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Detroit 2008: ''Green'' Power at Ferrari (video)

Detroit 2008: ''Green'' Power at Ferrari (video)

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A "green" Ferrari? Is that really possible? The answer is yes, at least according to Ferrari executives who unveiled the F430 Spider Biofuel Concept at the 2008 NAIAS. This high-performance machine can run on E85.

The development of an E85-compatible engine began as part of a comprehensive R&D program announced during the 60th anniversary of Ferrari, in June 2007. This program includes a number of innovative projects aimed at improving the fuel economy of all the brand's models and, more importantly, reducing their noxious emissions by 40 percent by 2012.

The F430 Spider Biofuel borrows its technology from racing. Indeed, the fuel used by F1 cars must include 5.75 percent biomass. In addition, the F430 GT2s which dominated the FIA GT Championship and American Le Mans Series (ALMS) relied on engines that run on E10 (10 percent ethanol). The same holds true for the V8 engines supplied by Ferrari for the upcoming A1GP season.

In order to make the powerplant of the F430 Spider Biofuel Concept E85-compatible, several modifications were made to the injection system and the ECU chip. As a result, the engine can run on two different fuels without having to change the compression ratio. Every other component is identical to the production F430 Spider's.

Using this biofuel allows a 10-hp gain at the same maximum rpm as well as a 4-percent torque increase. Meanwhile, CO2 emissions are cut by 5 percent. We should point out that the overall weight of the car remains unchanged.

Ferrari executives also chose the NAIAS to announce that all North American models will now feature carbon-ceramic composite (CCC) brakes -- at no cost. A similar announcement for Europe was made in December during the Bologna Auto Show, in Italy. Back then, Ferrari said that CCC Brembo brakes would become standard fare for all 2008 models.

Ferrari is the first automaker to offer the CCC technology on all its models. The Maranello-based company actually pioneered these brakes five years ago with the Enzo supercar. Right now, up to 85 percent of Ferrari buyers select the CCC option (depending on models).
photo:Alexandre Beaulne