This has been an electrifying week for Porsche. The German automaker confirmed that it will build a production version of the stunning 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid concept study it displayed at the 2010 Geneva Auto Show and reiterated its plans to develop a variety of less-exotic but far-more-accessible all-electric sports cars in the not-too-distant future.
The 918 Spyder's announcement was hardly unexpected, as overwhelming response from potential customers to the ultra-performance mid-engine gas-electric two-seater made it an easy call. Michael Macht, president and chairman of the board of management of Porsche AG noted: "Production of the 918 Spyder in a limited series proves that we are taking the right approach with Porsche Intelligent Performance featuring the combination of supreme performance and efficient drivetrain concepts. We will develop the 918 Spyder in Weissach and assemble it in Zuffenhausen. This is also a very important commitment to Germany as a manufacturing base." No other details, including those regarding pricing (likely to start north of $650,000) and projected delivery times were mentioned.
Motivation for the 918 Spyder concept study came from a mid-mounted 3.4-liter/500-horsepower V8 engine and a pair of 109-horse electric motors, one at each axle that are fed by a Lithium-ion battery (Li-ion) battery pack. That matchup is expected to carry over to the series-build cars and let the 918 Spyder run 0-60 mph in less than 3.2 seconds and hit 218 mph.
In a separate statement, Macht updated Porsche's latest development efforts intended to help lay the groundwork for a variety of zero-emission all-electric sports cars. The first three electric vehicles, battery-powered Boxster models, are now being driven daily in the Stuttgart area to gather real-world knowledge on both new EV drive components and battery technology currently being developed by Porsche as well as to better understand various infrastructure issues. "We will definitely be offering electric sports cars in the future," said Macht. "But such a concept only makes sense if it offers performance and a cruising range comparable to that of a sports car today."