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Porsche's 918 Spyder hybrid on track for 2013 release, now with 770 bhp and 94 mpg


May 16, 2012

The latest images of the 918 Spyder

The latest images of the 918 Spyder

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Porsche's hybrid 918 Spyder is a 770 bhp supercar that can top 320 km/h (200 mph), accelerate to 100 km/h (62 mph) from standstill in under three seconds and lap the Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit in seven minutes 22 seconds. The largely-carbon-fiber 918 Spyder will hit showrooms before the end of 2013, with pricing beginning at around US$1 million. It's all standard fare for a supercar except for one small thing - its fuel consumption of 3.0 l/100 km (94 mpg).

Porsche's hybrid 918 Spyder first broke cover in 2010, creating a sensation with its combination of 500 bhp V8 plus three electric motors totaling 215 bhp for a total of 715 bhp.

At that time, the car was officially quoted as running 0-100 km/h in 3.2 seconds, having a top speed of 320 km/h (198 mph) and was reported to have done a lap of the Nordschleife Nurburgring circuit under 7:30 minutes. The images below are from the initial story 26 months ago.

The original Porsche 918 Spyder

The original 918 Spyder reportedly weighed less than 1,490 kg, emitted 70 gm/km of CO2 and had fuel consumption of three liters/100 kilometers (94 mpg).

The 918 Spyder as announced, came with “Range Manager”. The Range Manager uses the map in the navigation system to present the remaining range the car is able to cover, allowing the driver to influence that range through the choice of performance mode and how hard they plant their boot into the go-pedal. In cities with environmental alert areas, the Range Manager can calculate and monitor whether the car can reach its intended destination on electric power alone.

The 918 RSR Porsche

In January 2011, Porsche announced the 918 RSR at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The RSR spliced the drivetrain from the race-winning 911 GT3 R Hybrid into a roofed version of the original 918 Spyder for a vehicle that produced 767 bhp.

The 918 RSR

The 767 horses was a combination of a 563 bhp direct injection V8 engine and two 75 kW electric motors. The biggest difference to the normal battery-electric-hybrid system was the 36,000 rpm Williams Hybrid Power flywheel which sat next to the driver and accumulated energy harvested from braking.

This additional power was then delivered through the front wheel electric motors at the push of a button, giving the driver 150 kW of "on call" power boost for up to eight seconds duration.

The 918 RSR Porsche and the Williams Hybrid Power flywheel

The order books were officially opened for the 918 Spyder in March 2011 with an asking price of US$845,000 and the news that no more than 918 units of the new two-seater supercar would be produced, beginning in September 2013.

The latest images of the 918 Spyder

The latest update from Porsche, shown directly above, is all good news. Production scheduling for the 918 Spyder has not moved, and the latest incarnation of the 918 Spyder has more horsepower and drivability – not usually the direction things go for horsepower, looks and functionality when a car metamorphoses from concept to reality.

Indeed, it's fair to say that the 918 Spyder has evolved and is evolving to become a better vehicle than the original. It seems that Porsche is at least partially using the limited edition Spyder as a sort of technology demonstrator with the full carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) monocoque, fully adaptive aerodynamics, adaptive rear-axle steering and the upward-venting “top pipes” exhaust system.

The latest images of the 918 Spyder

Hence, if you can find a spot on the list and have the readies, it's likely to become a collectors car of some note if you wish to have an investment that isn't likely to bear fruit for a few decades, but will delight you daily in the meantime.

The supercar now has 770 bhp and will run past 320 km/h (200 mph), accelerate from 0-100 km/h in under three seconds and can lap the legendary Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit in seven minutes 22 seconds.

With their camouflage harking back to historical Porsche 917 racing cars, the prototypes s...

The 918 Spyder still has the same fuel consumption of 3.0 l/100 km (94 mpg) and 70 g/km of carbon dioxide emissions that were originally announced, but more horsepower, and no doubt, more drivability.

That is the sort of frugality one normally associates with a finely tuned, ultra light weight commuter car with an incredibly small petrol engine, it yet comes from a vehicle with more power than most race cars.

As a technology showcase, the  918 Spyder breaks further new ground with spectacular solut...

The 918 Spyder's new drive train comprises a mid-engined 4.6-liter V8 producing 570 bhp, and the additional 200 bhp is provided courtesy of the electric motors.

“What we are doing with the 918 Spyder is redefining driving fun, efficiency and performan...

There's not much doubt we're seeing the next model Porsche supercar being developed in these images, and one of the remarkable aspects of what has been released is that most of the technical information is not written so much as contained in the images that have been released by the German marque.

The images of the 918 Spyder without its skin offer some remarkable insights into the extr...

