No Substitute for Porsche Hybrids
Porsche continued its leadership role in luxury sport hybrids by recently unveiling its hybrid super sports-car, the Porsche 918 Spyder, at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show and Auto China in Bejing.
By giving this beautifully designed concept car the “green” light, Porsche will add the 918 Spyder to the Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid SUV as the luxury automaker moves toward a more environmentally responsible line of vehicles. The most likely model year for release of the 918 Spyder will be 2012 and pricing has not yet been announced. According to their website, Porsche also plans to add hybrid technology to the new Panamera sedan later this year and there is speculation that the company has plans to “field test” an electric Boxter.
Porsche plans to only manufacture around 1,000 of the 918 Spyders, based on demand. They applied a similar strategy with the company’s previous flagship model, the Carrera GT, when they used a 1,000 unit threshold for its exclusive market. According to Michael Macht, President and Chairman of the Board of Management of Porsche AG: “Production of the 918 Spyder in a limited series proves that we are taking the right approach with Porsche Intelligent Performance featuring the combination of supreme performance and efficient drivetrain concepts. “ He adds “We will develop the 918 Spyder in Weissach and assemble it in Zuffenhausen. This is also a very important commitment to Germany as a manufacturing base.”
918 Spyder Specs
The stunning body of the 918 Spyder consists of molded, lightweight carbon fiber, aluminum and magnesium materials. The high tech, ergonomically designed interior is trimmed in green, as are the brake calipers – a nod to the car’s energy-regeneration system, which feeds the battery pack behind the seats. The energy cells are also charged when the vehicle is coasting. The 918 Spyder’s combined 500-horsepower V-8 and twin electric motors produce 160 kilowatts, for a combined 718 horsepower. The 918 Spyder will have a top speed of 198 miles per hour and a zero-to-60 time of 3.2 seconds! It will also reportedly achieve 78 miles per gallon, an aggressive estimate that certainly relies heavily on minimal acceleration and maximum use of electricity.
The drivetrain on this sleek convertible can be run in one of four modes. The “Eco” mode, good for short commutes, relies entirely on electricity and the lithium-ion battery, for up to 16 miles. “Hybrid” mode uses both gasoline and electric power in varying combinations which is ideal for urban driving. The “Sport” mode moves the needle toward more performance driving, with most of the power going to the rear wheels. Finally, the “Race” mode provides for all-out performance but, alas, little efficiency. There is also a push-to-pass button that adds an E-boost to your driving experience.
Two-thirds of all Porsche sports cars ever built are still being driven today worldwide – their most visible contribution to protecting the environment. Porsche’s stated environmental goals are to lower fuel consumption, further reduce emission of pollutants and CO2, and incorporate even more recyclable materials into their vehicle designs. Porsche’s environmentally conscious initiatives in the U.S. also include their facilities. Porsche's Logistic complex in Ontario, California began employing solar power in 2009, saving 50,000 pounds of CO2 each year. Kudos to Porsche for showing that performance and the planet can co-exist in beautiful harmony.
By Brian J. Mellett