Porsche 918 hybrid heading into production

July 29th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

It’s just be made official that Porsche put its radical 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid concept into limited production.

“Reflecting the overwhelming response from the public and customers to the Concept Study, the Supervisory Board gave Porsche’s Board of Management the mission to develop a production model based on the car already presented,” Porsche said in a statement just released.

The money men at Porsche calculated that in order for the car to be produced, the company needed a minimum of 1,000 orders. Reports in the beginning of  July stated that at least 2,000 individuals had placed non-binding expressions of interest for the supercar.

“Production of the 918 Spyder in a limited series proves that we are taking the right approach with Porsche Intelligent Performance featuring the combination of supreme performance and efficient drivetrain concepts,” said Michael Macht, President and Chairman of the Board of Management of Porsche AG.

“We will develop the 918 Spyder in Weissach and assemble it in Zuffenhausen. This is also a very important commitment to Germany as a manufacturing base.”

The concept version of the mid-engined two-seater 918 Spyder utilised a plug-in hybrid drivetrain comprising of a mid-mounted 500HP 3.4 litre V8 petrol engine, and electric motors located on the front and rear axles with a combined output of 218-horsepower.

The company claims that the hybrid supercar should return an impressive 3 litres/100km economy with CO2 emissions of just 79g/km. In terms of performance the 918 should reach 100km/h in just 3.2 seconds and continue on to a top speed of around 320km/h and will lap the Nurburgring faster than its predecessor, the Carrera GT.

Porsche hasn’t announced when it will introduce the production version of the 918 Spyder, which is rumored to carry a price tag of around $630,000 ($871,000 NZ).

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Porsche order book filling for new Cayenne

April 15th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

It’s no secret that the Porsche Cayenne has made some serious money for the German automaker with some reports saying that it’s saved the company during the economic downturn. That trend looks set to continue with the new version of the Cayenne beginning production in Porsche’s Leipzig plant in Germany. Porsche top man Michael Macht has recently indicated that orders for the new Cayenne are “clearly exceeding” expectations.

The news comes at an important time for Porsche, which reportedly saw its sales decline an alarming 40 percent in the first quarter of this year. The previous-generation Cayenne, which is Porsche’s best-selling vehicle, had seen its sales figures reduced by about 25 percent during the fiscal year. But that may have been caused by potential Cayenne owners waiting for the new model.

Porsche is bringing out the new Cayman with updated styling, improved performance and reduced emissions — including the automaker’s first-ever production hybrid model. The new Cayenne and Panamera sedan are seen by many as the right formula to put Porsche back into making positive sales figures.

Porsche CEO says no to hybrid sports cars

January 13th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

porsche image_homepage_hero

Go to any major city in the world and you’ll probably see a Porsche 911 roll by. It’s a far more common sight than seeing one tearing around farm country.

However Porsche CEO Michael Macht disagrees that his sports cars frequent urban areas. “They’re not driven in the city,” Macht said in a recent interview when discussing hybrid 987s and 997s. Of course, city driving is where hybrid powertrains develop greater fuel economy, which Macht agrees with before dismissing by saying, “It’s technically possible but it’s not part of the plan.”

Despite the speculation on hybrid 911s, Boxsters and Caymans, technology will be thrown at the sports cars to improve efficiency. “We want brake regeneration and stop-start for our sports cars, but not a hybrid,” explains Macht.

Just because there’s no hybrids other than the Cayenne doesn’t mean Porsche isn’t playing with the idea. “There are some efforts to make a pure electric supercar,” Macht notes, though such a vehicle would have to be capable of running as hard for as long as the petro-fueled Porsche cars. So no hybrids for Porsche… for now.

Can Porsche double its annual sales?

September 22nd, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Porsche Panamera Fq1

Porsche has never been a high volume automaker, and it probably never will be. But Porsche management feels it can go better than the disappointing 75,200 sales it had last year (ending July 2009), but the potential increase may be larger than many expect. Porsche CEO Michael Macht said in a recent interview that he believes Porsche could sell 150,000 vehicles per year, but sales won’t double on the backs of the current model range.

There are currently five vehicles in the Porsche lineup, with the four-door Panamera being the newest. Getting to 150,000 units would mean Porsche would have to create some all-new models. One way Porsche could increase volume is to finally build an entry-level sub-Boxster roadster that has been rumoured on several occasions over the past few years. The base model Porsche could bump sales by a considerable amount, but even more vehicles could be on the way.

One vehicle that Porsche is working hard on still has some time before it could affect production totals. Macht says the company is working an electrically-powered Porsche, but the automaker won’t release a battery-powered vehicle until it could recreate the sporty driving characteristics of Porsche’s petrol-powered vehicles.