According to AutoSpies, at the presentation of Ferrari's new 599 Hy-KERS Hybrid Sportscar in Geneva, Chairman Luca di Montezemolo (who is also chairman of Fiat Motors, majority owner of Ferrari) told the assembled reporters “This is a first step of a long project and we want within three years, maximum four, to have a hybrid Ferrari car ready for every single product of our range. This is our goal. In three years we aim to cut emissions by a minimum of 35 percent.”
The Ferrari HY-KERS system is a parallel hybrid system in which braking energy is passed back through the transmission (as in "engine braking", but sidestepping the ICE) to the specially designed, three-phase electric motor at the rear of the car, which then acts as a generator, sending electricity to a lithium Ion battery. Under acceleration the same motor is driven by electricity from the battery and feeds torque through a second clutch back into the drive-train, in concert with the gasoline powered V12 power plant.
Interestingly, although much of the press seems to be assuming that the KERS (Kinetic Energy Regenerative System, essentially regenerative braking) part of this system is a direct descendant of the technology developed for last year's F1 race season, this seems not to be the case. Rumour has it that Ferrari had many teething troubles with their unit and lobbied hard to have the KERS systems dropped from this year's F1 rule set. while speaking about Ferrari vehicles at the end of the 2009 race season, president Luca di Montezemolo publicly admitted that there is nothing in common between F1’s KERS and the road car's KERS.
There is another system commonly associated with the acronym KERS which actually stores recaptured braking energy mechanically rather than in a battery. It has been developed by firms such as Torotrak, Flybrid, and Williams, and uses a compact flywheel, which feeds power back into the transmission either directly, or by driving a generator. Such a system is more efficient than battery stored energy, since either one or two conversion steps between kinetic and electrical energy are avoided. Nevertheless, aside from Williams Racing, the other top F1 teams (including Ferrari) went with battery-based KERS systems. This gave them more flexibility to change the weight distribution of the car for different tracks. In a road-going vehicle,a battery based system has other obvious advantages, such as longer-term storage of energy.
Reports suggest that Maserati, also part of the Fiat group, is hoping to make use of Ferrari's road-going hybrid technology in its own cars as it struggles to stay ahead of the curve on emissions standards. Since Ferrari is already a major parts supplier to Maserati, the two marques are perhaps the most similar within the Fiat umbrella, and Ferrari intends to aggressively expand its own production of its hybrid system, this seems like a logical development.