The Porsche 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid sports car made an impressive debut by setting the street-legal production car lap time record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife in Germany. This track is frequently used to establish speed records, and over a series of several runs with several drivers the fastest lap time recorded was six minutes 57 seconds, beating the previous record by over 14 seconds.
The 918 Spyder is a plug-in hybrid supercar with top flight no-compromise performance, as evidenced by the Nürburgring lap time record, but with the efficiency of a compact car.
It achieves this performance level by a combination of light-weight carbon-fiber body structures, a hybrid drive train with two electric motors coupled with a 4.6 liter eight cylinder 608 horsepower gasoline engine.
While it's built with a hybrid drive train, Porsche designed the 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid to be a no-compromise race car. In its most efficient driving mode the 918 Spyder can go for 18 miles of electric only driving with a 0-60 miles/hr time of 7 seconds and top speed over 90 miles/hr. That's pretty typical performance specs for a plug-in hybrid car, but flip the switch so the car is running in the Race Hybrid mode and it turns into a speed demon. In that mode the gas engine and electric motors work together, with the electric motors providing speed bursts. For even more power, there is a Hot Lap mode in which the gas engine and electric motors are running at full power with no attempt to avoid running the battery pack dry, if you want ultimate speed.
The drive train has an electric motor for the front axle, another electric motor for the rear axle, and the gas engine powers the rear axle. Porsche engineers have designed the 918 Spyder to deliver power as needed to each axle depending on driving conditions and ensuring great cornering behavior. Additionally both the front and rear wheels are independently steerable, with the car automatically using this to assist with high speed cornering and speed boosts in corners.
The Volkswagen Group, the parent of Porsche, has pledged they'll be making major inroads into electrified vehicles over the next several years. They see the 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid as a flagship vehicle, leading the way for future generations of sports car design. Performance doesn't have to be sacrificed to electrification, instead electrification can serve the performance goals while increasing fuel efficiency.
"The radical hybridization of the 918 Spyder from the very outset is what made this lap record possible," says Dr. Frank Walliser, head of the 918 Spyder project. "The lap time on the Nordschleife is and remains the toughest measure of a super sports car. Posting a time of 6.57 minutes, we achieved a result of which everyone in the development team and at Porsche as a whole is rightly proud."
Source: Electric Race News