Porsche’s 918 Spyder has entered a critical phase in its development as the first prototype vehicles begin a period of driving trials on the road.

Prototypes wearing a special camouflage, harking back to historical Porsche 917 racing cars, will be used to develop the innovative hybrid supercar’s drive components, focusing on the interplay between each system.

The combination of combustion engine and two independent electric motors – one on the front axle and one in the drive line, acting on the rear wheels – poses completely new demands on the development of the operating systems. “They are therefore a critical component in this vehicle into which we have put all of our expertise and capacity for innovation,” said Wolfgang Hatz, Head of Research and Development at Porsche AG.

These operating systems and the development of the software to go with them will have a major influence on the driveability and fun of the 918 Spyder, enabling high levels of performance combined with minimal fuel consumption. A Porsche spokesperson said, “..the initial results of the driving trials are in line with the high expectations the company has placed on the 918 Spyder”.

The 918 Spyder will go into production at the end of September 2013 as planned, with first customers receiving their cars before the end of 2013. “What we are doing with the 918 Spyder is redefining driving fun, efficiency and performance,” said Wolfgang Hatz.

Porsche’s most innovative supercar is designed as a plug-in hybrid vehicle, combining a high-performance combustion engine with cutting-edge electric motors for what the company describes as ‘extraordinary performance’.

The company expects the 918 Spyder to deliver more than 770 bhp, whilst being capable of achieving the extraordinary fuel consumption of 94 mpg. Other groundbreaking innovations due on the 918 Spyder include full carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) monocoque with unit carrier, fully adaptive aerodynamics, adaptive rear-axle steering and an upward-venting “top pipes” exhaust system.

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The Porsche 918 Spyder will be among the first of a new breed of Hybrid supercar, which will also include the BMW i8, Jaguar C-X75 and Ferrari’s Enzo successor. F1 team (and last Sunday’s winner of the Spanish GP) Williams is working with both Porsche and Jaguar in bringing its Hybrid technology from the race track to the road.

Williams Hybrid Power (WHP) has also been working with the Volkswagen Audi Group (VAG) where it has developed an entirely new, ultra-lightweight electric flywheel for the Audi R18 e-tron quattro, which is currently leading the World Endurance Championship.