We have written about the incredible Porsche 918 hybrid before, with details here and here. Now, 918 Spyder prototypes have been spotted testing, looking a little like the old 917 race cars (see pix here).
The 918 will produce some 770 hp from a V8 and “two independent electric motors, one on the front and one in the drive line, acting on the rear wheels.” All this with decent fuel economy. Production is expected by the end of 2013, so you have time to save up the $850K it will cost.
The new Ferrari F70 is expected to replace the Enzo and may come to market around the same time as the 918, according to Automotive News. The F70 will probably cost more than the Porsche, but has some amazing technology, which we will illustrate below.
Why are these companies building such monster cars?
1. Because they can sell them (anywhere but in Italy, where taxes on such toys and the economy in general are killing sales). But in China and Asia and the Near East (and even the U.S.), Ferrari is doing swimmingly—first-quarter profits were up 13 percent this year.
2. Celebs and the very rich want the exclusivity and performance of the best, at any cost. There are a lot of these “.01-percenters” around.
3. The technology required by tightening emissions standards forces new solutions to get increased power output—with less carbon input and output.
4. These are super-halo cars and provide bragging rights that are worth a lot.
The F70’s powerplant derives from Ferrari’s HY-KERS system, which has been raced successfully, and uses a midengine layout. It uses two electric motors in an unusual configuration and a 6.4-liter V12 that produces 920 hp and should get from 0-62 mph in less than 2.5 seconds.
What interests me more is how Ferrari has achieved this.
It all appears very complex, and so it is. But these cars aren’t built for the street, actually. They are technological test-beds—and just maybe some of that complex tech can be made to work in future cars that some of us may someday buy.
I still think cutting-edge hybrid technology will pay off sooner and (eventually) for more people than pure battery-powered EVs. Unless, of course, we get some kind of breakthrough in battery technology fairly soon. For which I am not holding my breath.
Shelby’s Cobra performed that kind of payoff for a whole new class of cars, and I wonder whether hybrid technology—once it gets simplified and producible at a price—can do the same for more environmentally friendly cars.
Do you laugh at these hypercar hybrid beasts, or do you take their technology seriously?