Luxury, power and an environmental consciousness are not mutually exclusive – at least not anymore. Green supercars are on the rise as elite performance car manufacturers are under pressure to reduce CO2 emissions while maintaining or boosting performance.
The traditional red Ferrari brand is the latest to announce it will turn green. The Italian supercar maker will develop its first hybrid supercar: the F70. The new model will be equipped with two electric motors and a 12-cylinder gasoline engine to produce more horsepower than any previous Ferrari. Yet, while increasing its power fuel consumption, emissions will be cut by 40 percent. The F70 will be launched next year and will most likely sell for more than the 530,000 pounds of the limited-edition Enzo.
Jaguar is also joining the green wave that has been seen across elite performance car manufacturers. The British automaker is currently developing the world’s most expensive hybrid. In collaboration with William F1, Jaguar promises to deliver a supercar that will do zero to 60 in less than three seconds and reach top speeds of well over 200 mph – yet emit less than 99g/km CO2. The C-X75 will be an ultra-lightweight construction and be equipped with the Jaguar powertrain technology. The electric motor will provide a range of around 30 miles. The British supercar maker will only produce 250 of its green model which will sell for around 700,000 pounds.
Porsche is one step ahead of Jaguar and is already testing its hybrid supercar 918 Spyder. The model features a 4.6-litre V8 that is derived from the RS Spyder race car’s 3.4-litre unit plus two electric motors – one at the front axle and another one between the engine and the seven-speed PDK transmission. The motors provide the 918 Spyder with enough power to do zero to 60 in three seconds and reach a top speed of 200 mph. Yet it will only consume three litres per 100 km. The hybrid will go into production in September 2013 and be available for around 550,000 pounds. To ensure exclusivity, the German elite performance car manufacturer will only produce 918 cars.
Mercedes-Benz tops the numbers of electric motors in a supercar with the AMG E-Cell. The bright yellow electric model, that features unique gullwing doors, will be equipped with four electric motors – one close to each wheel. The Mercedes AMG E-Cell promises 525 hp and does zero to 60 mph in around 4 seconds, only 0.2 seconds slower than its petrol-fuelled brother SLS AMG. The supercar has an electric range of almost 100 miles. Mercedes-Benz hopes to go into production in 2013. The price isn’t known yet.
In 2009, Lamborghini announced it would produce a hybrid version of its Gallardo. The Italian elite car manufacturer has planned to reduce its CO2 emissions by 35 percent until 2015. Lamborghini doesn’t want to replace the traditional gasoline powerplant completely though. Instead it plans to install a small electric motor that would solely be used to get the car going at low speeds, after which either the V10 or V12 engine would kick in. Lamborghini also intends to make the Gallardo lighter and to equip it with an electric motor as well as a start-stop function. When the hybrid Gallardo will be launched isn’t known yet as the Italian car manufacturer has grown a little quiet around its green efforts.
There are some rumours that Bentley will also develop a plug-in hybrid SUV. It will most likely be based on the EXP 9F model that was presented earlier this year at the Geneva Motor Show and will be heavily based on the Volkswagen technology. The hybrid could be equipped with the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 and an electric motor. This would give the car an all-electric range of around 20 miles. More details are expected to be announced later this year.
But not all supercar manufacturers see their future in hybrid technology. Aston Martin has rejected the idea of a green model as the British brand sees itself as a producer of uncompromised luxury sports car and, according to the company’s CEO, the current state of hybrid technology is not up to standard. With this decision, Aston Martin might rule itself out of an emerging market, though. As more supercars become available and emission guidelines get tighter, the number of these hybrids on the streets is expected to increase. According to IHS Automotive, sales of green supercars will surge from less than 100 this year to more than 2,100 in 2015.