VP of R&D; Admits Electric Engine Helps Porsche Game Environmental Laws


Image: Porsche 918 Spyder Press Release

When Porsche presented the 918 Spyder plug-in electric concept car, it got some leaded blood boiling. A sportscar that can do 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds but gets under 78 miles per gallon (3L/100km)? Brian Merchant deemed it a significant development, one which "will make waves far beyond the crowd concerned with fuel efficiency." And that is what we want, right? To pull everyone into the green life with style?

But now the truth is out, and uglier than the 918 Spyder is beautiful. Wolfgang Dürheimer, Executive Vice President of Research and Development at Porsche AG, chilled our blood with remarks that show just how uncommited the auto-maker is to an alternative energy automotive future. Germany's Spiegel Auto reports that Dürheimer admits Porsche sees hybrid motors as a technology for ensuring Porsche customers a carefree lifestyle. Carefree as in free from the cares of high taxes penalizing gas-guzzlers. Free from scathing judgments about their unsustainable choices. That would explain why the 918 Spyder can charge up only a 25 km (16 mile) range, which is the minimum standard set in regulations for electric cars in Europe. Or as Dürheimer puts it: "We read a regulation and build the car accordingly."

As it happens, a 25km range is just enough to pass the European fuel efficiency test -- thereby qualifying the Porsche 918 Spyder as a "3-liter car" (3L/100km or 78mpg), allowing Porsche customers to drive straight through the most favorable automotive regulation loopholes before shifting into their eight-cylinder 500 horse-power gas engine to get the signature performance that induces sportscar buffs to buy the cars.

Jokes have long abounded about how the energy efficiency ratings of automobiles do not represent their performance in reality. The official test protocols return results that look good on paper, but only a fool would pull up to the pump without a bit more in their wallet than the technical specifications would lead one to believe is needed. But when a Porsche supercar owner pays less eco-taxes than a Fiat Panda driver, the system has gone rotten.

More on Porsche and Electric Cars:
First Ever Plug-in Hybrid Electric Porsche Uveiled: 918 Spyder Gets 78 MPG
Porsche to "Definitely" Offer Electric Sports Cars, According to CEO
Pedal-Powered Porsche Turning Heads, Very Slowly
MIT Students Convert Porsche 914 to Electric
5 Eco-Cars Faster than the Porsche 911
8 Electric Concept Cars Shaking Up the Auto Industry Right Now

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