Wednesday, May 23, 2012 13:30
If the idea of driving a hybrid conjures up images of creeping along snail-like in the slow lane while the real cars roar past you, prepare to have your preconceptions shattered by the Porsche 918 Spyder, a hybrid that’ll give you real charge.
The 918 is a plug-in hybrid that combines a high-performance engine––a 4.6-liter V8 that puts out 570 horsepower––with two electric motors, one on the front axle and one in the driveline, acting on the rear wheels, for a combined power figure of 770 horsepower. Top speed is a claimed 200 mph with all three units on the boil, or 90 mph on just the electric motors.
The 918 is underpinned by a double-wishbone front axle with an optional electro-pneumatic lift system; electro-mechanical power steering; and a multi-link rear axle with an adaptive electro-mechanical system for individual rear-wheel steering. It’s almost enough to make the carbon fiber-reinforced monocoque seem ho-hum.
Porsche engineers are trying to hit the ball out of the park with the 918 by combining high performance and low fuel consumption. Early tests of prototypes have done nothing to convince them they haven’t succeeded. The 918 Spyder is planned for production at the end of September 2013, with the first customer deliveries currently scheduled for the United States late in 2013.