solar panels
bottom menu border

Environmentally Friendly Ferrari?

Supercars. They hardly sum up mankind’s care for the environment, tearing around racetracks at 3mpg, with a much more immediate risk for short-term safety rather than the long term devastation that could be caused with global warming. However, Ferrari actually launched a 5 year plan in 2007 to cut its carbon dioxide emissions across its range of cars by at least 40%.

Source: The Telegraph

In order to meet this target, Ferrari launched an optional extra for every model of their cars – the High Emotion Low Emission system (aka “HELE”), a title which clearly aims to dispel fears that caring about emissions will mean slowing down its dream machines.

HELE involves a computer controlled fan system, with continuous control of fuel pumps and an adaptable shift pattern depending on which driving style is selected. It also includes an electronic air-con compressor with variable capacity, and a brand new stop and start system.

In heavy congestion in urban areas, Ferrari claim savings of up to 15% of emissions with HELE in place, dropping from 299g/km to 270g/km on their Ferrari California (pictured). Concerns about the system are quite comical – it may feel like the car has stalled to passengers, or to pedestrians and other road users. However, it switches off quietly and starts within under a quarter of a second.

The system is designed intelligently too – if your steering wheel is not straight, then it will not cut off your engine, for example, if you’re at a junction in which case you may want a very quick response to the pedal being pressed. If it sense that you are on a slope or trying to park, then it also won’t cut out. However, in a car costing £200,000 or more, it may be unnerving that you cannot predict what it’ll be like to drive.

It’ll be interesting to see if this system is brought into other supercars – it is, in any case, an exciting piece of new technology which brings us one step closer to the majority of people caring about the environment to a significant degree, rather than a friendly minority. We are starting to see cars with solar panels installed, but I wonder if we'll ever see solar power on a Ferrari!