Opinion Brief

Can Porsche's $845,000 hybrid supercar save the planet?

The German company's latest speedster can go from zero to 60 in little more than three seconds... and gets 94 miles to the gallon. If only it were a wee bit more affordable

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:

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