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Porsche’s first plug-in hybrid sports car: what do you think?

March 9, 2010

As concerned as I am with the environment, I love a fast car. Okay, so not just any fast car, but the Porshe.

Carrera, be still my heart.

So I am always intrigued when I see sports cars getting hybrid upgrades. . . I mean can I justify stomping on the accelerator for a joy ride if I know that some of that power is electric? Yeah, yeah, probably not.

photo by Jerry Garrett, via New York Times

The Porsche 918 Spyder, just revealed at the Geneva auto show as a concept car, has plug-in hybrid technology and is able to go 0 – 62mph in 3.2 seconds. WHOA. Its top speed is a dizzying 198mph. That should work for any adrenaline junkie. It has a 500-horsepower gas V-8 engine and two electric motors (for a total of 718 horsepower).

Porsche says that it should get around 78 miles per gallon. However, it is crucial to note that when it’s getting 78 mpg, it isn’t going 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds. In fact, it can only go 16 miles on solely electric charge but when it does, it’s only emitting 70 grams of CO2 per kilometer. And when it does achieve that acceleration and top speed . . . well, Porsche won’t disclose those miles per gallon figures.

So how does it achieve all these different feats? It has four different driving modes, which the NY Times reports as:

E-Drive Mode: This is an all-electric mode in which the gaudy fuel economy number is achieved. Range is mere 16 miles in this mode.

Hybrid Mode: Power is modulated between the gas engine and electric motors in some thrifty but largely unexplained manner. Performance numbers in this mode are not given.

Sport Hybrid Mode: Produces more power, but with Torque Vectoring, and power biased toward the rear wheels. Again, performance numbers in this mode are not given.

Race Hybrid Mode: Uses full power (needs fully charged battery to operate) with a short burst of E-Boost available for “power to pass.” This mode is where the wild power figures, of acceleration and top speed, are achieved. Fuel mileage in this mode, while not disclosed, must go in the toilet.

So, I guess the sad truth of the matter is that if you’re taking the 918 Spyder out to see what it can do, don’t expect the efficiency of a Prius. But hey, it’s a sports car, what did you expect?

I’m really curious what you think of hybrid sports cars? Audi has received a lot of “green” accolades, and others are in line to pair their lines of luxury vehicles with the latest efficiency technologies. Is this just greenwashing or the future of the sports car? Either way, the Porsche 918 Spyder is one sexy car.

image via flickr member prive international

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Ian permalink
    March 9, 2010 4:37 pm

    I love cars, especially fast ones. I too find my green dreams in direct conflict with my need for speed so I am always interested to hear about the “greening” of the sports car. I think cars like the Porsche that use Hybrid systems are mostly green washing but there are some real possibilities out there. One example I love is the Tesla Roadster (http://www.teslamotors.com/) which is a fully electric sports car with a range of over 100 miles. It of course begs the question of how sustainably produced is your electricity.

    Either way, thanks for sharing an example for how to be a green adrenalin junky

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