Press Releases
  • Register

Porsche 918 Spyder

porsche918360x239


A unique combination of performance and efficiency


The 918 Spyder embodies the essence of the Porsche idea: it combines pedigree
motor racing technology with excellent everyday utility, and maximum performance
with minimum consumption. The task faced by the development team was to create
the super sports car for the next decade with a highly efficient and powerful hybrid
drive. Developing the car from scratch, appropriately beginning with a sheet of
white paper, allowed the team to come up with a no-compromise concept. The
entire car was designed around the hybrid drive. The 918 Spyder therefore
demonstrates the potential of the hybrid drive to a degree never seen before: the
parallel improvement of both efficiency and performance without one being at the
cost of the other. This is the idea that has made the Porsche 911 the most
successful sports car in the world for 50 years. In short, the 918 Spyder will act as
the gene pool for the Porsche sports cars of the future.


The 918 Spyder reveals its close links to motorsport in a variety of ways. It has
been designed, developed and produced by Porsche engineers who build race cars,
in cooperation with series production specialists. A great deal of insight gained
from the development of Porsche race cars for the 24 hours race in Le Mans in
2014 is thus integrated into the 918 Spyder – and vice versa. The structural
concept of the 918 Spyder with a rolling chassis as its basis – a basic vehicle that
can be driven even without a body – is race car tradition at Porsche. The concept
of the V8 engine originates from the LMP2 RS Spyder race car. The load-bearing
structures, the monocoque and subframe, are made of carbon fiber reinforced
polymer. Porsche has many years of experience with this high-strength, lightweight
construction material and has again achieved top results with the development of
the series production 918 Spyder. Many parts of the super sports car come from
manufacturers who have a proven record as suppliers for motorsport vehicles.
Hybrid drive brings advantages in terms of driving dynamics


A key message of the 918 Spyder is that the hybrid drive from Porsche is a plus for
no-compromise driving dynamics. Drivers can experience this thanks to the unique
all-wheel drive concept with a combination of combustion engine and electric motor
on the rear axle and the second electric motor on the front axle. It is based on
knowledge gained by Porsche during motor races with the successful 911 GT3 R
Hybrid. Due to the additional, individually controllable front drive, new driving
strategies for extremely high, safe cornering speeds can be implemented,
especially for bends. Furthermore, the advanced “boost" strategy manages the
energy of the electric drive so intelligently that, for every sprint with maximum
acceleration, the full power of the 918 Spyder can be tapped into by simply
pressing the accelerator down fully. In short, the 918 Spyder allows even drivers
without motorsport training to experience the potential of advanced longitudinal and
transverse dynamics.


The Porsche 918 Spyder also has the potential to break many records. The current
lap time for the North Loop of the Nürburgring is 6:57 minutes. This shaved 14
seconds off the previous Nürburgring record for a street-legal automobile, and 17
seconds from its run last September. The 918 Spyder prototype was therefore
approximately 37 seconds quicker than the Porsche Carrera GT. An even more
important factor is that the 918 Spyder surpasses previous models and
competitors by far in its efficiency as well. As a plug-in hybrid vehicle, it
systematically combines the dynamic performance of a racing machine with low fuel
consumption. To sum it up: maximum driving fun with minimal fuel consumption.
Carbon monocoque guarantees lightweight design with a low center of gravity
The 918 Spyder utilizes the best state-of-the-art technologies, taken straight from
motor racing, to achieve its top performance. The entire load-bearing structure is
made of carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) for extreme torsional rigidity.
Additional aluminum crash elements at the front and rear absorb and reduce the
energy of a collision. The car’s unladen weight of approximately 3,692 lbs. (3,602
lbs. with “Weissach" package), an excellent low weight for a hybrid vehicle of this
performance class, is largely attributable to this concept.


The drivetrain components and all components weighing over 110 lbs. are located
as low and as centrally as possible within the vehicle. This results in a slightly rear
end biased axle load distribution of 57 percent on the rear axle and 43 percent on
the front axle, combined with an extremely low center of gravity at approximately
the height of the wheel hubs, which is ideal for driving dynamics. The central and
low position of the hybrid battery directly behind the driver not only supports efforts
to concentrate masses and lower the center of gravity; it also provides the best
temperature conditions for optimum battery power capacity.

