Porsche unveils the 918 Spyder

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 16, 2013

Porsche has finally unveiled the production version of the 918 Spyder, its latest supercar that combines the performances of a sports car with the fuel consumption of a hybrid. As expected, the 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder is powered by a 4.6-liter V8 engine delivering 608 hp, which is borrowed from the RS Spyder. Moreover, the 918 Spyder features an oik tank, air filter bo and air induction made of carbon fiber reinforced polymer.

What is really interesting is that the new Porsche supercar features top pipes, which are tailpipes that terminate in the upper part of the rear end, immediately above the engine. Due to the fact that exhaust gas is released via the shortest possible route, the exhaust gas back pressure remains low. The engine is coupled to the hybrid module, as the 918 Spyder is designed as a parallel hybrid, just like any other current hybrid model from Porsche.

The hybrid module consists of a 115 kW electric motor and a decoupler that serves as a connection with the combustion engine. This means that the 918 Spyder can be powered at the rear axle either individually by the combustion engine or electric motor but also by both drives jointly.

The engine is bolted to a seven-speed Doppelkupplung (PDK) transmission, which was completely redesigned for the 918 Spyder and optimized for high performance. On the front axle, there is another independent electric motor with an output of approximately 95 kW. The front electric drive unit drives the wheels at a fixed ratio.

A decoupler decouples the electric motor at high speeds to prevent the motor from over-revving. The electric energy is stored by a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery comprising 312 individual cells with an energy content of about seven kilowatt hours. To supply it with energy, Porsche developed a new system with a plug-in vehicle charge port and improved recuperation potential.

This vehicle charge port in the B-column on the front passenger side lets users connect the storage battery to a mains supply at home and charge it. According to the official press release, using the supplied Porsche Universal Charger (AC), the traction battery can be charged within four hours from a ten ampere rated, fused power socket on the German 230 Volt mains supply.

Porsche also offers the Charging Dock, which enables rapid and convenient charging within two hours. The Porsche Speed Charging Station (DC) is available as an optional extra. It can fully charge the high-voltage battery of the 918 Spyder in just 25 minutes. The interior features a multifunction steering wheel, combined with three large round instruments.

Moreover, there is an infotainment block housed in the lifted centre console. For those who want even more, Porsche offers the Weissach Package, which includes special colours and designs based on legendary Porsche race cars. The roof, rear wings, rear-view mirrors and frames of the windscreen are made of visible carbon.

Parts of the interior are upholstered with Alcantara instead of leather, and visible carbon replaces much of the aluminium. Sound insulation has been reduced. The emphasis on performance is not just visual: very lightweight magnesium wheels reduce unsprung masses; gross weight was reduced by about 35 kg. The multi-link chassis of the Porsche 918 Spyder is inspired by motorsport design, complemented by additional systems such as the PASM adaptive shock-absorber system and rear-axle steering. Porsche Active Aerodynamic (PAA) is also available.

For those who don’t know, this is a system of adjustable aerodynamic elements, ensures unique and variable aerodynamics; its layout is automatically varied over three modes ranging from optimal efficiency to maximum downforce and is tuned to the operating modes of the hybrid drive system.

The 918 Spyder offers five driving modes: Race Hybrid, E-Power, Hybrid, Sport Hybrid and Hot Lap modes. As expected, E-Power uses just the electric energy and the 918 Spyder can travel up to 30 km. Using just the battery, the 918 Spyder accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in less than 7 seconds and has a top speed of 150 km/h or 93 mph. When the battery charge state drops below a set minimum value, the vehicle automatically switches to hybrid mode.

In the Race Hybrid mode, the vehicle delivers maximum performance and an especially sporty driving style. In this mode, the combustion engine is chiefly used under high load, and charges the battery when the driver is not utilising its maximum output. In the Sport Hybrid mode, the combustion engine operates continuously and provides the main propulsive force.

In addition, the electric motors provide support in the form of electric boosting or when the operating point of the combustion engine can be optimized for greater efficiency. The Hot Lap mode, can be activated only in the Race Hybrid mode and as expected, this the traction battery to its maximum power output limits for a few fast laps. This mode uses all of the available energy in the battery.

With a total output of 887 hp, the Porsche 918 Spyder accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 2.8 seconds, to 200 km/h (124 mph) in 7.9 seconds and to 300 km/h (186 mph) in 23.0 seconds. Top speed is 211 mph or 340 km/h.

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