Porsche SE, the German automaker merging with Volkswagen AG, will sell the 918 Spyder hybrid sports car, its most expensive model ever, for $845,000 in North America and limit production to 918 vehicles.
The first cars, available for order from today, will be delivered to buyers beginning in November 2013, the Stuttgart, Germany-based company said in a statement. The vehicle will sell in Europe for 768,062 euros ($1.09 million).
The Porsche plug-in hybrid is part of a wave of green supercars as luxury-car makers try to make fuel efficiency palatable for their customers. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the luxury-car leader, is developing the i8, a hybrid sports-car that will have carbon-dioxide emissions similar to a compact vehicle. Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz plans to roll out a battery-powered version of the gull-wing SLS supercar from 2013.
“Performance green cars are a very necessary statement for the premium brands about what this technology means to them,” said Christoph Stuermer, a Frankfurt-based analyst with IHS Automotive. While mass-market carmakers are concerned about the costs of owning electric cars, “the premium brands seem more worried about the fun part.”
The two-seater Porsche hybrid will accelerate to 100 kilometers (62 miles) an hour in 3.2 seconds and soar to a top speed of 320 kilometers per hour, relying on a 500-horsepower V8 engine and 218-horsepower electric drive system that allow the vehicle to run more than 25 kilometers on electric power. The car’s lithium-ion battery can be recharged from a conventional power outlet in Germany in three hours.
Porsche is developing the hybrid vehicle at a research facility near Stuttgart. The car will be built at the main Zuffenhausen plant. Porsche is adding models to meet a goal of doubling the company’s annual sales to as many as 150,000 vehicles over the medium term and benefit from savings from the planned combination with Volkswagen.
The Spyder hybrid is stylistically based on the Carrera GT supercar as well as the 917 and RS Spyder. The car will have a safety frame reinforced with carbon fiber and a manual roof system with removable panels that can be stowed in the front lugggage compartment, Porsche said today.
“There’s certainly a number of collectors that have the means to buy a model that you know is going to be a classic of the future,” said IHS’s Stuermer. Still, selling nearly a thousand may be “a bit of a stretch,” he said.