How Porsche kept secret the 918 Spyder Concept

Article by Christian A., on August 29, 2010

The Porsche 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid concept made its world debut last week at the Geneva Motor Show. Dave Engelman, a Porsche spokesman, said that measures were taken to keep it quiet.

Bernd Harling, publicity chief for Porsche in the United States, even had to sign a nondisclosure waiver before viewing the 918. There's less likelihood for a privacy leak since the car has a very short development time.

The company only started planning it since last August. According to Porsche, there were meetings that included Wolfgang Durheimer, vice president of research and development, and Michael Macht, president of Porsche AG and chief executive of the executive board of management.

These talks were centered on what could be done immediately after the recent VW/Porsche merger to help Porsche remain Porsche.

This is how they came up with the 918 Spyder. Engelman said that it was tricky to keep this model a secret. Engelman also said that when cars have to be transported, it ups the chances that people will spot them.

918 Spyder has four drive modes -- An all-electric E-Power mode has 15.5 miles of range from a lithium-ion battery pack.

The Race-Hybrid mode develops 500hp V-8 gas engine and 218hp electric motor to enable the car to sprint from zero to 62 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds and reach a top speed of 198 miles an hour. An E-Boost button allows the driver to call on maximum electric power for racing and when passing.

The main idea encompassing the 918 Spyder is that the hybrid drive of the Porsche gives relentless dynamic performance. The exceptional all-wheel drive design with a combined electric motor drive system at the axle at the back and another electric motor at the axle at the front plus combustion engine make this possible. This concept comes from the development work of the Porsche's motorsport for the 911 GT3 R hybrid.

Porsche has added a separately controllable front-wheel drive that allows new driving methods to be utilized for super high but still safe speeds through curves in particular.

Another feature is the innovative “boost” strategy that controls the energy of the electric drive so smartly that the unlimited total power of the Spyder can be attained just by completely depressing the accelerator pedal for each speed burst at the highest acceleration. To put it concisely, the Porsche 918 Spyder allows drivers deprived of motorsport training to achieve the potential of advanced lateral and longitudinal dynamics.

Five modes for three motors, ranging from comfort to race-capable

The core concept of the 918 Spyder is the distribution of propulsive power through three power units, and everything is joined together and controlled by a smart management system. To gain maximum coverage offered by the systems offered, the developers at Porsche have set a total of five different operating modes, which can be triggered by a map switch installed in the steering wheel, almost like those found in race cars. Utilizing the pre-selected option, the 918 Spyder applies the most apt boost and operating strategy without any further interruption from drivers, therefore allowing them to fully focus on the road.

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