 

 


Chassis with race car genes and rear-axle steering


The multi-link chassis of the Porsche 918 Spyder is inspired by motorsport design,
complemented by additional systems such as the PASM adaptive shock-absorber
system and rear-axle steering. Basically, this incorporates an electro-mechanical
adjustment system at each rear wheel. The adjustment is speed-sensitive and
executes steering angles of up to three degrees in each direction. The rear axle
can therefore be steered in the same direction as the front wheels or in opposition
to them. At low speeds, the system steers the rear wheels in a direction opposite
to that of the front wheels. This makes cornering even more direct, faster and more
precise, and it reduces the turning circle. At higher speeds, the system steers the
rear wheels in the same direction as the front wheels. This significantly improves
the stability of the rear end when changing lanes quickly. The result is very secure
and stable handling.


Porsche Active Aerodynamic (PAA) for different driving modes


Porsche Active Aerodynamic (PAA), a system of adjustable aerodynamic elements,
ensures unique and variable aerodynamics; its layout is automatically varied over
three modes ranging from optimal efficiency to maximum downforce and is tuned to
the operating modes of the hybrid drive system. In “Race" mode, the retractable
rear wing is set to a steep angle to generate high downforce at the rear axle. The
spoiler positioned between the two wing supports near the trailing edge of the
airflow also extends. In addition, two adjustable air diffusers are opened in the
underfloor in front of the front axle, and they direct a portion of the air into the
diffuser channels of the underbody structure. This also produces a “ground effect"
at the front axle.


In “Sport" mode, the aerodynamic control system reduces the attack angle of the
rear wing slightly, which enables a higher top speed. The spoiler remains extended.
The aerodynamic flaps in the underfloor area close, which also reduces
aerodynamic drag and increases attainable vehicle speeds. In “E" mode, the control
is configured entirely for low aerodynamic drag; the rear wing and spoiler are
retracted and the underfloor flaps are closed.


Adjustable air flaps under the main headlights round off the adaptive aerodynamic
system. When the vehicle is stationary and in “Race" and “Sport" mode, they are
opened for maximum cooling air intake. In “E-Power" and “Hybrid" modes, they
close immediately after the car is driven off in order to keep aerodynamic drag to a
minimum. They are not opened until the car reaches speeds of approximately 81
mph or when cooling requirements are higher.

 

 


From comfortable to race-ready: five modes for three motors


The core of the 918 Spyder concept is its distribution of propulsive power among
the three power units; their cooperation is controlled by an intelligent management
system. To best exploit these different approaches, the Porsche developers defined
four driving modes that can be activated via a “map switch" on the steering wheel,
just like in motorsport cars. On the basis of this pre-selection, the 918 Spyder
applies the most suitable operating and boost strategy without driver intervention,
thus allowing the driver to concentrate fully on the road.


Quiet and elegant: “E-Power"


When the vehicle is powered on, the “E-Power" mode is the default operating mode
as long as the battery is sufficiently charged. In ideal conditions, the 918 Spyder
can cover approximately 19 miles on purely electric power. Even in pure electric
mode, the 918 Spyder accelerates from 0 to 62 mph in 6.2 seconds and can reach
speeds up to 93 mph. In this mode, the combustion engine is only used when
needed. If the battery’s charge state drops below a set minimum value, the vehicle
automatically switches to hybrid mode.


Efficient and comfortable: “Hybrid"


In “Hybrid" mode, the electric motors and combustion engine work alternately with a
focus on maximum efficiency and minimum consumption. The use of individual drive
components is modified as a function of the current driving situation and the
desired performance. The Hybrid mode is typically used for an efficiency-oriented
driving style.

 

 


Sporty and dynamic: “Sport Hybrid"


In more dynamic situations, the 918 Spyder selects the “Sport Hybrid" mode for its
power sources. The combustion engine now operates continuously and provides the
main propulsive force. In addition, the electric motors provide support in the form
of electric boosting or when the operating point of the combustion engine can be
optimized for greater efficiency. The focus of this mode is on performance and a
sporty driving style at top speed.


