), there are some patent drawings and diagrams of a new "all-wheel drive hybrid" drive-train that belongs under the Ferrari file. The Italian automaker's documents suggest that this particular design is intended to "improve the drivability of a sports car in conditions of poor grip," and not necessarily to improve the vehicle's overall environmental friendliness.

Looking at the drawings, it seems Ferrari hasn't yet decided on the method to present their new all-wheel drive hybrid train. Ferrari outlines four possible ways it could introduce its hybrid technology and illustrates the design with six individual diagrams. Nevertheless, in each of these possible designs, one set of wheels would be powered by the car's internal combustion engine through a locking differential, while the other set of wheels would be motivated by either a single electric motor or by two smaller in-wheel electric motors. So it's probably the front-wheels will be responsible for the battery-powered electric motors, and the rear-wheels are mated to the petrol engine.

With such an all-wheel drive hybrid system, Ferrari can get all the advantages of all-wheel drive systems, while keeping the weight low and the majority of power to the rear-wheels. In fact, it seems Ferrari will also let the driver to choose standard rear-wheel drive when desirable. Of course, depending on the on-board batteries and electronics used in such a system, the car could be powered solely on the electric motor under certain circumstances at low speeds in city traffic. On which it will reduce fuel consumption and lowering overall emissions. Next-generation Ferrari sports cars are going to offer the driver's freedom of choice, on whether to choose the gutsy and gas guzzling petrol engine when demanding "fun", or running solely on the electric motors when driving "responsibly".

Click on the sources below to see the actual patent filing and check more images of the all-wheel drive hybrid train.

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