Image via Jalopnik
The biggest surprise from Volkswagen's preview show on the eve of the Geneva Auto show was without a doubt the new plug-in electric hybrid Porsche concept car. Called the 918 Sypder, the stunning ride can allegedly get 78 miles per gallon, can go 16 miles on electric charge alone, and can do 0-60 in 3.2 seconds. Seeing the car in person at its unveiling, I can tell you without doubt that it's gorgeous. All other stats are as Porsche has divulged them. And while Jalopnik roles its eyes (500 hp at 78 mpg?), it's the idea that I'm most interested in.
Porsche coming out with a bona fide plug-in electric will make waves far beyond the crowd concerned with fuel efficiency--and even if its stats aren't quite as hot as the press release touts, it's still a significant development. This is a pretty big leap for a well-entrenched performance car co.--perhaps it's a response to the Fiskers and Teslas that could soon be eating into Porsche's market share.
And the chairman of Porsche noted at the unveiling event that the company has never made a concept car that it didn't bring to production--hinting that the odds were likely that the Spyder 918 was more than just a stunt to get green car geeks drooling.
Autoblog Green already has the lowdown, and sums up the impressive car better than I could:
Looking a bit like a Carrera GT evolved, the 918 Spyder is powered by both a 500-horsepower V8 and a pair of electric motors (one for each axle) producing an additional 218 horsepower or 160kW. At full gallop, the concept can theoretically reach 62 miles per hour in 3.2 seconds and nip 198 mph on the high end. On the flip side, Porsche says it can also achieve 78 miles per gallon and emit just 70 grams of CO2 per kilometer.And yes, it needs to be reiterated that this parallel hybrid electric plug-in is still indeed a concept--but it's a concept that Porsche, and its new owners Volkswagen, seem intent on considering.
Note: I'll post more photos from the show as they become available.