Representatives from Porsche announced last week that a plug-in hybrid version of the 918 Spyder is available for online orders. This advanced version of the 918 Spyder will be produced starting September 2013 with initial deliveries by November 2013. Porsche cleverly limited production of this sports car to 918 units, turning a novelty into a must-have for the wealthy. The 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid will be sold for $845,000 in the United States and €915,000. By comparison, Porsche is preceding production of the plug-in hybrid with the 911 Turbo S Edition 918 Spyder priced from $246,000 and €184,456.
The 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid borrows design elements from the Carrera GT, the Porsche 917 and the RS Spyder. Design elements like removable roof panels and carbon composite bodies should help the 918 Spyder achieve better fuel economy. Engineers at Porsche combined a 368kW V8 engine with two electric motors producing 160kW. This drive system allows the 918 Spyder to achieve an estimated fuel economy of 78 MPG with 16 miles of all-electric range. Porsche noted in its press release that these estimates could be enhanced with minor tweaks prior to the 2013 release.
Performance estimates for the 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid should ease concerns by traditional Porsche owners. The maximum speed using fossil fuel is 199 miles per hour, more than enough power for the average Porsche driver. Porsche notes that the electric motors alone can power the 918 Spyder to a top speed of 94 miles per hour. This plug-in hybrid can hit 60 miles per hour from a dead stop in 3.2 seconds, demonstrating the vehicle’s exceptional power to skeptical consumers. Porsche knows that loyal customers want to see the brand remain roughly the same even as the company ventures into the green vehicle market.
The 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid not only pushes Porsche into greener pastures but shows that hybrids need not take a back seat to traditional models. Porsche noted that the 918 Spyder hybrid would be able to edge out the Carerra GT by two seconds when racing the Nuerburgring Nordschliefe. This distinction should keep Porsche owners on board for greener models though the price tag might discourage even the heartiest of early adopters. The mass adoption of green vehicles will not happen because of Porsche though the influence of research and development by other automakers is clearly influencing Porsche.