The Geneva Auto Show is on this week, giving forth a bounty of automotive treats and even a few glances into the future. One of the most exciting cars we've seen from the show has been Porsche's 918 Spyder concept. Because it's a Porsche (yet neither a sedan nor SUV), it's beautiful on the outside.
What's inside is even more interesting. The 918 Spyder is really a "super hybrid" -- pushed by both a 500-horsepower V8 and a pair of electric motors. The electric motors are attached at each axle, giving the car an additional 218 hp. Porsche says that means the concept can hit 60 mph in just over 3 seconds. That is incredibly fast, Porsche or not. The fact that it's a "hybrid"? Well, that's even better considering all the weight it's pulling around.
The part about this that is so compelling isn't just the pure speed -- it's that Porsche claims the car is wildly efficient from a miles-per-gallon perspective, too. Porsche says the 918 Spyder hits 78 miles per gallon, burping out just 70 grams of CO2 per kilometer. It can go 16 miles on pure electric power alone.
The 918 Concept can operate in either electric mode or gasoline mode, or a blended mode of both, making it a parallel hybrid. This is the more efficient way to create a hybrid car ("series" hybrids aren't as efficient in terms of pure MPG savings). Porsche says there are four modes that the 918 Spyder can drive in, either dialing in more performance or more efficiency per the driver's request.
Concepts being concepts, this 918 isn't available for sale. The company is carefully watching how the consumers will react to performance cars with a green edge (Tesla already sells its 6-figure roadster, while Ferrari's hybrid sports car from this week's Geneva show will prove instructive for the German company, too). If you're really burning for a Porsche hybrid, you'll be able to buy one shortly: the Cayenne SUV will offer a hybrid model at the end of this year.