The image: The Porsche 918 Spyder is no ordinary super-car. (See a full-sized photo below.) Unlike the gas-guzzling performance vehicles of yesteryear, the new Spyder is a plug-in hybrid that gets 94 miles to the gallon after a three-hour charge. But its planet-friendly technology has not cooled its jets — the car boasts a top speed of 199 miles per hour, and can reach 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds. Downside: The asking price is an eye-watering $845,000, some 25 times the cost of the popular Nissan Leaf hybrid. Wealthy buyers will need to act quickly. Only 918 models are being built. (See the Spyder)
The reaction: Isn't it a little pointless building a hybrid supercar that only the super-rich can buy, asks Clayton Collins at the Christian Science Monitor. It's a little like a Paris couturier designing a "sustainable" sheath dress that could only be worn once... by a celebrity. If Porsche were serious, it would build a "down-market variant" of the hybrid model for everyone. Nevertheless, it's encouraging to see premium brands like Mercedes-Benz and BMW coming out with "green performance cars," says Ami Cholia at Smart Planet. The technologies used to build them will undoubtedly "make it down to more base level models" eventually. Meanwhile, gaze in frustration at the Porsche 918 Spyder:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How U.S. special forces are preparing for the worst-case scenario in North Korea
- Why you shouldn't eat dog. Not even once.
- Why Israel can no longer let the Palestinian Authority be responsible for security in the West Bank
- Why you should really take a nap this afternoon, according to science
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- Grammar quiz: Do you know the passive voice?
- How social conservatives became a minority in need of protection
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why charity can't solve society's deepest problems
- The weird obsession that's ruining the GOP
Subscribe to the Week