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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Exotic Transport Gets Greener - Lamborghini, Ferrari Go Hybrid

After gaining the rank of the least fuel efficient 2-seater on the market, Lamborghini is making headway toward a more eco-friendly sports car.  Exotic rival, Ferrari is also planning a new hybrid drivetrain that promises better efficiency, lower emissions, and the company's primary goal - better performance.
What's in Store for the Green Lamborghini?
The newest model of the Gallardo has seen minor improvements in fuel economy, up 3 mpg from the 14 mpg seen in previous models - much better than the 8 mpg Murcielago, but not rivaling the sleek electric Tesla Roadster.  Lamborghini also plans to cut company carbon emissions by 30% over the next 6 years.  Solar power is already being integrated into their Italian manufacturing plant to achieve this goal.
Lamborghini vehicles will see a decrease in emissions of at least 35% by 2015.  Aside from the new hybrid drivetrain, plans for the green Lamborghini include:
  • Biofuel engines;
  • Unique start-stop systems;
  • And lighter vehicle frames.
Ferrari's Green Intentions
Ferrari promised to reduce carbon output by a whopping 40% no later than 2012, already implementing a Kinetic Energy Recovery System that recovers wasted energy through regenerative braking in their Formula One race cars.  Plans for a Ferrari hybrid drivetrain were announced earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show.
Four-wheel drive technology will allow one set of wheels to be handled by a traditional transmission driven engine, while the other pair will operate through either an electric motor or 2 in-wheel motors.  The system is currently being tested in the 599 Fiorano, which could debut later this year, but we probably won't see the green Ferrari in production until 2015.
For the Planet or for the Profit?
Despite the green promises of both exotic sports car manufacturers, Ferrari admits their hybrid plans are geared more toward vehicle performance rather than efficiency and eco-friendliness.  European emissions standards will get much stricter in 2014, with the US requiring similar regulations by 2016 - something both companies must comply with to continue selling their super-fast roadsters.
Will the green Lamborghini and hybrid Ferrari make a difference in improving the planet or will the future models just serve to keep the companies in business?  We'll have to wait and see!
Sources and Images: Green Car Reports; GreenBiz

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