June 23, 2015 – Last week, the chequered flag marked the finish: after 21 months of production time, the final Porsche 918 Spyder came off the line in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen as scheduled. But the legacy of this technology pioneer will last far beyond its production time. Future generations of sports cars will benefit directly from innovations of the 918 Spyder.

The 918 Spyder was systematically developed to be a performance hybrid with plug-in technology. When launched to the market in late 2013, the 918 Spyder represented a continuation of a series of super sports cars in Porsche’s history. As technology pioneers they were among the ultimate sports cars of their respective decades: the 904 Carrera GTS, the 959, the 911 GT1 and the Carrera GT. In 1963, for example, Porsche created a steel and polymer body for the 904 Carrera GTS that was a prime example of how to unite stability and lightweight design. In 1986, the 959 successfully introduced an electronically-controlled all-wheel drive system to the sports car world. Ten years later, the 911 GT1 paved the way for implementing carbon-fibre technology in production vehicles. In 2003, the Carrera GT made its debut as the first production vehicle whose monocoque and sub-frame were made entirely of carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP).

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Even more than any of its predecessors, the 918 Spyder is now providing strong impetus for the advanced development of sports cars of the future. Its key technology differentiator is a drive concept which combines a high-performance combustion engine with two electric motors, ranging from an efficiency-oriented driving profile to maximum performance. To maximise the spread between power and fuel consumption, Porsche developers defined a total of five operating modes, activated by a “map switch” on the steering wheel. The brand applied its leading expertise in preparing the characteristic maps and the algorithm stored in them, resulting in the control of three drive units and other systems. This know-how will also be applied to future hybrid drives.

The car also creates an important foundation for the hybrid drive of tomorrow in its thermal management concept that features five separate cooling loops and the innovative hybrid cooling of the rear electric motor with air and water. Due to its intelligent control of generator functionality and conventional brakes, the Porsche 918 Spyder can convert far more kinetic energy into electrical energy than other hybrid vehicles A similar form of this recovery system is implemented in the LMP1 prototypes of the 919 Hybrid which Porsche raced to an impressive 1-2 victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

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The 918 technology platform also blazed new trails with spectacular solutions like the all-carbon body, fully variable aerodynamics and adaptive rear axle steering. Adaptive aerodynamics and rear axle steering have already made their way into production sports cars, such as in the 911 Turbo models and in the 911 GT3 and 911 GT3 RS.

The 918 Spyder embodies classic Porsche virtues and sets cornerstones for the future. In September 2013, the super sports car – with 887 hp of system power – set the unrivalled lap record for street-legal vehicles with production tyres on the North Loop of the Nürburgring with a time of 6 minutes 57 seconds. With a fuel consumption of around three litres of petrol per 100 km, the 918 Spyder consumes less fuel than most small cars in the standardised NEDC cycle. It convincingly illustrates the potential of plug-in hybrid technology for the typical sports car driving pleasure.