Is Ferrari Winning The War Against CO2 Emission Mandates?
With strict emission laws about to take place in Europe, supercar manufacturers in the region must figure out how to reduce their CO2 averages. Thus far, Ferrari seems to be doing the best job among its competitors. The upcoming EU restriction will require automakers to achieve a fleet average of 130 grams per kilometer driven.
Last year, the prancing horse posted an average of 326 g/km, down 46 g/km or 12 percent compared to its 2009 averages. The biggest contributor to automaker's improved numbers is the Ferrari California, which showcases many emission-reducing firsts implemented by Ferrari, such as the company's first direct-injected V-8 engine and its first seven-speed transmission. The California averages 299 g/km (European market version) and contributed to about 46 percent of Ferrari's total sales in 2010.
The next lowest emitter is the 458 Italia at 307 g/km, while the 599 GTB posts the highest number in the lineup at 415 g/km.
The GTB's number is much lower compared to the Lamborghini Murcielago, which puts out a whopping 495-500 g/km from its 640 horsepower V-12 engine. Lambo's upcoming Aventador is expected to produce about 398 g/km, while the Gallardo emits between 325 to 354 g/km depending on the variant. Lambo's fleet average is 372 g/km, down 1.5 percent compared to the previous year.
Among the British competition, Aston Martin's fleet average is now 357 g/km (0.6 percent lower) and is poised to make the most dramatic reduction thanks to the forthcoming Cygnet city car that goes on sale later this year. Based on Toyota's iQ, Aston's announcement of the Cygnet initially left a lot of us scratching our heads. The automaker states they are answering the demands from its city-dwelling clientele, but dropping the brand's average CO2 emissions was a significant consideration.
Bentley posted a 1.9 percent reduction with a 397 g/km average, mostly due to the new Mulsanne, which emits 393g/km and is a huge improvement over the discontinued Arnage's 465g/km.
Lotus posted a fleet average of 198g/km, mostly due to the low emitting four-cylinder Elise which puts out 149 to 199g/km among its four variants.
With the EU target fast approaching, it will be interesting to watch how small manufacturers of high-performance products will comply with the stricter laws and avoid costly fines. One solution would be the adoption of hybrid technology, which Porsche has done with its upcoming 918 Spyder supercar, along with its Panamera sedan and Cayenne SUV.
The addition of lower displacement engines could also be a possibility. With the FIA's controversial announcement requiring Formula 1 to adopt four-cylinder engines for the 2013 season, could supercars be next? Ferrari has a rich history of smaller engines including the V6-powered Dino 246 and 625 TF race car with an inline-four engine. But Ferrari has stated that they are content with their V8s and have no desire to build a four-cylinder engine. But with increasing pressure from both government regulators and motorsport sanctioning bodies, will Maranello have a choice?