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500-Horsepower Plug-In Porsche Makes Us Swoon | Autopia


My my my. The boys in Stuttgart have been mighty busy. It wasn’t enough that they built a super-sexy hybrid race car based on the 911 GT3 R. No, they had to build a plug-in hybrid supercar that might just displace the Audi e-tron as the object of our green car lust.

Porsche lifted the sheet on the 918 Spyder on the eve of the Geneva Motor Show and made some huge claims. A few things got our attention right off the bat — 500 horsepower, mid-engine V-8 and two electric motors. Oh … and 78.4 mpg.

We swoon.

As we said, Porsche’s making some big big claims with the 918 Spyder, saying it will do zero to 62 mph in 3.2 seconds, top out at 198 mph and lap the famed Nurburgring in 7.5 minutes, beating even the incredible Carrera GT. All that acceleration comes from the aforementioned V-8 and an electric motor at each end putting down a combined 218 horsepower. Porsche cites 500 horsepower for the car, and we’re guessing that includes the engine and motors combined. That engine, by the way, was pulled from the RS Spyder race-car parts bin and reworked for the 918.

Power from the engine and the rear motor hits the street through a seven-speed PDK gearbox. The front motor turns the front wheels through a fixed ratio. Juice for the motors is stored in a lithium-ion battery mounted behind the seats. No specs on the pack.

Porsche gave the car four modes. E-Drive is for tooling around under electricity alone, and you’ve got a range of 16 miles. Choose Hybrid Mode and you’re using gas and electricity as the circumstances dictate. Sport Hybrid mode tips the gas-electric equation in favor of performance, sending most of the power to the rear wheels and using torque vectoring to keep things under control. Flip the switch to Race Hybrid mode and everything is tuned to maximum performance. If the battery’s carrying enough juice, the motors provide a push-to-pass burst of energy at the touch of a button.

All the gadgetry sits in a carbon-composite monocoque, and Porsche made extensive use of magnesium and aluminum to keep things as light as possible –  3,285 pounds, which is impressive for a car hauling two electric motors, a battery and the related electronics.

People will either love the styling or hate it. We like the front three-quarter view, but the back end and wheels look better in the renderings than they do on the actual car. Whatever. Part of the point of a concept car is to get people talking, and this one definitely will.

A plug-in hybrid Porsche? A hybrid Ferrari? More electric Audis? An electric Mercedes AMG SLS? If this is the future of high-performance cars, we say bring it on.

Update: March 1, 2010, 6:25 p.m. This story was revised to incorporate more info from Porsche North America.

Photos: Porsche





I love the Germans -- they have great beer, eat pork, and designed the car of my dreams. I hope to someday marry a German -- you know, to show my appreciation.

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Up to Date

I haven't posted anything since the third of November!?


And what have I been doing?

Obviously neglecting my writing and sharing interesting things. Also, I've been learning a bit more about web programming and design. Anyway, I have this other blog over on Blogger that I've been neglecting -- as well as Tumblr, Live, and WordPress.com --, which I think I will continue to ignore and just post here. It's much easier to keep up with one outlet -- especially when it allows you to post to other sites -- than half-a-dozen.

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Making Use of Evernote

I know I haven't posted in quite a while -- damn writers block or, more to the point I just couldn't think of anything to write about. As a result, I've been teaching myself how to make my own web templates and some programming.

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How to Set Up a Blog

Now, I'm not one to give advice. Especially about blogging, since, if you're reading this you probably followed the link I tweeted out about a new post. However, I am one to share my opinions.

First off, I'm going to have to set this up for you. Because, you see, I use ScribeFire coupled with Zemanta when writing my posts. For those of you who are unfamiliar with these two programs, let me explain them to you. ScribeFire is a program that enables you to write notes, or post entries to your blog. It's an add-on for Firefox (I don't know if it works with IE, or not because, if you've read any of my posts you'll notice I use a popular Linux distro called Ubuntu, which, not being associated with Microsoft, will not work on my laptop).

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