918 Spyder: No Compromise Showcase of Porsche’s Latest Technology

Porsche 918 Spyder photo by Axion23. License: CC BY 2.0.

The 918 Spyder hybrid Supercar is no longer in production. Like the majority of the best supercars, it was made in limited numbers. The last one has rolled off the production line, it is now only possible to purchase one of these on the second hand market – sellers will be hard to find and the price tag will be impressive. This was the first car made by the iconic Porsche brand to prove that a hybrid (petrol and electric powered), road going car, could be fast, stylish and better for the environment. Just 918 cars were made but the technology will live on in the Porsche supercars of the future.

Specs – what everyone should know about the 918 Spyder

The 918 Spyder hybrid is powered by a 4.6 litre V8 engine combined with two electric motors; one on each axle. It will do 0-60 in just two and a half seconds; fast enough to force you back into your seat and make you feel like you are about to blast into space. The car still holds the ring time at the Nurburgring for ‘fastest lap of a street legal car on production tyres’; potentially the most desirable record to be given to any supercar manufacturer. This is possible thanks to the combined engines producing a huge 887 horsepower.

The body of the 918 Spyder and its amazing design

The body of this impressive car is made from carbon fibre reinforced polymer; this ensures the vehicle is ultra light whilst retaining its rigidity and handling. The body is designed with the customary Porsche flair and is even available in Martini colors, a nod towards the Porsche Martini racing legend. It will certainly turn heads!

Porsche 918 Spyder photo by Ben. License: CC BY-SA 2.0.

Inside the vehicle

Porsche offers a refined, comfortable cabin, race seats with the 918 Spyder logo inscribed in them, are essential for support when driving hard and the level of controls are minimal. This is to avoid unnecessary distractions when driving. The majority of the functions are controlled by the just a few dials located in the centre by the large LCD screen. The centre console dominates the car, much like in the Carrera, although the aluminum paddles for gear changes remind you of the purpose of this car and its race car heritage.

The technology – advanced, sophisticated, pioneering

Aside from the dual electric motors the car benefits from adaptive rear axle steering. This is a computer controlled, automatic process. The rear wheels can be turned by just a few degrees to enable better cornering, the computer currently only adjusts the wheels at lower speeds as it may prove dangerous at higher speeds. As technology develops this may change. The car also uses a ‘top pipe’ exhaust system. This means that the exhaust exits the engine from the top; there are several reasons why Porsche designed the car this way:

  • Exiting at the top requires a shorter exhaust pipe; this means less weight and for it to take up less space in the car.
  • Back pressure is required for an engine to run efficiently, but it is easy to have too much of it. The shorter exhaust run automatically creates less back pressure.
  • By having the exhaust exit at the top it was possible for Porsche to ‘wrap’ the underneath of the car with a body tray. This drastically improves the aerodynamics of the car, improving both performance and grip.
  • Modern ‘green’ systems, such as kinetic energy recovery or regenerative braking or even the electric batteries do not like heat. The exhaust produces around 850 degrees in heat, putting this out the top reduces the amount of heat that the other components are exposed to.

Porsche 918 Spyder photo by David Villarreal Fernández. License: CC BY-SA 2.0.

Porsche 918 Spyder is a beautifully designed tribute to what can be achieved with both green technology and by re-designing a car from a blank canvas. It will surely be an iconic vehicle of the future that will leave everyone speechless. We love Porsche because it is such an innovative company; their products are always flawless, and they have great plans for future models too. We would love a 918 Spyder hybrid, although for now let’s just enjoy what we have, and that is a magnificent vehicle with lots of potential.

First photo by Axion23, License: CC BY 2.0. Second photo by Ben, License: CC BY-SA 2.0. Third photo by David Villarreal Fernández, License: CC BY-SA 2.0.

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Paul Tomaszewski is a science & tech writer as well as a programmer and entrepreneur. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of CosmoBC. He has a degree in computer science from John Abbott College, a bachelor's degree in technology from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, and completed some business and economics classes at Concordia University in Montreal. While in college he was the vice-president of the Astronomy Club. In his spare time he is an amateur astronomer and enjoys reading or watching science-fiction. You can follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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