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Porsche finishes production of the 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid; platform for advanced development for vehicles and manufacturing

The final Porsche 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid (earlier post) has come off the line in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen according to schedule. The hybrid super sports concept car made its debut at the 2010 Geneva International Motor Show, and was launched on the market as a limited series in late 2013.

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The 918 Spyder provided a platform for the advanced development of technologies for the sports cars of the future. The key technology is the drive concept combining a high-performance combustion engine with two electric motors. The operating strategy—one of the unique aspects of the 918 Spyder—considers the various requirements ranging from an efficiency-oriented driving profile to maximum performance. In doing so, it is providing important know-how for future production developments.

To realize the most benefits of the large spread between power and fuel consumption, Porsche developers defined a total of five operating modes. As in car racing, they are activated by a “map switch” on the steering wheel. Porsche applied its hybrid know-how in preparing the characteristic maps and the algorithm stored in them for controlling the three drive units and other systems. This know-how will also be applied to future hybrid drives.

The car also created a foundation for future hybrid drives in its thermal management concept featuring five separate cooling loops and the innovative hybrid cooling of the rear electric motor with air and water.

The Porsche 918 Spyder also can convert more kinetic energy into electrical energy than other hybrid vehicles because of its intelligent control of generator functionality and conventional brakes. The enormous regenerative power boosts efficiency and driving range. A similar form of this recovery system is implemented in the LMP1 prototypes of the 919 Hybrid which Porsche raced to its recent 1-2 victory at the 24 hours of Le Mans.

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.

In September 2013, the super sports car—with 887 hp (661 kW) of system power—set the lap record for street-legal vehicles with production tires on the North Loop of the Nürburgring with a time of 6 minutes 57 seconds—a record that still stands. On the other hand, with a fuel consumption figure of around three litres of gasoline per 100 km (78 mpg US), the 918 Spyder consumes less fuel than most small cars in the standardized NEDC cycle.

Porsche has applied for patents related to many of its innovations in assembly and quality assurance which fulfil stringent ergonomic requirements. For example, the entire assembly process takes place with wireless tools. The best example: the battery-powered screwdrivers controlled via Bluetooth. These perform their work nearly silently, increase flexibility for workers at the workplace and ensure—via a database link—that specified torques are reliably performed and documented.

The highly-adjustable assembly elevating truck—a specially developed solution—was designed as an ergonomic tool for finishing the two-seat monocoque. Another new type of scissors lift platforms also simplified installation of the 140 kg high-voltage battery. Leather finishing and assembly tables in 918 manufacturing are the benchmark for ergonomics and flexibility. They can be used to manufacture different parts, for example, via the use of changeable inserts, so that station cycle times can be fully exploited. This is how Porsche also achieved maximum efficiency in the production process for the 918 Spyder.

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