Our 5 Favorite Alternative Energy Cars of 2013


918_Spyder
We don’t expect Porsche will be sending us this up-to $1 million car for a road test, and for that matter, we doubt you will buy one either, so what on earth are we thinking?

Truth be told, our odd-ball pick here was a toss-up between the McLaren P1 hybrid supercar, and while we’re at it, we might have given the nod to the La Ferrari hybrid.

These are all off-the-charts cars, and we are not deluded, nor do we fail to recognize they are gas guzzlers when used to their potential.

But, they create credibility for electrification like nothing else can in certain respects, not even the Tesla Model S.

The 918 turned a 6:57 lap at the Nürburgring Nordschleife (north loop) and as far as we know, that beats even the McLaren which boasted of a sub-7 minute run, but its maker conspicuously omitted the precise time.

A glossy poster of a Porsche 918 Spyder can now adorn a kid’s wall – that is, those kids who still care about cars – instead of a Lamborghini V12 that gets 8 mpg.

On the contrary, the plug-in Porsche in E-Power mode can cover approximately 18 miles on electric power alone, can still accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in seven seconds in E-mode and can reach 93 mph.

Or it could rip the lungs out of a Lambo.

The elite automakers of Europe are doing this new energetic engineering to meet regulations, but, Porsche tells us, the electric boost is now the fastest way they know to get down a road or around a track – and thus is a genuine pinnacle.

Trickle-down, if not right away, will only be a matter of time, and cars like this mean when you say “hybrid,” scoffers will not be so inclined to make snarky references to the lame cars they say they’d not be caught dead in.

For all the unrepentant hold-outs singing praises to wretched excess, loud-and-fast machines, and without care for economic and environmental realities, not to mention oil dependence and the un-sustainability of it all – Porsche has an answer.

The 918 Spyder merges the two worlds of super sensible and near-insanity all in one car. Starting at $845,000, it’s also priced a bit less than the other two seven figure hybrids, and its manufacturer has said it would hybridize its entire lineup, including mainstream-ish vehicles less than jet setters can afford.

And while it was a limited-production effort, only first generation, and priced out of most mortals’ reach, it lends hope to a future – for whom it may apply – that won’t require adrenaline to be replaced with estrogen, and fun forgotten in the name of strict austerity measures.