The images of the vehicle without its skin offer some remarkable insights into the extraordinary amount of development work that has gone into, and continues to go into the vehicle.

As a technology showcase, the  918 Spyder breaks further new ground with spectacular solut...

The initial prototypes of the production 918 Spyder were recently completed and began real world testing with the car still scheduled in showrooms prior to the end of 2013.

The images of the 918 Spyder without its skin offer some remarkable insights into the extr...

The prototypes feature color schemes inspired by the iconic Porsche 917 race car liveries of the late sixties and early seventies, as was the color scheme of the RSR shown in Detroit just 15 months ago.

The RSR's 'liquid metal chrome blue' color and number 22 paid tribute to the 1971 Le Mans ...

At that time the RSR was shown, Porsche had this to say on the relationship between the frighteningly fast 917s and the coming 918 RSR: "From the tradition established by classic Porsche long-distance race cars such as the 908 long-tale coupé (1969) and the 917 short-tail coupé (1971), the Porsche designers created a link to the postmodernism of the 'form follows function' philosophy."

The 1971 Le Mans 24 hour race was won by Dr. Helmut Marko and Gijs van Lennep in a Porsche...

"In the 918 RSR, the lines' elegant flow is dominated by muscular wheel arches, dynamic air intakes and a pulpit-like cockpit. A visible fan wheel between the ram air intake tubes and a rear spoiler with RS Spyder dimensions additionally emphasize the racing laboratory function."

Marko and van Lennep raced 5335.3km at an average 222.3 km/h (138 mph) to win in 1971 – a ...

The RSR's "liquid metal chrome blue" color and number 22 paid tribute to the 1971 Le Mans win by Dr. Helmut Marko and Gijs van Lennep in a Porsche 917 short-tail coupé. The pair raced 5335.313 kilometers (3315.21 miles) at an average speed of 222.304 km/h (138.13 mph) – a mark not bested until 2010. Marko is now one of the key advisors to another not-too-shabby racing team in the form of Red Bull Racing, and has been instrumental in nurturing Sebastien Vettel from junior to double F1 champion.

Though the RSR was a race car and development vehicle, the 918 Spyder is a supercar designed as the legitimate successor to the Carrera GT, and hence improving the Carrera GT’s performance was critical.

The latest images of the 918 Spyder

The Spyder's time of less than three seconds from zero to 100 km/h bests the Carrera GT by a full second (Carrera GT = 3.9 seconds) and a Nürburgring Nordschleife lap time of 7:22 minutes is a full ten seconds faster than the Carrera GT.

However, the uniqueness of the 918 Spyder is likely to be the drivability offered by the intelligent combination of three power units.

Harmonizing 770 bhp from three different power units is likely to be a strength of Porsche's thanks to its extensive race testing of the 911 GT3 R Hybrid, and the intelligent management system which choreographs the three units using five pre-selectable modes. This operating strategy is a core competency of the 918 Spyder.

It takes the best possible account of the different requirements between an efficiency-orientated driving profile on the one hand and maximum performance on the other. In order to make the best possible use of these different approaches, the Porsche developers defined a total of five operating modes that can be activated via a “map switch” in the steering wheel, just like in motor sports cars.

The latest images of the 918 Spyder

The following is taken directly from Porsche's press briefing document on the latest version of the Porsche 918 Spyder:

Quiet and elegant: “E-Power”

When the vehicle is started up, the “E-Power” mode is the default operating mode as long as the battery is sufficiently charged. In ideal conditions, the 918 Spyder can cover more than 25 kilometres on purely electric power. In this mode, the combustion engine is only used when needed: maximum engine power is available at a moment’s notice by means of the kick-down function. If the charge state of the battery falls below a set minimum value, the vehicle automatically switches to hybrid mode.

Efficient and comfortable: “hybrid”

In “hybrid” mode, the electric motors and combustion engine work together with the focus on maximum efficiency and minimum fuel consumption. The use of the individual drive components adapts depending on the current driving situation and the desired performance. The hybrid mode is typically used for moderate, consumption-orientated driving styles, e.g. in city traffic.

Sporty and dynamic: “Sport Hybrid”

In more dynamic situations, the 918 Spyder selects the “Sport Hybrid” mode for its motors. The combustion engine is now in constant operation and provides the main propulsive force. In addition, the electric motors provide support in the form of an electric boost when the driver demands higher output, or if there is scope to optimise the operating point of the combustion engine for greater efficiency. The focus of this mode is on performance and a sporty driving style.

