Want a Porsche Plug-In Supercar? Better Hurry
By Chuck Squatriglia
Article Source: http://www.wired.com/autopia/2011/03/want-a-porsche-plug-in-supercar-better-hurry/
Photo Source: Porsche
If you’ve got more money than you could ever possibly spend and want the world’s coolest plug-in hybrid, get yourself to a Porsche dealer. The German automaker announced today that it is taking orders for the gorgeous 918 Spyder. You’d better hurry, though, because it’s strictly first-come, first-served, and production will be limited to just 918 copies.
We’ve long known Porsche planned to build the supercar, but the company made it official today when it opened the order book and set the price at 645,000 Euros ($845,000 here in the United States). You could outfit yourself with a fleet of 26 Nissan Leafs for that much, but then the Leaf won’t leave you grinning like a madman when you floor it.
That’s a lot of money, but then the 918 is a lot of car.
Porsche claims the gas-electric rocket will do zero to 100 km/hr in 3.2 seconds and top out at 199 mph. It also will get 78 mpg, but certainly not if you’re driving it like God and Ferdinand Porsche intend you to. Porsche expects the 918 Spyder to lap the famed Nürburgring Nordschleife track in less than 7.5 minutes. That would trump the mighty Carerra GT.
That sort of haste is achieved with a 500-horsepower V-8 based on the engine in the Spyder RS race car. Two electric motors — one at each end — provide another 218 ponies. The car can run on gasoline or electric power or a combination, depending upon circumstances.
Electricity is stored in a lithium-ion battery of undisclosed size. Porsche claims the 918 will tool along on electric power for up to 16 miles. The battery recharges in around three hours.
The Porsche 918 made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show last year. The response was so great that Porsche greenlighted the project in July. The company said today that production begins Sept. 18 (another 9/18), 2013. The first cars will roll into driveways in November 2013.
The 918 is one in a wave of absurdly powerful, absurdly expensive cars-with-cords the Europeans are cooking up to tout their engineering and green credentials. Mercedes-Benz fired the first shot with the AMG SLS E-Cell, a battery-electric version of the SLS Gullwing slated for 2013. More recently, BMW said it would build the i8, a plug-in hybrid with performance on par with the M6.
Clearly the 918 is a technology showcase and a halo to serve Porsche’s image. But the technology underpinning the car almost certainly will appear in more mainstream models. The company reportedly plans to offer a hybrid version of every model in its lineup. It already offers the Cayenne S Hybrid, and the Panamera S Hybrid arrives later this year.
Porsche also is bringing hybrid technology to the track with cars like the 911 GT3 R Hybrid and the 918 RSR racer.
Oh – and because anyone who orders a 918 won’t actually, you know, get it for two years, everyone who places an order gets the option to buy a 911 Turbo S “Edition 918 Spyder” in June. It’s essentially a 911 Turbo S with some 918-branded baubles.