For fast laps: “Race Hybrid"


“Race Hybrid" is the mode for maximum performance and an especially sporty
driving style. The combustion engine is chiefly used under high load, and
aggressively charges the battery when the driver is not utilizing its maximum
output. Again, the electric motors provide additional support in the form of
boosting. Furthermore, the gear-shifting program of the PDK is set up for even
sportier driving. The electric motors are used up to the maximum power output limit
to deliver the best possible performance for the race track. In this mode, the
battery charge state is not kept constant, rather it fluctuates over the entire charge
range. In contrast to Sport Hybrid mode, the electric motors run at their maximum
power output limit for a short time for better boosting. This increased output is
balanced by the combustion engine charging the battery more intensively. Electric
power is thus available even with several very fast laps.


For pole position: “Hot Lap"


The red “Hot Lap" button in the middle of the map switch releases the final reserves
of the 918 Spyder and can only be activated in “Race Hybrid" mode. Similar to a
qualification mode, this pushes the hybrid battery to its maximum power output
limits for a few fast laps. This mode uses all of the available energy in the battery.
Main propulsion: the eight cylinder engine


The main source of propulsion is the 4.6-liter, eight cylinder engine that produces
608 hp of power. The engine is derived directly from the power unit of the
successful RS Spyder, which explains why it can deliver engine speeds of up to
9,150 rpm. Like the race engine of the RS Spyder, the 918 Spyder power unit
features dry-sump lubrication with a separate oil tank and oil extraction. To save
weight, components such as the oil tank, the air filter box integrated into the
subframe and the air induction are made of carbon fiber reinforced polymer.
Further extensive lightweight design measures have resulted in such features as
titanium connecting rods, thin-wall, low-pressure casting on the crank case and the
cylinder heads, a high-strength, lightweight steel crankshaft with 180 degree
crankpin offset and the extremely thin-walled alloy steel/nickel exhaust system.
Striking features of the V8 are that it no longer supports any auxiliary systems,
there are no external belt drives and the engine is therefore particularly compact.
Weight and performance optimizations achieve a power output per liter of approx.
132 hp/l – the highest power output per liter of a Porsche naturally aspirated
engine – which is significantly higher than that of the Carrera GT (106 hp/l) and
outstanding for a naturally aspirated engine.


Unique race car design heritage: top pipes


It isn’t just this engine’s performance but also the sound it makes that stokes the
emotionality of the 918 Spyder. This is attributable first and foremost to the socalled
top pipes: the tailpipes terminate in the upper part of the rear end
immediately above the engine. No other production vehicle uses this solution. The
top pipes’ greatest benefit is optimal heat removal, because the hot exhaust gases
are released via the shortest possible route, and exhaust gas back pressure
remains low. This design requires a new thermodynamic air channeling concept.
With the HSI engine, the hot side is located inside the cylinder V, the intake
channels are on the outside. There is another benefit as well: the engine
compartment remains cooler. This is especially beneficial to the lithium-ion hybrid
battery, as it provides optimum performance at temperatures between 68 and 104
degrees Fahrenheit. Consequently, less energy needs to be used for active cooling
of the battery.

 

 


In parallel in the drivetrain: hybrid module


The V8 engine is coupled to the hybrid module, since the 918 Spyder is designed
as a parallel hybrid like the current hybrid models from Porsche. Essentially, the
hybrid module comprises a 115 kW 156 hp electric motor and a decoupler that
serves as the connection with the combustion engine. Because of its parallel hybrid
configuration, the 918 Spyder can be powered at the rear axle either individually by
the combustion engine or electric motor or via both drives jointly. As is typical for a
Porsche super sports car, the power pack in the 918 Spyder has been placed in
front of the rear axle, and does not have any direct mechanical connection to the
front axle.


Upside-down for a low center of gravity: Doppelkupplung


A seven-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK) transmission handles power
transmission to the rear axle. The high-performance transmission is the sportiest
version of the successful PDK; it has undergone a complete redesign for the 918
Spyder and has been further optimized for high performance. To ensure a low
mounting position for a low center of gravity of the entire vehicle, the gear unit was
turned “upside down" by rotating it 180 degrees about its longitudinal axis, in
contrast to other Porsche series. If no power is required on the rear axle, the two
motors can be decoupled by opening the decoupler and PDK clutches. This is the
action behind the Porsche hybrid drive’s typical “coasting" with the combustion
engine switched off.


