Porsche Plugs In Its New 918 Spyder
It was inevitable that Porsche would give at least one of its cars a plug. Certainly it is the fashionable thing to do; and why get left behind other European, Asian and North American car makers also venturing down this road? Besides, electric car hobbyists have for nearly two decades now used the Porsche platform as one of their ideal conversion vehicles. It was only a matter of time before the company also figured this out.
From a performance standpoint, from a push-the-driver-back-into-the-seat acceleration experience created by mating a 500 hp V-8 engine and 218 hp electric motor, and just for the sheer pleasure to slipping quietly down aged German streets in stealthy electric-only mode, the Porsche 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid had to happen. And now it is.
Company managers have given the go-ahead to begin series production development of the two-place sports car, which will be able to operate in four different driving modes: electric-only E-Drive, Hybrid, Sport Hybrid, and Race Hybrid. Presumably each offering slightly more aggressive acceleration and utilization of the electric drive system. The car's 7-speed transmission can provide 0-100 km acceleration in 3.2 seconds, while delivering a pulse-quickening (or hair-raising) top speed of 198 mph. Electric driving range on its lithium ion battery pack is up to 25 km (16mi).
The 918 Spyder's E-Drive system consists of twin electric motors, one driving the front wheels with its own controller, the second integrated into the transmission. Porsche has not explained which or whether both e-motors operate when the car is in electric-only mode. We have to assume, for now, that the car is set up as charge-sustaining, something more akin to the Prius. Battery state-of-charge will probably be maintained by regenerative braking, the engine generator, as well as by recharging from the power grid.
While availability and pricing haven't yet been announced, we can expect distribution to initially be limited to Northern Europe and pricing out of most people's reach. Like the Tesla Roadster, this will be a rich man's toy produced in limited numbers. But it certainly makes a watershed for Porsche and the rest of the auto industry
918 Spyder 'Ghost'1. Power electronics
2. Electric drive
3. Lithium ion battery
4. 3.4L V8 engine
5. 7-speed transmission
6. Electric motor
7. Power electronics
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