2011 Detroit Auto ShowWhat is it?
Porsche 918 RSR Hybrid
What's special about it?
With the Porsche 918 RSR, you have what is essentially the least "green" hybrid ever. That's because it's not really meant to be green. This is a racecar, or as Porsche refers to it, "a racing laboratory."
Sure, it has electric motors, two of them actually, but they're not really meant to do anything more than give this car more power. Seems logical enough, until you realize that the 918 RSR already has over 560 horsepower courtesy of its gasoline-fired V8. Does anybody really "need" more than 560 hp? Porsche does.
Maybe you remember the 918 Spyder concept from last year's Geneva auto show? It was a technological wonder, but didn't look like it would last very long on an actual piece of pavement. The 918 RSR, on the other hand, is a fully developed racecar. It uses a carbon-fiber monocoque and has gullwing doors and 19-inch, centerlock wheels. It's all business inside the car as well, with straightforward rocker switches on the dash and the big flywheel accumulator sitting shotgun.
That flywheel accumulator is what gives the RSR its edge. It captures power under braking and then stores it using an electric motor that spins at 36,000 rpm. When more boost is required, it feeds the two 75-kW motors that power the front wheels, a combination that Porsche says gives the 918 RSR a total of 767 hp for bursts of up to 8 seconds. That ought to do it.
As cool as this all sounds, don't expect to see a 918 hitting the streets anytime soon. Porsche said the RSR is all about research, even though it has already announced plans for a production 918. Expect the road-going version to show up looking a bit tamer than the RSR and with considerably less than 767 total hp on tap.
Edmunds.com says: Is it any surprise that Porsche would build the coolest hybrids? Racecar or not, the 918 RSR is still a sight to behold. — Ed Hellwig, Editor