Independent all-wheel drive: front axle with electric motor


On the front axle, there is another independent electric motor with an output of
approximately 95 kW 129hp. The front electric drive unit drives the wheels at a
fixed ratio. A decoupler decouples the electric motor at high speeds to prevent the
motor from over-revving. Drive torque is independently controlled for each axle.
This makes for very responsive all-wheel drive functionality that offers great
potential in terms of traction and driving dynamics.


Lithium-ion battery with plug-in charging system


The electric energy for the electric motors is stored by a liquid-cooled lithium-ion
battery comprising 312 individual cells with an energy content of about 6.8 kilowatt
hours. The battery of the 918 Spyder has a performance-oriented design in terms
of both power charging and output, so that it can fulfill the performance
requirements of the electric motor. The power capacity and the operating life of the
lithium-ion hybrid battery depend on several factors, including thermal conditions.
That is why the battery of the 918 Spyder is liquid-cooled by a dedicated cooling
circuit. The global warranty period for the hybrid battery is seven years.


To supply it with energy, Porsche developed a new system with a plug-in vehicle
charge port and improved recuperation potential. This vehicle charge port in the Bpillar
on the front passenger side lets users connect the hybrid battery to an
electrical supply at home to charge it. The charge port is standardized for the
country of purchase. The on-board charger is located close to the hybrid battery. It
converts the alternating current of the household electric supply into direct current
with a maximum charge output of 3.6 kW. Using the supplied Porsche Universal
Charger (AC), the hybrid battery can be charged with a conventional wall plug in
less than seven hours from a ten ampere rated, fused power socket, a US 110 Volt
household electrical supply, for example. Furthermore, the Porsche Universal
Charger (AC) can be installed at home in the garage using the Charging Dock. It
enables rapid and convenient charging in approximately 2.5 hours, depending on
regional conditions (220V or 240V).


Pioneering control concept: clear organization of the cockpit


The driver is the focus of all technology in the future Porsche super sports car. A
cockpit was created for the driver that is typical of the brand and pioneering in its
clarity. It is partitioned into two basic areas. First, there are the controls that are
important for driving, which are grouped around the multifunction steering wheel,
combined with driver information displayed on three large round instruments.
Second, there is the infotainment block that is housed in the lifted center console,
which was introduced in the Carrera GT. Control functions, e.g. for the automatic
climate control system, wing adjustment, lighting and Porsche Communication
Management (PCM), including a Burmester high-end sound system, can be intuitively
operated by multitouch with a new type of black panel technology.


For even higher performance: the Weissach package


For very performance-oriented customers of the 918 Spyder, Porsche offers the
“Weissach" package. These modified super sports cars can be recognized at first
glance by special colors and designs that are based on legendary Porsche race
cars. The roof, rear wings, rear-view mirrors and frames of the windshield are made
of visible carbon. Parts of the interior are upholstered with Alcantara instead of
leather, and visible carbon replaces much of the aluminum. Sound insulation has
been reduced. The emphasis on performance is not just visual: very lightweight
magnesium wheels reduce unsprung masses. Gross weight was reduced by about
90 lbs. The benefits are experienced in further improved dynamic performance.
Other references from motorsport are optional film-coating instead of body paint as
well as additional aerodynamic body parts in visible carbon.


Porsche redefined: a new super sports car for a new decade


The 918 Spyder continues a long tradition of super sports cars at Porsche; as
technology platforms, as the driving force behind both car emotion and car
evolution and as the ultimate sports cars of their decades: the Carrera GTS, the
first Porsche Turbo, the 959, the 911 GT1, the Carrera GT. More than any of its
predecessors, the 918 Spyder is providing key impetus for developing technologies
for future vehicle concepts. It offers a complete package of components that
reflect Porsche DNA – more concentrated than ever before.

  

Go to the forum in the Track Resources Tab above to discuss this article

S5 Box

Login

Register