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Porsche 918 Spyder super hybrid (photos)

Porsche's concept hybrid, the 918 Spyder shown at the 2010 Geneva auto show, boasts barely believable specifications, including 3.2 seconds to 60 mph and 78 mpg. The car combines a powerful plug-in hybrid system with a lightweight body and racing engine.

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Wayne Cunningham

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Porsche demonstrated its commitment to hybrid technology with the 918 Spyder concept, a car that boasts outlandish specifications. The two-seater uses a plug-in hybrid system comprised of two electric motors coupled to a 3.4-liter V-8 racing engine. As a parallel hybrid, the car can run on pure electricity, just gas, or a combination of the two.
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The car only produces 70 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer, 19 fewer grams than a Toyota Prius. The car is capable of going 16 miles under electric power alone, and Porsche claims fuel economy of 78 mpg. But the car also can get to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds. Of course, you can't tap its maximum acceleration and also get its maximum fuel economy.
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The mid-mounted 3.4-liter V-8 drives the rear wheels, in conjunction with an electric motor. Both engine and motor send power to the rear wheels through Porsche's double-clutch transmission. Another motor supplies power to the front wheels through a single-speed gearbox. The combined output of the electric motors is 218 horsepower, while the engine produces 500 horsepower.
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A control on the steering wheel lets the driver choose from four driving modes: full electric, hybrid, sport hybrid, and racing hybrid. Porsche says the 918 Spyder can run the Nordschleife of the Nurburgring in 7 minutes and 30 seconds, faster than the Carrera GT. The car's navigation system includes Range Manager, a feature that helps the driver pick the right driving mode to reach a programmed destination.

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