Archive May 2013

Crafting the Ferrari LaFerrari

Crafting the Ferrari LaFerrari

How Ferrari built its most advanced supercar’s gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain, yet…

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Ferrari’s limited-edition supercars are special. They appear about once a decade, cost a small fortune — which has never hurt sales — and often become the benchmark for next-generation supercars at Ferrari and in the industry.

Ferrari Chairman Luca Cordero di Montezemolo says the new LaFerrari is no exception because of features such as the supercar’s gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain, its Formula One-inspired carbon fiber cockpit and its state-of-the-art active aerodynamics.

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Cutting-edge ideas

Replacing the Enzo was far from easy,” said Roberto Fedeli, Ferrari’s technical director.

“With help from the HY-KERS system, LaFerrari’s lap time at Fiorano was 1 minute and 20 seconds, making it 3 seconds quicker than the F12. LaFerrari also needs less than 3 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph, less than 7 seconds to go from 0 to 124 mph and 15 seconds to go from 0 to 186 mph.

When development of Ferrari’s HY-KERS system started in 2009, Ferrari predicted the hybrid’s parts would add about 441 pounds because of the electric motors, batteries and wiring. By the time Fedeli’s team was done with LaFerrari, the HY-KERS system’s weight was down to 330 pounds. The electric motors and control systems weighed about 132 pounds, the batteries 198 pounds.
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Not a plug-in

Fedeli pointed out that LaFerrari is not a plug-in hybrid. The batteries are charged in two ways: during braking and every time the internal combustion engine produces more torque than required, such as in cornering.

“Rather than cutting off the engine, we store the excess energy in the batteries so that energy can be used to provide a boost the next time the driver accelerates,” Fedeli said.

Technically, LaFerrari can travel 9 to 14 miles in pure electric mode, but Ferrari has limited the top speed in full battery mode to 3 mph to discourage drivers from trying to use the supercar as a zero-emission vehicle.

“You can exit the garage in pure battery mode, but that’s it. This car is designed for extreme performances,” Fedeli said.