The V12 engine may be on life support but Ferrari isn't pulling the plug.
We're definitely in a tight evolutionary period when it comes to powertrains. Burdensome emissions regulations are cementing general commitments to making cars have a less harmful impact on the world. It's a hard time to be a car enthusiast in that regard as we know the days of V10 and V12 engines are numbered, with supercar makers building hybrid and, now, all-electric powertrains.
Ferrari isn't prepared to give up its signature V12 engines yet though. A recent patent application shows Ferrari has come up with a solution to reduce emissions while maintaining performance of its V12s.
The design shows two different combustion methods for a fuel and air mixture. The method Ferrari appears to prefer is to heat the catalytic system quickly at start-up by supplying a small amount of fuel just before the spark plug ignites. Airflow can then be increased to create a hotter air/fuel mixture and "rapidly heat the catalytic system to bring it as quickly as possible to conditions of maximum efficiency. Using this technique at start-up, Ferrari says that "the emissions, particularly significant in this phase, can be reduced."
The key to the design is a pre-chamber that sits above the center of the main combustion chamber and a strategy called spark coupled injection that allows stabilization of the beginning of the combustion. Ferrari describes it as allowing "rapid combustion with low detonation risk."
Ferrari made it clear recently that the Italian supercar manufacturer has little interest in using a V12 in a hybrid drivetrain. "To get the full potential of a hybrid, we need to downsize the engine. With a V12, naturally aspirated car, we don't have that downsizing," said Ferrari's chief technical officer, Michael Leiters, back in March. It appears this is one way that Ferrari could keep the V12. Hopefully, Ferrari's development will allow us to keep seeing new supercars in the vein of the F12berlinetta and 812 Superfast in the future.