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Ferrari Takes PHEV To Another Level With The SF90 Stradale

Derived from lessons learned in Formula One (F1)while keeping an eye towards protecting the environment, Ferrari recently introduced the SF90 Stradale, the first series production plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) from Maranello. While an extreme super car on every level, the SF90 Stradale represents a true paradigm shift as it delivers unprecedented performance numbers for a production car.

The SF90 Stradale marks the 90th anniversary of Scuderia Ferrari and emphasizes the strong link between the company’s race cars and road cars. Its F154 turbocharged 90° 3990cc V8 engine delivers 780 cheval vapeur (769 horsepower) and 800 Newton-meters of torque, which is augmented with another 220cv (217hp) delivered by three electric motors with two on the front axle and one at the rear, known as the MGUK (Motor Generator Unit, Kinetic) due to its derivation from the F1 application, located between the engine and the new 8-speed dual-clutch transmission on the rear axle. A high performance Lithium-Ion battery provides power to all three motors.

Intoxicating Power Distribution

To fully utilize its total power output of 1,000cv (986hp), Ferrari engineers equipped the SF90 Stradale with all-wheel-drive (AWD) and a full-electric front axle with electronic cornering set-up regulator (RAC-e), which extends the concept of torque vectoring by providing electric drive to the front wheels and independently control the torque delivered to the two wheels. RAC-e is fully integrated into the Ferrari’s vehicle dynamics controls and governs the distribution of torque to make driving on the limit much simpler and easier.

A completely redesigned lightweight 8-speed dual-clutch transmission transfers the power from the V8 to the driveshaft. New gear ratios and improved transmission efficiency help reduce fuel consumption without compromising performance. New-generation actuation hydraulics shave clutch fills to allow quicker gearshifts within 200 milliseconds. In all-electric eDrive mode, the SF90 Stradale has a 25-kilometer driving range and 135 km/h top speed using just the front axle. Reverse can only be engaged in eDrive mode without using the V8. The front electric motors are integrated into the launch control system for maximum acceleration.

Exotic Chassis and Vehicle Dynamics

The chassis of the SF Stradale was engineered with a multi-material and multi-technology approach to absorb the extra stresses from the phenomenal power and the AWD system while keeping the weight down. Hollow castings, an all-carbon fiber bulkhead between the cabin and the engine, and two new aluminium alloys including a high-strength 7000 series alloy for the sheet metal are just some of the technologies employed by Ferrari engineers. The SF90 Stradale chassis offers 20% higher bending stiffness and 40% higher torsional rigidity than previous platforms without any increase in weight. Noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) characteristics have also been improved by using a new “quiet aluminium” alloy for the floor pan.

The aerodynamics department worked closely with Ferrari Design to meticulously sculpt the sports car’s form. One innovation is the patented Shut-off Gurney, a mobile wedge-shaped suspended wing that manages downforce through a sophisticated control system that checks speed, acceleration and driver inputs, hundreds of times a second to establish the most efficient configuration. Overall, the SF90 Stradale generates 390 kilograms of downforce at 250 km/h, and establishes the new benchmark for downforce and efficiency in high-performance road cars.

Simplified Complexity

With AWD, 1,000cv on tap, a weight-to-power ratio of 1.57kg/cv, 390kg of downforce at 250km/h, a Zero-to-100 km/h time of just 2.5 seconds, and 0-to-200km/h time of just 6.7 seconds, one would think that the SF90 Stradale will be quite complex to drive. However, Ferrari simplified the system to make driving more enjoyable. The driver simply has to select one of the four power unit modes and then just concentrate on driving. The sophisticated control logic takes care of the rest, managing the flow of power between the V8, the electric motors and the batteries, and the wheels.

An additional steering wheel-mounted selector, the eManettino, allows the driver to choose from four different power unit management modes. In eDrive mode, the V8 engine is off and drive is provided entirely by the electric front axle up to 25 kilometers, which is ideal for city driving. The Hybrid mode is the default setting when the car is turned on, in which the power flows between the V8 engine and electric motors are autonomously managed by the control logic to optimise the overall efficiency of the system. In Performance mode, the V8 is kept running to guarantee that power is instantly and fully available when required. The control logic prioritizes performance over battery charging in Qualify mode, where the SF90 Stradale achieves maximum power output by allowing the electric motors to work at their utmost potential.

A Ferrari First and Foremost

Inside the stylish and ergonomic cockpit, which has a smaller frontal section and is placed closer to the front of the car to reduce drag, Ferrari designers applied the track-derived “eyes on the road, hands on the wheel” philosophy with a Human-Machine Interface (HMI) and interior layout concept. The steering wheel features a touchpad and a series of haptic buttons to control virtually every aspect of the car using just the driver’s thumbs. The fully-digital central instrument cluster features the first automotive application of a 16-inch curved high-definition screen that can be fully configured and controlled using the steering wheel controls. The automatic gearbox controls are selected by a grille-style feature that mimics Ferrari’s legendary manual gear-shift gate while the ignition key with full keyless technology is personalized with the model’s name and becomes an integral part of the car’s interior styling when inserted into its slot.

The SF90 Stradale’s exterior styling was inspired to create a forward-looking, innovative design that transmits the car’s mission as an extreme sports car and Ferrari’s first production hybrid supercar. Ferrari Design has completely revisited the proportions of the front, central and rear panels in a radical evolution of their mid-engine berlinettas worthy of the Prancing Horse badge, fitting nicely in between the F8 Tributo and the LaFerrari.

Further Upgrading the Upgrade

For the first time on a Ferrari, clients can choose between the standard SF90 Stradale or the more sports-oriented Assetto Fiorano, which features significant upgrades, including special GT racing-derived Multimatic shock absorbers, lightweight carbon fiber door panels and under body, titanium springs and exhaust system, a high downforce carbon fiber rear spoiler, and softer compound Michelin Pilot Sport Cup2 tires. All this upgrades guarantees an unbeatable hybrid super car on the racing circuits.

Because of its super car credentials, the SF90 Stradale comes with Ferrari’s unparalleled quality standards and increasing focus on client service with the extended seven-year maintenance program. Available across the entire Ferrari range, the extended warranty program covers all regular maintenance for the first seven years of the car’s life to ensure that the car is kept at peak performance and safety over the years. The SF90 Stradale truly merges the company’s storied past and present to firmly point Ferrari towards the future.