The Porsche 918 Spyder, introduced at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, was the first plug-in hybrid from the German brand, built to deliver power with precision. The lightness and rigidity of a carbon fiber-reinforced plastic structure equates to a very low power-to-weight ratio. The 918’s power comes from three sources: a V8 engine with output of over 500 hp, and a permanently energized electric motor on the front and rear axles. The car’s hybrid capabilities allow it to be driven using a combustion engine or the electric motor at the rear. The drive control unit manages the distribution of power. Through the E Boost function these two can be combined to achieve an extreme speed of 198 mph.
Using the electric motor alone, the car can achieve a max speed of 93 mph in good conditions. A really neat aspect of the interaction of these motors is that the combustion engine can drive the electric motor, and this, in generator mode, will charge the lithium-ion battery. Also, when the car is in recovery mode, the kinetic energy the car loses during breaking and propulsion is not lost, but conserved and converted into electric energy. The result is that the 918 comes really close to bringing together two opposite poles: extreme driving performance and low fuel consumption. ■