For fast laps: “Race Hybrid”

“Race Hybrid” is the mode for the highest possible performance and especially sporty dri- ving style. The combustion engine is chiefly used under high load, and charges the battery when the driver is not utilising the maximum output. The electric motors provide additional support as necessary in the form of a boost when the driver requires even more power.

The electric motors are used up to the maximum power output limit in order to provide the best possible performance for the race track. In this mode, the battery charge state is not kept constant, but instead fluctuates across the entire charge range. In contrast to Sport Hybrid mode, the electric motors run at their maximum power output limits for a short time, thus ensuring better boosting. This increased output is balanced out by the combustion engine charging the battery more powerfully.

For pole position: “Hot Lap”

The “Hot Lap” button in the middle of the map switch releases the 918 Spyder’s last reserves and can only be activated in “Race Hybrid” mode. Similar to a qualification mode, this pushes the traction battery to its maximum power output limits for a few fast laps. This mode uses all of the available energy in the battery.

Main propulsion: the eight cylinder engine

The main source of propulsion is the 4.6-litre, eight cylinder engine delivering more than 570 hp of power, which was directly derived from the power unit in the successful RS Spyder and explains why it delivers engine speeds of up to 9,000 rpm. Like the RS Spyder’s racing engine, the 918 Spyder power unit features dry-sump lubrication with a separate oil tank and oil extraction. In order to save weight, the four extraction pumps are made of plastic.

Further extensive lightweight design measures resulted in, for example, titanium connec- ting rods, thin-wall, low-pressure casting on the crank case and the cylinder heads, a high- strength, light-weight steel crankshaft and the extremely thin-walled, alloy steel exhaust system. The result of the weight and performance optimisations is a power output per litre of approx. 125 hp/l, which is significantly higher than that of the Carrera GT (106 hp/l) and outstanding for a naturally aspirated engine.

Unique racing car construction heritage: Top Pipes

It isn’t just this engine’s performance but also the sound it makes that stokes the emotionality of the 918 Spyder. This is attributable first and foremost to the so-called top pipes: the tail- pipes terminate in the upper part of the rear end immediately above the engine. No other production vehicle exhibits this solution.

The top pipes’ greatest benefit are the extremely short distances, as the hot exhaust gases are evacuated by the shortest, direct route and the exhaust gas back pressure remains low. This design requires a new, thermodynamic air channelling concept: With the HSI engine, the hot side is located inside in the cylinder V, the intake tracts are outside. There’s a further benefit: the engine compartment remains cooler.

This is especially beneficial to the lithium-ion hybrid battery, as it provides optimum performance at temperatures between 20 and 40 degrees Celsius. As such, less energy needs to be used for active cooling of the battery.

In parallel in the drive line: hybrid module

The V8 engine is coupled to the hybrid module, the 918 Spyder being designed as a parallel hybrid like Porsche’s current hybrid models. Essentially, the hybrid module comprises a 90 kW electric motor and a decoupler acting as the connection with the combustion engine. As a result of the parallel hybrid configuration, the 918 Spyder can be powered at the rear axle both individually by the combustion engine or electric motor or via both drives jointly. As is typical for a Porsche super sports car, the power pack in the 918 Spyder has been placed in front of the rear axle, and does not have any direct mechanical connection to the front axle.

Upside down for low centre of gravity: Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK)

A seven-speed Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK) transmission takes care of power transmission to the rear axle. The high-performance transmission based on the PDK in the 911 Turbo has undergone a complete overhaul for the 918 Spyder and was further optimized for high performance. In order to ensure that the installation position and thus the centre of gravity of the entire vehicle were kept low, the gear unit was turned “on its head”, by rotating it 180 degrees about its longitudinal axis, in contrast to the mid-engine, two-seater Boxster, for example. If no propulsive power is required on the rear axle, the two motors can be decoupled by opening the decoupler and PDK clutches. This is what is behind the Porsche hybrid drive’s trademark “coasting” with the combustion engine switched off.

Independent all-wheel drive: front axle with electric motor

On the front axle there is another, independent electric motor with an output of approxi- mately 80 kW. The front electric drive unit drives the wheels via a fixed ratio. A decoupler ensures that the electric motor can be decoupled at high speeds to prevent the motor from over-revving. The drive torque is independently controlled for each axle. This makes for a very responsive all-wheel function, offering great potential for traction and driving dynamics.

Lithium-ion battery with plug-in charging system

The electric energy for the electric motors is stored by a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery comprising 312 individual cells with an energy content of approximately seven kilowatt hours. The battery of the 918 Spyder has a performance-orientated design in terms of both power charging and output in order to fulfil the performance requirements of the electric motor. The power capacity and the operating life of the lithium-ion traction battery are dependent on several factors, including thermal conditions. That is why the 918 Spyder’s battery is liquid-cooled by a dedicated cooling circuit.

