Fast and Eco-Friendly Supercars

eco friendly super cars

918 Spyder at COTA Courtesy of Porsche.

NEW HAVEN, United States — You have to admit it, we all love fast cars. Deep inside, we all have an innate need for high-powered, sexy cars. Unfortunately, these cars usually come at a high environmental cost. We tell ourselves it’s just the price of that sleek beauty and fun but does it have to be? It all started with Tesla and slowly a revolution has awoken. Meet the Porsche 918 Spyder, BMW’s i8 and a new-comer to the realm, the Blade.

Excitement and Speed in the 918 Spyder

The world is changing and car makers, big and small, are feeling the demand to make efficient cars with smaller carbon footprints. This goes for sports cars too. Porsche’s 918 Spyder is pleasing to both the eye and to the need for adrenaline. In truth, this car is really a hypercar much like a Koenigsegg or a Bugatti. Don’t let this car’s hybrid electric motor fool you. This car is just as impressive as any other Porsche. You may be wondering why Porsche decided to build the 918.

Calvin Kim, Product Experience Manager at Porsche, explains that Porsche, being a performance engineering company, introduced 918 to the market because of the challenge. Kim continues: “But the reality is the need to find higher and higher levels of performance which comes not only from pure internal combustion sources, but through other power-train technologies as well. For Porsche, that meant going with a battery-electric solution, as it’s the solution with which we have the most history with. Thanks to two variants of Lohner-Porsche (produced from 1899 to 1902, one pure battery-electric, and the other a gasoline-electric hybrid) all the way up to the flywheel hybrid-based 911 GT3 R Hybrid.

eco friendly super cars

918 Spyder at Laguna Seca Courtesy of Porsche.

Of course, Porsche continues to research all forms of propulsion, but it will always favour technologies that improve overall efficiency and performance, while being convenient for our users to access.

The 918 Spyder isn’t just an attractive hypercar, it’s also green in other ways. The manufactured parts of this car are created with the new European regulations in mind. At the end of its life, this car can be 95% recycled, which means it won’t be decaying in a landfill and slowly destroying the environment.

If you’re wondering what makes this car unique, Kim says: “It’s the split-personality of the car. The combination of 9000 rpm redline, 2.5 second 0-60 mph time, 67 MPGe (how the EPA measures hybrid vehicle combined fuel economy) and available matching luggage, for example. It’s also the fact that it uses tried-and-true technology combined with Weissach’s racing pedigree, while still being an everyday car. It just so happens to have the production car lap record at the Nurburgring!”

Drool-worthy without the guilt! Porsche never ceases to delight with scintillating mechanics and aesthetics.

2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Specs

  • Engine: Gas/electric hybrid 4.6L V8
  • Drive train: All wheel drive
  • Top speed: 214 mph (345 kph)
  • Battery: 6.8 kWh lithium-ion
  • Horsepower: 887 hp at 8600 RPM
  • Torque: 944 fp (1275 Nm) at 5000 RPM
  • Transmission: 7-Speed Porsche Doppelkupplung (PDK)

Driver and Environment Friendly

While the 918 Spyder may be an efficient alternative to a McLaren or a Maserati, the BMW i8 is more in class with the Audi R8 or the Porsche 911 GT3. Speed isn’t specifically what makes this car impressive, rather it’s the maker’s commitment to the environment while creating a desirable driving experience. If you’re wondering why BMW created the i8, they say: “The i8 was created within the BMW i principles where natural resources are limited and premium is defined by a company’s commitment to sustainability. We wanted to create the future sports car, where the consumption levels of compact car efficiencies are achieved but still deliver on the sports car performance of the Ultimate Driving Machine.” So, a sports car that won’t make you feel like you’ve single-handedly caused global warming.

The i8 isn’t a pure electric car, but this was by design, not lack of skill. “The concept of the vehicle as a ‘mega city escape’ was key to the positioning of the vehicle and we wanted to highlight our CFRP, our 3 cylinder engine and eDrive technologies in a package that changes the perception of what’s possible from a sports car platform,” say sources at BMW. This means that BMW wants you to be able to take this exciting car away from the city without worrying about where you’re going to plug it in. They want their car to be enjoyed way out in the countryside as much as when on a night in the town with no charging stress attached.

