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Frankfurt Motor Show and Advanced Auto Tech Considered


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16. September 2013

The Porsche 918 Spyder ran the Nürburgring Nordschleife in an amazing six minutes, 57 seconds. The car was officially introduced last week at the Frankfurt Motor Show. In addition to its high-speed track prowess, the 918 Spyder is also said to provide “excellent everyday utility.” Of course, those who can afford the car, which will have a base MSRP of $845,000, probably have different definitions of “everyday utility” than the rest of us.

Porsche 918 Spyder 1

The 918 Spyder is a technological tour de force. For example, its entire load-bearing structure is produced with carbon fiber-reinforced polymer. The composite material is even used for the V8 engine cradle, oil tank, and air filter box. The engineers made sure that the drivetrain components and anything weight over 110 lb. were located low and central in the vehicle for superior balance and handling.

The engine is a 4.6-liter V8 that provides 608 hp, which translates into 133 hp/liter.

Oh, and it should be mentioned that the Porsche 918 Spyder is a parallel hybrid. The Honda Civic Hybrid is a parallel hybrid, too, which just goes to show how these systems can be scaled.

The 918 Spyder’s hybrid module has a 115-kW electric motor and a decoupler that provides connection to the engine. The electric motor can power the rear wheels, the engine can power the rear wheels, or a combination of the two can.

Porsche 918 Spyder 2

There is another electric motor on the front axle. This has an output of 95 kW.

The setup is such that there is independent all-wheel drive.

The battery pack for the electric motors consists of 313 lithium-ion battery cells, which store some 7 kW/h. The charge port is located on the passenger’s side B-pillar. The car can be charged by a typical 110-Volt outlet or with the optional Porsche Speed Charging Station, which can change the battery in 25 minutes.

All of this is to say that the Porsche 918 Spyder is a notable automobile, as is the BMW i8, which also had its premiere at the Frankfurt Show. (MSRP, including handling: $135,925.)

As Peter DeLorenzo of Autoextremist points out in last week’s “Autoline After Hours,” when companies like Porsche and BMW are going big into the electrification of vehicles, it is something that must be recognized as an inflection point. Sure, there have been years of hybrids like the aforementioned Civic and, of course, the Prius. But now it gets serious.

Todd Lassa, executive editor of Automobile Magazine, was just off the plane from Frankfurt when he joined DeLorenzo and me on the set of “Autoline.” Hybrids, design, pickup trucks, and a whole lot more are discussed by the trio, which you can see right here:

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