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THANKS TO EARLY HYBRID PIONEERS, THE THRILL OF DRIVING A PORSCHE WILL LIVE ON

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Wed, Oct 20, 2010

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

porsche918spyderhybrid
Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid

Porsche's development chief, Wolfgang Duerheimer, recently disclosed a plan and philosophy we expect will become very common and embraced by many manufacturers: full-hybridization. When the second-generation Toyota Prius hit the road in late 2003, hybrids were seen as little more than well-funded science experiments and therefore a long-term risk for many drivers. As an owner of one of these vehicles, I faced a familiar barrage of questions every time I stopped at a fuel station: "Why are you putting gas in that car? When will you have to replace the batteries and how much will that cost? Aren't you worried about being stranded?" Here we are now, less than a decade from those confusing days, and hybrids are now an accepted and well-known option for many American drivers. Shopper interest for these vehicles has been closely tied to relative fuel prices or concerns—when the price of gasoline is high, so is hybrid interest and activity. When gas prices are relatively low, as seen today, hybrids lose some of their new-car gloss to the point of recently being named a great used-car buy by Kelley Blue Book analysts.

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The significance of Porsche's announcement is that future electrification of the automobile does not necessarily mean remarkable fuel economy. A Porsche simply would not be a Porsche if it drove like a Prius or Honda Insight. In this application, electrification will be used just enough to reach future U.S. CAFE standards and Europe's impending CO2 emissions rules, but also will deliver a delightful and athletic driving experience worthy of the Porsche name. Without further hybridization and reduction in overall weight, such exciting vehicles would cease to exist or only be sold at ultra-exclusive prices in extremely limited volumes, thanks to these higher governmental fuel and emissions standards. In a strange automotive turn of events, thanks to early pioneers like the Prius and Civic Hybrid, the thrill of driving a Porsche will carry on. James Bell Executive Market Analyst Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com

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