If you’re wondering the eco-friendliness of the plant where the i8 is manufactured, BMW sources add: “The BMW i production in our Leipzig plant is carbon-neutral. The so called ‘TÜV Süd’ technical inspection agency reviewed the data and methods in detail according to fixed criteria. The validation certificate of the independent agency verifies that the methods used by BMW i meet the scientific state of the art and fulfill all requirements of the strict ISO standards 14040/14044.” With this car, you’ll be minimising your carbon footprint before you ever get in the driver’s seat!

This car will have you dreaming about an adventure, but what makes it unique? “Everything from the build processes, the drive train concept (axel hybrid), its efficiency and its performance figures,” says BMW.

eco friendly super cars

The BMW i8. Courtesy of BMW.

[BMW i8] to be compared to hyper cars like the Porsche 918 Spyder, LaFerrari and the McLaren P1 from a technological standpoint yet at a base price that is in line with the tradition sports cars of today (e.g. Porsche 911, Audi R8).

You’ll feel like you’re driving a mechanical work of art.

2015 BMW i8 Specs

  • Engine: Intercooled Turbo Gas/Electric I-3, 1.5 L
  • Drive train: All wheel drive
  • Top speed: All electric mode: 75 mph (120 kph) and absolute top speed of 160 mph (250 kph)
  • Battery: 7.1 kWh lithium-ion
  • Horsepower: 357 hp at 5800 RPM
  • Torque: 420 fp (569 Nm)
  • Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic

The New Comer

Looking for something different, something in a class of its own? Welcome the Blade. This newcomer boasts itself as a 3D printed supercar created in an eco-friendly microfactory. The car is the brainchild of Kevin Czinger, CEO of Divergent Microfactories, Inc, and according to the company it debuted at the 2015 O’Reilly Solid Conference. The mysterious new car leaves car aficionados and interested buyers with many questions as things like price, fuel economy and body composition have not been announced. However, the concept car was completely composed of carbon-fibre and weighed only 1,400 lb (635 kg). It also had 700 horsepower, but unfortunately it’s track times were purely theoretical. When the car goes from concept to manufacture, it will have the concept engine which is a 4-cylinder turbocharged internal combustion engine fuelled by compressed natural gas or petrol.

eco friendly super cars

The Blade. Courtesy of Divergent Microfactories.

The idea of a microfactory is certainly not new, but Czinger hopes that he will help introduce locally manufactured cars that won’t stress the environment. The idea is for small companies, with equally small budgets, to be able to create cars for the people right around them with as little waste as possible.

In order to live up to its vision of a more efficient factory, the company will be using nodes which they define as “the key building block we developed to build cars. They are made of a metal alloy and are produced using 3D printers. The nodes, combined with carbon fibre tubes are the key components in building a car chassis. With this approach we can build a very strong and very light chassis, and do so while saving energy and generating less pollution.”

Officially, the specs are not yet available and the first DM microfactory will be announced at the end of the year.

Final Thoughts

The world of cars is changing, much like many other industries. Cars like the Prius and the Insight have been manufactured for more than a decade and supercars are finally catching up. BMW and Porsche are creating impressive cars that produce less waste from manufacture to final retirement, while the Blade is still unproven. It could be ground breaking or a broken promise. The world will await it in anxious anticipation, but until then the mainstream brands will keep moving forward. Meanwhile, most of us will have to choose between the ultra-exclusive 918 or the more practical but still sexy i8.

Courtesy of: Calvin Kim, Porsche | BWM Team | Kevin Czinger, Divergent Microfactories, Inc.
Shire Lyon About the author

Paid Search advertiser by profession and writer by passion. She also owns the blog, It's the Small Stuff, www.itsthesmallstuf.com. She holds a Bachelor’s in Communication and a Web Design Certificate. Her delight in fine cuisine and new gastronomic trends coupled with her obsession for writing help her bring cuisine trends to an international audience.

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