Porsche Wants To Build The 918 Hybrid Supercar

By dancurranjr On March 11th, 2010

We, like just about everyone else in the automotive world, were blown away when Porsche took the wraps off the 918 Spyder hybrid supercar. The wizards in Stuttgart built the plug-in hybrid on the QT and kept it super-secret until rolling it out in Geneva, where it almost literally stopped the show.

Now it seems Porsche is actually going to build it.

According to England’s Autocar magazine, the Porsche are intent on building a production version of the 918 Spyder, and offering it for sale to anyone with deep enough pockets. The way Porsche sees it, going green(er) doesn’t have to mean sacrificing performance, which is why it stuffed the sexy all-wheel-drive roadster with a 500-horsepower V8 and two electric motors putting down a combined 281 horsepower.

“The 918 Spyder provides the answer to whether there can be high-performance cars in the future. Many have said they are finished. This car shows they are not,” Porsche boss Michael Macht told Autocar. “There is no one inside Porsche who doesn’t want to build the 918. The response has been marvelous; we will ask buyers to sign letters of intent.”

So you could say step right up and get in line now. If you think Porsche really will build the 918. We’re not suggesting it shouldn’t; we most definitely think it should and we’d be first in line for test drives (Feel free to call us, Mr. Macht). But we’ve been led down this path before. Every gearhead has. How often has an automaker dazzled us with a wonderful show car we’ve fallen madly in love with only to have our hopes dashed. The Lamborghini Estoque hybrid comes to mind.

Yet there’s the big man at Porsche himself saying the 918 will come to pass. So why are we reluctant to jump up and down in glee? Because of this quote from Autocar:

Insiders say the production 918 is likely to go on sale within five years. However, like all Porsches, it will need to make money, despite its ‘halo’ status within the firm’s range.

“It will need to make money.” That is the greatest get-out-of-jail-free card in the auto biz. Of course the 918 “will need to make money.” Have you seen Porsche’s books lately? Germany’s government has, and let’s just say that Porsche doesn’t have bushels of Euros to throw around at the moment.

Porsche is going to build the 918? We hope it’s true, but we’ll believe it when we see one in a dealership.


Ferrari To Produce Its First Hybrid

By dancurranjr On November 13th, 2009

2007_ferrari_599_gtb_fioranoFerrari will come out with its first hybrid system on the upcoming replacement for its 612 Scaglietti grand touring car. Britain’s Autocar magazine quoted unnamed Ferrari sources confirming that the Italian exotic car company is working on a hybrid system that will see electric power going to the front wheels, giving the car all-wheel-drive capability. The system reportedly won’t be available before 2014.

Although Ferrari has not officially confirmed the report on the magazine’s site, Ferrari CEO Amadeo Felisa confirmed at the most recent Frankfurt Auto show that the first Ferrari hybrid was “likely to be” a V12 model.

Spy shots have since appeared suggesting that the 612’s replacement will be the next all-new V12 car from the home of the Prancing Horse. The hybrid system would not be available at that car’s launch, but debut closer to the 2015 model year, said the latest report, released last week.

The current 612 offers a massive 5.7-litre V12 engine driving the rear wheels, but this hybrid system would focus more on improving handling and acceleration than fuel economy, according to the company insiders.

But Ferrari is nevertheless interested in reducing fuel consumption and lowering the emissions produced by its products, even though they and exotic car fans in general have long maintained that the limited numbers of these cars sold and the relatively low mileage they accumulate account for a tiny blip in the overall carbon footprint of the global auto industry.

Felisa confirmed that Ferrari’s new-for-2009 California hardtop convertible would receive a start-stop system in 2010, which automatically turns off the engine at red lights and restarts it instantly upon letting go of the brakes, which is the system that accounts for the majority of real world fuel savings in most gas-electric hybrid vehicles.

Ferrari is not the only Italian car maker going the planet-friendlier route, while still maintaining its focus on high horsepower performance. Lamborghini CEO Stephan Winkelmann also admitted in August that the Volkswagen-controlled company will launch a hybrid model by 2015, likely in the Gallardo, he suggested to a German auto trade journal in August. Winkelmann said Lamborghini was not planning to go the all-electric route, which Mercedes-Benz will pioneer among supercars with its upcoming SLS eDrive, and which Lambo’s sister company Audi has recently confirmed it will pursue with an all-electric version of its mid-engine R8.

SOURCE: Globe and Mail