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When Porsche unveiled the 918 Spyder concept at the Geneva Auto Show last week, the automaker no doubt had hopes of a positive reception, leading to a potential production car. And that’s exactly what seems to have happened.
According to a report by AutoCar, Porsche boss Michael Macht says the company is committed to building the hybrid sports car. “There is no one inside Porsche who doesn’t want to build the 918,” he said. “The response has been marvellous.” He even went so far as to say that Porsche will look for letters of intent from prospective buyers.
Macht was enthusiastic about the car, commenting that this model proves high-performance cars like the Carrera GT are still possible in a world where fuel economy is a big concern. He did, however, say that such a vehicle would have to be profitable.
In concept form, the 918 Spyder is a plug-in hybrid that uses two electric motors, a lithium-ion battery pack and one of Porsche’s RS Spyder 3.4-liter V8 ALMS race car engines to produce a total of 718-hp. Porsche claims a 0-62 mph time of 3.2 seconds, a top speed of 198-mph and that the car can even lap Germany’s famous Nürburgring race track in under 7:30 – quicker than the Carrera GT. And at the same time, the Spyder can get as much as 78 mpg.
Porsche has equipped the car with four driving modes, ranging from the most efficient at saving fuel, to the most efficient at saving gas. A pure electric E-Drive mode delivers 16 miles of emissions free driving, while a Hybrid model operates like a traditional Prius-type two-mode hybrid. Next up is a Sport Hybrid setting, where the electric power is used more as a boost to assist the gasoline engine. Finally, a Race Hybrid mode delivers maximum gasoline and electric power, along with an added boost of electric power after hard braking (much like a Formula One KERS-equipped car).
If a production model is built, don’t expect it to arrive for at least five years.
GALLERY: Porsche 918 Spyder Concept
Porsche will not build hybrid versions of its sports cars says company CEO Michael Macht. Both the 911 and Boxster models are off-limits as far as the German sports car maker’s hybrid plans are concerned, although Porsche is pushing ahead with plans to launch a hybrid version of the Cayenne SUV.
According to Macht, Porsche doesn’t see the technology of batteries as being significantly advanced to live up to the automaker’s standards. He also commented that such systems added considerable weight, while stating that as Porsche sports cars aren’t used primarily for daily commuting in the city, the advantages of a hybrid setup would not fully be realized.
Macht did, however, say that Porsche is looking to hybrid-type advancements for its cars, including brake regeneration technology and a start-stop system.
Porsche’s new CEO has said that the German sports car maker is open to sharing the Panamera platform with other Volkswagen Group brands. He even went so far as to say that (gasp!) the iconic 911 platform could be used across brands.
Michael Macht, the new Porsche boss who was practically hand picked by Volkswagen to run the brand after the former CEO was ousted, has said that he would like Porsche to operate as an independent but cooperative pillar within the expanding VW Group umbrella. “Porsche needs to become a strong pillar of VW, as well as having its own production and research and development capabilities. It is important to use synergies as well as having independence,” he said in an interview with the U.K.’s AutoCar.
Ever since Porsche’s attempt to take over Volkswagen failed and VW turned the tables by buying Porsche, rumors of product sharing started popping up. Stoking those flames were reports that Volkswagen would cut the Panamera, leading some to speculate that the new vehicle would live on as an Audi, Bentley or Bugatti product. This, however, is the first we have heard about opening up the 911 platform for use by other automakers.
Macht did say that apart from the V6 engine that will find its way into an upcoming Panamera model, Porsche would not use any other VW powerplants.
Porsche is also rumored to be working on a smaller sports car that would fit in under the Boxster. Thought to be based on the VW BlueSport, Macht said that such a car would have to be “exclusive,” which could mean that if a Porsche does get the sports car platform, neither VW nor Audi would.
Porsche engineers are working “intensively” on an electric sports car that could be brought to market in as little as five years says company head Michael Macht.
The comments were made to German magazine Welt am Sonntag, just after the Frankfurt Auto Show, where fellow German automakers Audi and Mercedes-Benz displayed electric concept cars.
Macht did say, however, that current battery technology does not allow for a vehicle that meets Porsches standards, saying that an electric Porsche would have to have a reasonable driving distance, while offering the same handling characteristics of a gasoline engine.
Macht also commented that while five years is a possibility, it could take twice as long to actually bring the car to market.
Porsche CEO Wendelin Wiedeking is leaving his position at the helm of Germany’s most renowned sports car maker and he isn’t leaving voluntarily. Wiedeking was sacked by the Porsche’s executive board late yesterday so that the company could move forward with a “merger” with Germany’s largest automaker, Volkswagen. The now former CEO opposed the deal and so has been removed, along with the company’s chief financial officer Holger Haerter.
The reality is that the merger is anything but and that with Wiedeking gone Volkswagen will now look to add Porsche as one of its many brands (10 in total) that include such names as Bentley and Lamborghini.
Wiedeking has run Porsche for the past 16 years and can be credited for saving it with the introduction of the Cayenne SUV. In fact, he took it from the brink of bankruptcy to being the world’s most profitable automaker. For that he will be well rewarded with a $71 million severance.
Unfortunately Wiedeking’s ambition became his own downfall as he attempted a takeover of Volkswagen, a company 16 times Porsche’s size. The move might have worked too, were it not for the crumbling worldwide economy, which slowed the company’s cash flow and made the enormous amount of debt wracked up in the attempted VW takeover too much to bear.
Volkswagen has reportedly offered to buy Porsche outright but wants it to fix its finances first. That plan may already be in the works as Porsche has also announced it will raise $7 billion in equity from Qatar Holding LLC.
Volkswagen’s board of management will reportedly meet today to decide on further action.
Porsche’s executive position has fallen to production boss Michael Macht.