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Porsche debuts 918 RSR hybrid as 'tech test bed'

At the 2011 North American International Auto Show, Porsche revealed its 918 RSR, a two-seater, mid-engine coupe with hybrid drive technology.
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Written by Andrew Nusca, Former editor on

Porsche on Monday revealed its 918 RSR, a two-seater, mid-engine coupe that demonstrates in a conventional sports car the hybrid drive technology found in the 911 GT3 R.

The announcement came at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mich.

The idea is to combine the race underpinnings of the GT3 R and fit them into the latest design of the 918 Spyder. The latter vehicle, nicknamed the "race lab" internally, has been successfully used to test hybrid technology -- fuel efficiency, additional power, and so forth -- in motor racing environments.

Inside, you'll find a highly-efficient flywheel accumulator that stores additional power, as well as a dynamic braking system that gives the vehicle extra power in a more intelligent manner. Under the hood is a V8 tuned to 563 horsepower at 10,300 rpm, or revolutions per minute.

Porsche says the electric motors on the two front wheels each contribute 75 kilowatts to the peak drive power, which clocks in at 767 hp.

More on the flywheel accumulator, in the Stuttgart, Germany-based automaker's own words:

This flywheel accumulator 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.

This additional power is available for around eight seconds when the system is fully charged. In the successful 911 GT3 R Hybrid, this additional power can also be used as a consumption aid depending on the racing situation, e.g. to delay pit stops or reduce the fuel tank volume and therefore the weight of the vehicle.

A six-speed constant-mesh transmission puts the power to the car's 19-inch wheels, and is manipulated by the drive via two shift paddles behind the racing steering wheel.

So, Porsche, when can I drive?

More drooling, via a video:

Related on SmartPlanet:

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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