To supply it with energy, Porsche developed a new system with a plug-in charging interface and multiplied recuperation potential. The plug-in interface in the B-column on the front passenger side enables the storage battery to be connected directly with the home mains supply and charged. The charging interface is standardized for the country of purchase. The charger is located close to the traction battery.

It converts the alternating current of the mains supply into direct current with a maximum charge output of 3.6 kW. For example, using the charging cable supplied with it, the battery can be charged within four hours from a ten ampere rated, fused power socket on the German 230 Volt mains supply. A compact charging station is also supplied as standard with the 918 Spyder. This can be installed permanently in the driver’s garage. It permits rapid and convenient charging within approximately two hours, irrespective of regional conditions.

Energy recuperation trebled: recuperation

In order to convert the kinetic energy of the vehicle into electric current when braking signi- ficantly more effectively than today, Porsche’s developers created a new generation of the recuperation system. A modern-day Porsche hybrid recovers braking energy up to a dece- leration of 0.15 g. That corresponds to a braking manoeuvre in which the driver applies approximately 1.5 kilograms of pedal force. The 918 Spyder can recover up to 0.5 g, equa- ting to eleven kilograms of pedal force – that is more than three times the amount of energy. The 918 Spyder can brake using both electric motors and thus recuperate energy for the traction battery. The super sports car features a ceramic braking system (PCCB) as standard.

Carbon fibre monocoque promotes lightweight design with low centre of gravity

Despite, or rather because of the heavy components in the electric motor, the 918 Spyder is a model of lightweight design. The load-bearing structure of its body comprises a mono- coque with a unit carrier, both of them made of carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP). This concept has a critical part to play in the curb weight of less than 1,700 kilograms, an outstandingly low value for a hybrid vehicle in this performance class. A system of adjustable aerodynamic elements ensures unique, fully adaptive aerodynamics that automatically re- concile optimal efficiency and maximum downforce.

The drivetrain components and all components weighing more than 50 kilograms are located as low down and as centrally as possible within the vehicle. The result is a slightly rear end biased axle load distribution of 57 per cent on the rear axle and 43 per cent on the front axle, combined with an extremely low center of gravity, ideal for driving dynamics. The central and low position of the traction battery directly behind the driver not only supports the concentration of masses and the lowering of the centre of gravity; it also provides the best temperature conditions for optimum battery functioning.

Chassis with racing car genes and rear-axle steering

The Porsche 918 Spyder’s multi-link chassis is inspired by racing car construction, comple- mented by additional systems such as the adaptive shock-absorber system PASM and rear-axle steering. Basically, this comprises an electro-mechanical adjustment system on each rear wheel. The adjustment is speed-sensitive and executes steering angles of a few degrees in each direction. The rear axle can therefore be steered in the same direction or the opposite direction to the front wheels. At low speeds, the system steers the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front wheels. This makes cornering even more direct, faster and more precise, and reduces the turning circle. At higher speeds, the system steers the rear wheels in the same direction as the front wheels. This minimises the “pushing” of the vehicle’s rear end when changing lanes quickly. The result is very secure and stable handling.

A new super sports car for a new decade

The 918 Spyder continues the super sports car line in Porsche history; as technology demonstrators, the driving force behind emotion and evolution alike and the ultimate sports cars of their decade: the Carrera GTS, the first Porsche Turbo, the 959, the 911 GT1, the Carrera GT. More than any of its predecessors, the 918 Spyder is providing a critical impetus to developing the technologies for future vehicle concepts. ENDS

918 Spyder specifications
About the Author
Mike Hanlon After Editing or Managing over 50 print publications primarily in the role of a Magazine Doctor, Mike embraced the internet full-time in 1995 and became a "start-up all-rounder" – quite a few start-ups later, he founded Gizmag in 2002. Now he can write again.   All articles by Mike Hanlon

Whoa !!! Must have !!!

Toyota will 'clone' this technology and we will soon see a Prius that can 'smoke' a liter super-bike and still get 100 mpg !!! The 'Super-capacitor,' an early version of the 'flux capacitor' of Back-to-the-Future fame.

16th May, 2012 @ 04:51 pm PDT

This is the type of fuel consumption that OUGHT to be declared the crap level with major improvements from here on.

