Porsche AG’s supervisory board has voted to move forward with production on the Porsche 918 Spyder, which first turned heads at March’s Geneva Auto Show. The plug-in hybrid supercar has a top speed of nearly 199 mph, can accelerate from 0 to 62 in just 3.2 seconds, and comes with an astounding $650,000 price tag. The high-end carmaker says that it has received 2,000 non-binding submissions of interest for the 918—more than twice the required level of interest for the board to vote on production of a new vehicle.
The Spyder’s two drivetrains provide a total of 718 hp, with 218 hp coming from a pair of 160kW electric motors and the other 500 coming from a 3.4 liter V8 engine. One motor will be mounted to each axis, with the V8 powering just the rear wheels. The electric drivetrain will provide about 16 miles of pure electric range when the vehicle’s fluid-cooled lithium ion battery is fully charged—similar to Toyota’s Prius plug-in hybrid.
Like the Prius, the Nissan LEAF and other more modestly priced plug-ins, the 918 will come with a dashboard computerized navigation system that tells drivers how far they can go on all-electric power and where the closest public charging station is.
Porsche says that the car will produce just 79g/km of emissions and get 78 miles to the gallon. (Of course, the method for calculating official fuel economy numbers for a plug-in hybrid remains a major point of contention within the industry and among regulators.) Since the 918 has four distinct modes—with each providing varying levels of performance and fuel economy—calculating its fuel efficiency is an even more complicated task. E-Drive Mode is the most efficient, with Race Hybrid Mode providing the gaudiest power numbers. In Race Hybrid Mode, the electric motors are used only for short bursts of additional passing power—meaning that fuel efficiency numbers plummet.
The Spyder isn’t the only hybrid that Porsche is preparing for release in the near future. The Cayenne S hybrid SUV will be released in the coming months, with Panamera S sedan following next year. Both will be equipped with V6 engines and nickel metal hydride batteries, with the Cayenne yielding 25 mpg and the Panamera nearly 28 mpg.