Ferrari plans to launch a successor to its limited-edition Enzo later this year. The new model will be a gas-electric hybrid supercar which it says will be more powerful and more fuel efficient.
The new hybrid is scheduled to go on sale in limited numbers in the U.S. next year. Ferrari has dubbed the new model the F70. The automaker has not yet announced pricing for the new sports hybrid, but it industry insiders expect the price to be at least as high as the Enzo’s $850,000 price tag.
The Enzo (named after Ferrari’s founder) was produced between 2002 and 2004. A mere 400 units were made.
The F70 will incorporate the same Hy-Kers hybrid technology used in Formula One racing and will feature two electric motors and a 12-cylinder gasoline engine. The combination will reportedly reduce fuel consumption by about 40 percent.
Passione Rossa Ferrari owner’s club chairman Fabio Barone is enthusiastic about the new F70. “Boosted by the electric motors, the new supercar may have more than 900 horsepower,” he said. “It’s going to be a sensational car, and it also lowers emissions.”
In the Hy-Kers system, an electric motor delivers an extra 100 horsepower “instantaneously” between the 12-cylinder gasoline engine and the electric motors through one of the vehicle’s two clutches.
Ferrari is not the only high performance sports car maker going green. Porsche already sells hybrid variants of its popular Cayenne SUV and Panamera four-door coupe, and plans to begin selling a hybrid version of its 918 Spyder next year. The hybrid Spyder will feature a 500 horsepower gasoline engine teamed with 218 horsepower electric motors to deliver a top speed of 199 mph.
BMW also has a hybrid supercar in the works. Its i8 plug-in hybrid is scheduled to launch in 2014. And Volkswagen AG’s Bentley division is reportedly considering producing a plug-in hybrid SUV.
According to IHS Automotive, demand for hybrid supercars like the F70 is expected to increase from less than 100 in 2012, to upwards of 2,100 by 2015.
Ferrari is Fiat S.p.A.’s most profitable brand and reported a 13 percent increase in operating profits, to 60 million euros, during the first quarter. The company limits annual production to approximately 7,000 vehicles and offers “tailor made” customization which allows it to increase prices between 20 percent and 60 percent per auto.