Detroit Auto Show: Porsche 918 RSR

Call it a hybrid hybrid. And call it powerful. Porsche took the hybrid technology behind its 911 GT3 R, coupled it with the design of its 918 Spyder racer, and came up with the single-seat mid-engine coupe 918 RSR. This hybrid, which debuted at the North American International Auto Show, combines 555 horsepower from its V8 gasoline engine with an additional boost from electric motors on the two front wheels to give it peak drive power of 767 hp.

You might remember the 918 Spyder concept car we reported on last March. This newer gull-door offering shares many elements but doesn’t hold back in being a full-bore racer, Porsche said. “Instead of the futuristic, ergonomically avant-garde centre console with touch-sensitive user interface from the 918 Spyder concept car, the 918 RSR’s cockpit is split by a minimalistic console with rocker switches,” Porsche said. “Instead of a second seat, the flywheel accumulator is positioned to the right of the console.”

Porsche 918 RSR Hybrid

image via Porsche

This Porsche flywheel accumulator made an appearance last February, when the company was getting ready to unveil the 911 GT3 R hybrid. Porsche said of the flywheel that it “is an electric motor whose rotor rotates at up to 36,000 rpm to store rotation energy. Charging occurs when the two electric motors on the front axle reverse their function during braking processes and operate as generators. At the push of a button, the pilot is able to call up the energy stored in the charged flywheel accumulator and use it during acceleration or overtaking maneuvers. The flywheel is braked electromagnetically in this case in order to additionally supply up to 2 x 75 kW, i.e. a total of 150 kW, from its kinetic energy to the two electric motors on the front axle.”

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

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