There Are Hybrids & There Are. . . .
Hybrids tend to look like this, right?
OK. So there have been a number of other hybrids produced, vehicles that are based on models that began life primarily as non-hybrids, yet were modified to handle the powertrain.
Like the Ford Fusion.
And the Hyundai Sonata.
While both of those are cars that don’t look in the least bit Prius-like, they surely don’t look like this:
The Ferrari LaFerrari. It may have an unimaginative name (“We chose to call this model LaFerrari because it is the maximum expression of what defines out company—excellence. Excellence in terms of technological innovation, performance, visionary styling and the sheer thrill of driving,” stated Luca di Montezemolo, Ferrari president. Wonder why, then, they didn’t name it “Eccellenza”?)
The LaFerrari is a hybrid, using what is called the “HY-KERS” system.
Don’t become too concerned. It uses a 789-hp V12 engine. And the engine is—remember, this is a hybrid—fitted to a 120-kW electric motor to drive the wheels. The electric motor is coupled with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. When you add the output of the engine and the electric motor, it brings it up to 950 hp.
In case you’re wondering, it has a top speed of >217 mph and its 0 to 62 mph is <3 seconds.
The powertrain is setup so that when the V12 is at low revs, the electric motor provides the torque and then as the V12 spools up, it contributes more to the mix. The car produces more than 660 lb-ft of torque.
There is actually a second electric motor in the hybrid system that Ferrari developed in cooperation with Magneti Marelli; the second one powers the ancillaries in the car.
The chassis is—of course—carbon fiber. But unlike most cars, four different types are used to optimize the structural integrity of the car. The fabric is hand-laid.
There will be 499 built.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, Toyota reported that, based on figures from R.L. Polk, 61,893 new Priuses (Prius liftback, Prius v, Prius plug-in, Prius c) were registered in California in 2012, making it the #1 vehicle badge registered in the state.
Hyundai enters the American market with a new parallel hybrid system that uses lithium-polymer batteries and the same six-speed automatic found in non-hybrid versions of the 2011 Sonata.
Lithium-ion batteries have become the technology of choice for EVs, and falling costs and rising energy levels could keep them on top for nearly two decades.
Chinese electric-car startup Nio Inc. is forming a manufacturing joint venture with Beijing E-Town International Investment and Development Co., which is investing 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) in the business.