Fuel efficiency is a big deal for small sports car manufacturers. Boutique automakers and sports car specialists like Porsche figure to have a particularly hard time meeting rising efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions regulations all around the world because they don't manufacture vehicles that play in more fuel-efficient segments of the market.
With that in mind, it doesn't come as a surprise that Porsche is keenly interested in hybrid technology. Starting with the 2011 Cayenne and following with a similar hybrid system for the Panamera, Porsche plans to roll out fuel-saving technology across its entire model range.
That transition won't be an easy one. Both the Cayenne and Panamera use a front-engine layout and automatic transmission with an electric motor sandwiched in between, and such a system wouldn't work on the company's mid- and rear-engined models.
That's where the upcoming 918 Spyder comes in. According to Porsche development chief Wolfgang Duerheimer, "We want to learn how we can electrify all our sports cars in the future with the help of this short production run" of the hybrid 918 Spyder. In fact, all of Porsche's models are slated to be hybridized, says Duerheimer.
Other efficiency-raising efforts will include a 10-percent reduction in weight, increased use of carbon fiber bodywork and possibly even the return of four-cylinder engines, likely with forced induction and direct injection.