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Ferrari Develops Hydrogen Fuel Cell With Aerodynamic Properties For Emissions-Free Supercars

Maranello’s design for a hydrogen-fed electric vehicle saves space, lowers height, and improves aerodynamic efficiency,

Key Takeaways

  • Ferrari filed a patent for a new hydrogen fuel cell stack layout.
  • The design aims to optimize aerodynamics and maintain a mid-engine sports car’s driving dynamics.
  • Ferrari is exploring various technologies, including in-wheel hub motors and hydrogen combustion engines.

Ferrari has filed a new patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, CarBuzz has discovered, in which the Italian automaker details designs for a new hydrogen fuel cell stack layout. There’s nothing particularly new about the technology, but what is noteworthy is the shape of Ferrari’s suggested fuel cell stack. Placed in the same area as a combustion engine would go in something like the F8 Tributo, the fuel cell stack would help maintain the same sort of driving dynamics that customers have come to expect from mid-engine Ferrari sports cars, keeping the center of gravity concentrated around the middle of the chassis and toward the bottom of the car.

Aerodynamic Optimization A Priority

The Ferrari patent notes that this cell stack and its supporting structures would be shaped in such a way as to enable plenty of space above and below, thus keeping the height of the vehicle down and creating opportunities for improved aerodynamic efficiency. The aerodynamic benefit would come from angling the cell stack upward and away from the middle of the car, thereby enabling the use of the cell stack’s base as an aero device.

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Like a recent patent for an aerodynamic Ferrari active exhaust, an upward ramp beneath the car can help evacuate fast-moving air, and if this ramped shape is created by an existing component, such as the exhaust or fuel cell stack, Ferrari can save weight and reduce expense without compromising on performance.

Several Ideas Under Consideration

The design of this new stack is intended to save space, so it makes sense to take that goal further with the use of in-wheel hub motors, something that CarBuzz learned Ferrari is working on in another patent from late last year. These motors could also work with a battery-electric vehicle, and another patent reveals that Ferrari would place the battery pack in a similar position to the abovementioned fuel cell stack. Other patents have revealed that the automaker is also exploring hydrogen combustion engines, so there’s no single avenue to which Ferrari is committed. At present, Ferrari can keep its V12 turbo-free, and it can keep that V12 around for years to come, so we doubt that this patent will find its way to production anytime soon, but when the future does eventually come knocking, Maranello must be ready.

Related

Ferrari’s Electric Supercars Will Retain Mid-Engine Feel

A new patent shows clever packaging.

Patent filings do not guarantee the use of such technology in future vehicles and are often used exclusively as a means of protecting intellectual property. Such a filing cannot be construed as production intent.

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