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Leaked Ferrari patent outlines new turbo engine techby Drew Johnson
Is Ferrari working on a new forced induction system?
Ferrari has filed a patent with the European Patent Office that suggests the Italian automaker is working on a new type of engine technology.
The engine outlined in the patent is a four-cylinder, but it very well could be just one bank of a future V8 engine. Whatever the case, the new engine tech, which was unearthed by Autoguide, is essentially a new take on turbocharging.
Like a normal turbo engine, the one in the Ferrari engine patent has a turbine wheel embedded in the exhaust system, but it's not physically connected to a compressor like a typical turbocharger. Instead, it serves as a power source for an electric generator. Power from that generator can be used to either run an electric drive motor or spool up and electric turbocharger.
The obvious advantage of having such a setup is a reduction in turbo lag since everything is electrically powered rather than dependent on the engine's exhaust. But according to the patent, the secondary advantage of the turbine setup is that it allows for infinite exhaust note tuning. Unlike today's butterfly-valved exhaust system — which essentially operate in two modes, off and on — the patented engine's exhaust note can be fine tuned by the speed of the turbine. Ferrari could even use an electric device to slow the speed of the turbine to deliver the desired engine sound without neutering overall performance.
While clever, it remains to be seen if Ferrari has any plans to put the engine into regular production. It's also possible that Ferrari is developing the engine for another marque, such as Alfa Rome or Maserati. Will this new take on the turbo make it to fruition? Only time will tell.