The world, as you probably know, has in recent years developed somewhat of an obsession with ‘going green’. Renewable energy sources, reducing packaging, but one of the most major breakthroughs in terms of being environmentally friendly must be the development of the hybrid car. A car that can happily switch between a roaring, gas guzzling petrol engine, and a silent (but deadly?) electric one.
Electric concept cars are all the rage now, many have tried their hand in this market, most notably Toyota with the Prius and Tesla with their prestigous Roadster. Now however, there is a new player. Porsche. Well known for their reasonably priced high performance sports cars and a spatter of other vehicles. Certainly, I would never have expected such a manufacturer to unveil not one, but three hybrids. But never fear, they still do the earth shattering speeds you may be used to.
The first two cars are the GT3 Hybrid and the Cayenne Turbo Hybrid, however these only touch the surface of what they have achieved in this latest unveiling for the highlight of the show is most definitely the Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid. Capable of speeds nigh on 200mph and reaching 62mph in just a mere 3.2 seconds. The ridiculously fast hybrid is no stranger to a corner either, smashing the time of the petrol Carrera GT around the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit in Germany, completing it in under 7 and a half minutes.
Within the beast lies 2 engines. The first is the petrol drinking, 500bhp, 3.8-liter V8. The second, a lithium-ion battery pack to drive the three electric motors. In hybrid mode the car intelligently makes use of the two and combines to produce some astonishing results. Take the Toyota Prius, a small low performance vehicle which is famous for its hybrid credentials. The Prius can do 72mpg whilst emitting 89g/km of CO2. Compare that to the much higher performance 918, which does a staggering 78mpg while kicking out just 70g/km.
Unfortunately though the technology is still yet to reach the stage at which you can drive the car astonishing distances without touching any petrol. Only 16 miles which is sufficient for the school run, but who will buy this for a school run? Although the in car stuff is pretty neat, with the heads up display glowing green or red depending on whether you are in eco or performance modes respectively.
It is good to see more high performance cars being announced which make use of the electric technology, as perhaps they are the most criticised of all cars by eco-enthusiasts. Let’s just hope that at some point in the future we see cars which can act as the majority of the current crop of vehicles do in that you can drive without having to plug yourself into the mains of your house. It’s impractical and something which many super car enthusiasts particularly will no doubt be not all that keen to enter in to.
Fortunately, Porsche share my doubts about the appeal of the vehicles, and as this is just a concept for now they are holding back on any sort of production until they get real feedback from potential consumers. I think it goes without saying that if these cars ever reach production stage, the cost will be probably too extortionate for any average folk to afford unfortunately. But in all honesty, the Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid concept car sounds great and it will be great looking at it as a passerby I’m sure. After all, it looks fantastic, let’s hope more hi-tech cars of the future look and work like this one!