- the Porsche 918 Spyder Concept. A 718ps all wheel drive hybrid supercar.
Recently we have read or heard that Proton has come up with a hybrid/electric/something green prototype of a car that basically resembles a box on wheels. The designed by Italdesign-Giugiaro is supposedly an achievement in how a car should be packaged. It looks like either an elongated SMART Fortwo or a shortened Mercedes A-class. So the actual innovative thing is that the Proton concept EMAS is that its a environmentally friendly car made by a company that is a few decades old instead of one which is a hundred or so years old. A milestone for quite a young company I suppose.
- A Proton, but not as we know it
We then also found out recently that Ferrari has showcased its hybrid 599 Hy-KERS concept car. This green prancing horse has an electric motor giving a small boost in power but is negated by the extra weight it has to carry, due to the batteries. Like the KERS system in Formula 1, the system allows for brake energy regeneration. They say it will run fully on electricity at low speed , but imagine crawling through traffic in a silent Ferrari, or going to those hip and happening nightspots in total silence or going through a tunnel in a Ferrari that does not make any sort of noise. Of course Ferrari has stated that they will never, ever build a totally electric Ferrari so you still have that v8 or v12 for aural thrills. But you just somehow think that most car companies usually eat their words at one time or another. Especially when at one time I remember reading Luca De Montezemolo stating that Ferrari will not build more than 9,000 units per year. And now they're crossing 10,000.
- A Ferrari hybrid that is green, in colour
Now Porsche has joined the hybrid band wagon with the 918 Spyder Concept. A hybrid that can do 0-100km/h in 3.2seconds, do the Nurbergring in under 7minutes 30 seconds and only use 3liters of petrol every 100km if you're not doing a Banzai lap, that is. It has 718 combined PS of which two electric motors, one front and one rear make a total of 218ps. The supposedly extremely high 9,200rpm redline 500ps V8 driving the rear wheels is the baby which I like. In a nutshell, this is the Porsche Carrera GT in Four Wheel Drive hybrid form.
The Porsche is built on a modular monocoque bodyshell made of carbon reinforced plastic as well as magnesium and aluminum. The result is a pretty svelte 1,490kg, despite having to carry the hybrid system. The rear wheels are driven by the V8 and an electric motor through a 7-speed Porsche PDK DSG transmission, while the front axle’s electric motor drive the wheels via a fixed transmission ratio. These motors get their power from a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery mounted behind the passenger cell. Amazing that this isn't a porky car with all those motors and batteries. It isn't that heavy compared to the Carrera GT which weighs 1,380kg and only made 558bhp. 110 kg is definitely negated by the extra horses made by the electric motors.
- The older Carrera GT. In case some of you were wondering how it looks like
The car is supposed to work in four different modes. In Hybrid mode, the Porsche 918 uses both the electric motors and the V8 engine but shuts either off depending on the situation, like any ordinary hybrid. In Sport Hybrid mode the management system turns on both electric motors and V8 engine, with most of the drive power going to the rear wheels. There is also a torque vectoring mechanism to distribute power between the left and right wheels. In Race Hybrid mode, both power sources also work together, but there is a “push to pass” button that feeds in extra power for overtaking. Finally, the E-Drive mode allows the car to move on electric power only up to 25km/h.
All these cars were unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show. The hybrid movement seems to be picking up momentum nowadays. Whether we like it or not.