Porsche race car uses hybrid technology for power boost

DAVID RUNK
Associated Press

A new race car concept from Porsche is using hybrid technology to boost power as the automaker said Monday it was looking to 2011 for continued sales growth.

The German automaker unveiled the Porsche 918 RSR at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It has an eight-cylinder engine that puts out an already hefty 563 horsepower. With the push of a button, electric motors on the front wheels can boost it to 767 hp.

Instead of a passenger seat, an electric motor sits next to the driver that stores energy from braking. Porsche said the motor can provide the more than 200 hp boost for about 8 seconds.

“We are researching methods for further efficiency improvements under extreme conditions,” Matthias Muller, Porsche’s president and CEO, told reporters as the company returned to the Detroit show for the first time in four years.

Stuttgart-based Porsche AG said Monday it delivered more than 95,000 vehicles worldwide last year, up 25 percent. Last week, the company said 2010 sales in the U.S. — its biggest market — topped 25,000, up 29 percent from 2009.

Porsche is planning diesel and hybrid versions of its Panamera four-door sedan in the coming year and has “confidence” in 2011 for growth, Muller said. And he said the company is looking at the possibility of building a smaller sport utility vehicle than the Cayenne.

Photo: The Porsche 918 RSR is unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Monday, Jan. 10, 2011. (AP/Carlos Osorio)

6 Comments

  1. 8 seconds. Now that really helps the consumer. The electric vehicle is a joke at this time. They cost too much, have too short of a distance on a charge, take too long to charge, and the upkeep is way too costly.

    #1
  2. 8 seconds. Now that really helps the consumer. The electric vehicle is a joke at this time. They cost too much, have too short of a distance on a charge, take too long to charge, and the upkeep is way too costly.
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    They’re using the race car for R&D. No one is implying an extra 200hp for 8 seconds will help a consumer. Testing and refining the technology used from creating electricity through braking will eventually.

    Electric vehicles too short a distance on a charge? A 40 mile range would get most people back and forth to work.

    Too long to charge? It’s a new technology. It will get faster. Depending on the voltage charging times could take from a few hours to overnight.

    The upkeep too costly? There’s no oil changes, spark plugs, filters, etc… What’s the upkeep besides the eventual battery replacement?

    #2
  3. Steve Palmer

    The article doesn’t answer what seems to me a very important question: Will this be the world’s first hybrid race car?

    #3
  4. Stamper

    The upkeep too costly? There’s no oil changes, spark plugs, filters, etc… What’s the upkeep besides the eventual battery replacement?
    ______________________________

    Don’t think that will be like going to the drug store and buying a couple of D cells. It will be expensive and the disposal/recycling of the old batteries will come at an environmental cost. Similar to the nifty new light bulbs we are stuck with nowadays.

    #4
  5. Bob Johnson

    A few years ago, the then President of Toyota, Katsuaki Watanabe said that hybrid technology would be standard on virtually all personal transportation vehicles. I would wager that before 2020 there will be all electric classes in racing and not long after that NASCAR will have trouble finding traditional V-8s to race.

    #5
  6. Mark from Louisiana

    Porsche has already raced a 911 with this technology. The car uses KERS, the motor/generators at the front wheels send current to a flywheel system under braking, that’s what is placed where the passenger seat is. The current spins the flywheel to 80,000 rpms, when you want more power to accelerate the flywheel provides that to the electric motor/generators on the front wheels.

    As for any type of hybrids being cheap and easy to maintain, don’t count on it. I doubt if very many parts will be easily repaired at your local dealer, more likely it will be like a flat screen tv, when it breaks there is no one trained to fix it so the old one heads to the landfill and you buy a new one.

    #6