Mr Stiffy
17th May, 2012 @ 02:06 am PDT

Arh, excuse me for not getting excited. $1,000,000 friggin dollars and it still laps the Nurburgring in the same time as a $70,000 Nissan GTR. Still hits 0-100 in 3 secs the same as a Nissan GTR. And when driven like that I bet it doesn't get anywhere near the claimed 3l/100km. Only gets that when driven by your granny so what's the point in buying it? Go buy a diesel VW and get the same mileage or better for your daily driver and then with the change buy any number of supercars and still have enough cash leftover for a large boat or yacht. Oh and let's not ask about the huge carbon footprint in building the thing in the first place.

17th May, 2012 @ 05:33 am PDT

Commonsense tells me I should agreed with Simon here, right on the money on that one!

17th May, 2012 @ 08:51 am PDT

I agree with the bottom comments-not the first.

I would not be expecting to see anything like this in the Prius pricing range anytime soon. Also, any good 1000cc sportbike with a decent rider will smoke this dollar-for-dollar because of power-to-weight ratio. This is a toy for the elite and a carrot for the masses.

Some cars have been getting 50-plus mpg for over 100 years...

why do most still get less than 30 in the City? Why has the absolute MPG Record increased from in-the-hundreds to in-the-thousands of MPG during the past 25 years yet the average consumer mpg has changed so little? Laziness&greed.

This is an amazingly complex creation and if everyone had one tomorrow... who'd be working on them?

We need breakthroughs in simplicity&efficiency not crazy complicated toys for the rich. The replacement cost for just the "normal" V8 engine is more than most people's cars, I'm sure.

Say what you want about  trickle-down technology but this is just a German version of the Tesla. Different approach, but still made from unobtainium.

Will the buyers at least get theirs on time? Probably so. Will everybody else be able to get anything close...anytime soon?

Probably not.

Sorry, but I've just watched too much pie-in-the-sky for the past 45 years.

If you want something that's actually do-able for those with the gumption to make it happen, look up

He has been producing plans and vehicles for decades that people across the world have built.

I say that if you want it done anytime soon, you're going to have to do it yourself.... or have a WHOLE LOT OF CASH to get anything like what's in this article.

17th May, 2012 @ 12:06 pm PDT

The Porsche 917 has probably one the best of all the super cars on the track! I got to see a few of them race 34 years ago.... It was something to see!, I observed a pair of 917K lay waste to all others on the track! It was painful to watch, it was like watching Mike Tyson & a child in the ring!, it all seemed unfair to the rest! Porsche had such an Engineering and Technological advantage to the rest of the field!, It was a race that gave me the goal of owning a Porsche 928GTS of which eventually came true, and still own with 760,000 original engine miles on it, it has proven to be one of the most reliable cars I have ever owned. I see others who advise to buy a Diesel VW?, until you experience the ownership of a Porsche you really can't qualify to advise anyone on it? for many a car is not just a transportation device, but much more than that otherwise we would all be riding bicycles ! ownership of any automobile is often an extension of ones personality because it is chosen by personal taste. Green people have an unusual way of thinking? sometimes in a fanatical way, and almost always trying to "Dictate" what they feel how others should think and feel about things? it's a sad culture that repeats of throughout human history, instead of earning philosophies and ideas that one might present as options? it is almost always imposed. just some perspective.... this is an article of a technology that will be implemented on many in the future!, often we need to take a few steps back and see the whole picture? "No?"

Sam Joy
17th May, 2012 @ 12:33 pm PDT

This is why i love porsche cos they not afraid to push the envelope all the way down the road. I would like to know what the fuel consumption was when it did the nurburgring. Its certainly a car for the future, i just cant shake the feeling it would go faster with just the v8 in it. Now if it did all that with a 1.4l motor then i would fork out a million bucks. If it could do 1500km on a single tank then id make space in my garage. This is like putting spectacles on a short sighted person without any lenses in it and telling them to fork out a million bucks. Nice frame but you still cant see, nice car but it still uses gas.

17th May, 2012 @ 01:28 pm PDT

Beautiful art and speed. Congratulations Porsche.

Dwight Troue
17th May, 2012 @ 05:16 pm PDT

Sam Joy, you really missed the point of my comment, completely and absolutely. Read it again. If you want wonderful mileage then buy it in the form of a sustainable, low cost unit such as the VW, don't waste $1,000,000 on this thing. Then with the change go buy a supercar be it Porsche, GTR or Tesla even and still have hundreds of thousands leftover. BTW I reject the insinuation that I have never owned a Porsche. I have, two in fact and they were real Porsches in the form of a 944 turbo and then the last real, real Porsche a 993. As far Green goes, I think you can guess that I am about as green as Exxon.

18th May, 2012 @ 06:08 am PDT

When will these polluters "get it"! Electric cars using batteries that are solar charged is what is needed, not another carbon monoxide spewer.

3rd June, 2012 @ 11:35 pm PDT
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