Ferrari has rolled out a “tree-hugging” new California in Paris: the High Emotion, Low Emissions (HELE).
HELE is designed to decrease emissions and fuel consumption while increasing driving pleasure. While no mpg figures have been revealed, emissions have dropped from 299 g/km to 270. Unlike most eco-friendly systems however, this doesn’t use a hybrid drivetrain or anything like that. All they’ve done is maximize the efficiency of the standard car by tweaking the details.
Firstly, Ferrari added a Start/Stop system, making it the first Ferrari to use the technology. Stop the car and keep your foot on the brake, and it’ll engage. That’s all normal, but it’s disengaging it that makes it differ from other systems. There are three ways to do this. The first is the conventional method of taking your foot off the brake. The second method is to pull the right-hand gearshift pedal, and the last is to simply tap the throttle, useful for left-foot braking. Execute any of the three, and the car roars back to life in just 230 milliseconds.
Everyone nowadays has Start/Stop though. It’s the other changes which make the HELE unique. The radiator fans are now continuously managed, using 25% less power and cutting high speed drag by 5%. The standard fan motors have been replaced with brushless ones, reducing weight by 2.1 kg. Moreover, the fuel system is continuously managed, resulting in 25% less power used, and the A/C compressor is now electric. Lastly, computers constantly detect the throttle position, as well as the car’s longitudinal and lateral acceleration, and adapt the gear changes accordingly, although this is only when the gearbox is in auto mode. Ferrari says you use about 8% fewer revs in urban driving with this system.
HELE will make its way onto the 458 Italia within the next 18 months, bringing its emissions below 300 g/km. It’s currently an optional extra for the California, priced at roughly $1,300, but it should become standard equipment in early 2011.
Source: CAR Magazine