Toyota’s Prius will be facing some pretty fierce competition as both Porsche and BMW have introduced new sports cars at the Frankfurt Motor Show that are powerful but are also very fuel-efficient. Porsche's 918 Spyder hybrid, which costs $845,000, can make the sprint from zero to 100 kilometers (62 miles) per hour in 2.8 seconds.
According to European fuel-economy data, it offers the equivalent of about 3.9 liters/100km (72 mpg UK/60 mpg U.S.). This easily beats the basic Prius hybrid’s rating of 5.6 liters/100km (50 mpg UK/41 mpg U.S.). Also in Frankfurt, BMW unveiled the i8 -- a plug-in hybrid sports car that’s expected to go on sale in 2014. This supercar has a rating of 2.5 liters/100km (113mpg UK/94 mpg U.S.).
In comparison, the Prius plug-in offers 3 liters/100km (95 mpg UK/79 mpg U.S.). The other competitors in this segment of ultra-efficient supercars include Ferrari's 1 million euro ($1.32 million) LaFerrari and Mercedes' 416,500 euro SLS AMG Coupe Electric Drive. These supercars aid in meeting more stringent emissions regulations while maintaining their tremendous power and performance.
These automakers are focused on innovation, allowing them to dodge a six-year decline in the European car market while still being able to charge higher price and raise their profits. At the Frankfurt show, BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer talked about the “dawn of a new era,” citing their belief in bringing electromobility to the road. To fund the high cost of developing new technology, automakers like BMW, Mercedes and Audi are planning large-scale expansions of their high-performance units and build faster versions of their cars to increase sales and earnings.