The plug-in hybrid Porsche 918 Spyder supposedly makes over 500 HP and returns 78 MPG thanks to a 3.4-liter V8 and three electric motors. We're guessing that's been figured the same way as the Chevy Volt's 230 MPG fuel economy.
Porsche also claims the Spyder can accelerate to 60 MPH in 3.2 seconds, max out at 198 MPH and beat the Carrera GT around the Nurburgring with a 7:30 lap. Although we're guessing it can do none of those things while returning 78 MPG.
Combined with the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid and the Ferrari 599 Hybrid, it's becoming clear that the era of oil-swilling supercars is drawing to a close and faux eco-friendly supercars are taking over. We're kind of ok with that. While we don't fell the need to lie to the world with a bunch of powertrain technology no one understands, if this means our hobby - driving fast - returns to social acceptability, then maybe this is a good thing.
The mid-mounted 3.4-liter V8 revs to 9,200 although Porsche's press material makes its output somewhat vague. We're not sure if that "more than 500 HP" figure includes the 218 HP generated by the batteries or is the gas engine alone.
A 7-speed PDK flappy paddle gearbox sends gas and some electric power to the rear wheels, while most of the electric power is directed to the fronts through a fixed ratio box.
The batteries are liquid-cooled lithium ion items positioned aft of the passenger compartment and forward of the engine. You can plug them in (likely accounting for the bullshit fuel economy figure) and they're also charged by regenerative braking.
The Spyder can operate in one of four driving modes:
The E-Drive mode is for running the car under electric power alone, with a range of up to 25 km or 16 miles. In the Hybrid mode, the 918 Spyder uses both the electric motors and the combustion engine as a function of driving conditions and requirements, offering a range from particularly fuel-efficient all the way to extra-powerful.
The Sport Hybrid mode uses both drive systems, but with the focus on performance. Most of the drive power goes to the rear wheels, with Torque Vectoring serving to additionally improve the car's driving dynamics.
In the Race Hybrid mode the drive systems are focused on pure performance with the highest standard of driving dynamics on the track, running at the limit to their power and dynamic output. With the battery sufficiently charged, a push-to-pass button feeds in additional electrical power (E-Boost), when overtaking or for even better performance.
Interestingly, it seems that the headline performance figures are only available with a fully charged battery, meaning that both performance and fuel economy will tail-off as you drive.
The whole shebang, complete with bateries, weighs just 3,285 Lbs. That's seriously light for something packing heavy batteries, Porsche makes use of carbon-reinforced plastic body panels and a magnesium and aluminum chassis in order to make that weight.