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Optimization for better emissions. The Ferrari HELE system

By Rigval on 08 Oct 2010

Attached Image: hele1.jpg

A supercar usually guzzles petrol and spits out carbon faster than you can say ‘Beebopaloola’. So can you make a supercar slightly more eco-friendly than what it usually is? According to Ferrari you can.

At the Paris Motor Show, Ferrari had presented its new HELE system to the world at large. HELE stands for ‘High Emotion Low Emissions’ or for us laymen without real knowledge of marketing talk, ‘The Usual and Expected Performance from a Ferrari but with Slightly Less Pollution’.

The HELE system allows Ferrari to nip some emissions in the bud by optimizing existing technology (engine, ECU, fueling systems, air intake etc) and also introducing new, previously unused technology (by Ferrari) and innovation which are designed to increase vehicle efficiency as well as engine efficiency.

HELE uses a stop/start system (for those traffic jams), intelligent engine fan and fuel pump controls, electronic air-conditioning compressor control and a slightly different gear shifting pattern that adopts to the driving style of an individual. This ‘fuzzy’ logic system allows for changes in driving style. It will recognize the need to select a ‘city’ map when light throttle inputs are given and engine speeds are low. It will adapt if there is more throttle pedal pressure and spirited driving is being done by the driver. The HELE system optimizes torque/power delivery at all times.

Going into detail, the cooling fan uses a brushless type of motor for efficiency and a fan speed controller. The people in Ferrari had also managed to redesign the cooling system so that it weighs 2kg less and reduces aerodynamic drag by 5% at high speeds. The Electric Fuel pump is constantly controlled by the ECU so that it works optimally and does not tax the alternator into charging unnecessarily all the time. The Air-conditioner works in tandem with the ECU also. Constant monitoring of the power needs enable the system to use less torque than needed for the compressor by up to 35%. It also magically cools down the cabin quicker than before. All of these monitoring of the fueling and air-conditioning allow the engine to gain back something to the tune of 25Nm on load. More power to play with is always good news.

The first Ferrari to reap benefit from this system is their entry level roadster, the Ferrari California. With the HELE system, the California’s emissions fall by almost 23% over an urban cycle drive and in a combined cycle, it falls from 270g/km from 299g/km. All of this from optimizing a car’s drivetrain and electrics instead of just slapping on another electric motor and batteries making the car heavier and disturbing the handling and balance of the car.

Quite an achievement. I cannot wait when Ferrari actually start combining all of this with the lightweight MilleChilli concept shown a couple of years back. A lightweight chassis as well as engine, electrics and drivetrain optimization would make a fantastic, traditional Ferrari without the added need for hybridization or can I say the corruption of a Ferrari.

Attached Image: hele2.jpg
Attached Image: hele1.jpg

Ferrari, Ferrari California and 3 more...

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Written by Rigval
Born in 1972. Married with a kid. Loves B-road drives and have driven cars from the 1950s to date.

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