Porsche reveals 918 prototype
Porsche has revealed the fastest and most efficient prototype in its history — the 918 Spyder, a mid-engined, 700-plus horsepower sports car capable of 0-100 km/h in 3.2 seconds and yet, thanks to its hybrid technology, can achieve 3.0L/100km, Porsche said today.
Porsche is not saying whether it will build the car that made its appearance Monday ahead of the Geneva Motor Show, but there has only been one prototype that Porsche did not build, the odd-looking Panamericana that now sits in the Porsche Museum.
The 918 is capable of running the Nurburgring Nordschleife in just shy of 7 minutes and 30 seconds – faster even than Porsche’s last road-going supercar, the Carrera GT. The mid-engined, two seater 918 uses plug-in hybrid technology to charge electric motors capable of 218 horsepower that would assist a small, 3.4-litre, 500 horsepower V8 with a 9,200 rpm redline.
See the full press release below for full details.
GENEVA – March 1, 2010 — On the eve of the Geneva motor show, Porsche unveiled the latest of three hybrid models an ultra high-performance, mid-engined sports car with ultra-efficient, low-emission drive technology. Combining Porsche’s Intelligent Performance philosophy, motorsport-inspired high-tech and an immediately arresting design, the 918 Spyder prototype joins the new Cayenne S Hybrid and the 911 GT3 R Hybrid racing car on the Porsche stand at Geneva, reinforcing the company’s position as a genuine pioneer in hybrid technology.
The 918 Spyder combines high-tech racing features and electro-mobility to offer a fascinating range of qualities: fuel consumption of just 3.0 L/100 km and C02 emissions of just 70 g/km, with the performance of a supercar. Acceleration from a standstill to 100 km/h takes just 3.2 seconds, top speed is more than 320 km/h and a lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife takes less than 7 minutes and 30 seconds – faster even than Porsche’s last road-going supercar, the Carrera GT.
Using plug-in hybrid technology, the two-seat 918 Spyder is powered by a high-revving V8 that develops more than 500 bhp as well as electric motors on the front and rear axle with a total mechanical output of 218 bhp. The 9,200-rpm engine is a development of the highly successful 3.4-litre power unit from the RS Spyder racing car and is positioned in front of the rear axle, giving the car the ultimate balance for supreme performance on the racetrack. Power is transmitted to the wheels by a seven-speed Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) gearbox, which also feeds the power of the electric drive system to the rear axle. Electricity also drives the front wheels through a fixed transmission ratio.
The 918 Spyder’s energy reservoir is a fluid-cooled lithium-ion battery positioned behind the passenger cell. It can be charged by plugging it into the regular electrical network and is also recharged when the car’s kinetic energy is converted into electrical energy during braking. When needed, the battery provides additional energy for fast and dynamic acceleration.
A button on the steering wheel allows the driver to choose among four different running modes. E-Drive mode runs the car under electric power alone, with a range of up to 25 km. In Hybrid mode, the 918 Spyder uses both the electric motors and the combustion engine to offer the driver a wide range of characteristics, from particularly fuel-efficient to extra-powerful. Sport Hybrid mode uses both drive systems, but with the focus on performance: most of the drive power goes to the rear wheels, with torque vectoring to additionally improve the car’s driving dynamics. Finally, Race Hybrid mode focuses on pure performance, running both the gasoline and electric power sources to their limits of power and dynamic output. With the battery sufficiently charged, a push-to-pass button feeds in additional electrical power, for overtaking.
Like the drivetrain, the lightweight body of the 918 Spyder also features motorsport technology. A monocoque bodyshell made of carbon-fibre-reinforced plastic (CFP) and the use of magnesium and aluminum increase stiffness and reduce weight to less than 1,490 kg. The body design is reminiscent of legendary racing cars such as the Porsche 917 and the current Porsche RS Spyder and is a clearly structured design with perfectly balanced surfaces, innovative details and a powerful stance on the road. Variable aerodynamics are also typical of Porsche: the 918 Spyder features both an active rear spoiler and retractable air intakes with a ram air function.
The driver and passenger sit in a cockpit which offers an outlook at the interior architecture of future supercars. In Porsche’s driver-focused tradition, three free-standing circular dials for road speed, engine speed and energy management appear to come directly from a racing car in the ’60s, but the large touch-sensitive centre console reduces the number of visible controls. The steering wheel allows immediate control of the driving modes.
Offering a unique combination of extremely low fuel consumption, supreme performance and long electric range, the Porsche 918 Spyder represents an essential milestone in Porsche’s strategy on the way to genuine electro-mobility.
Photograph by: Porsche, handout