Since Porsche announced the atmospheric pricetag on its 918 Spyder hybrid supercar earlier this week, here's the question on everyone's mind: Would you pay $845,000 for this Porsche?
Here's the question we should all be asking ourselves: Are we comfortable with Porsche being the unrivaled leader of the hybrid revolution?
With the announcement that Porsche will produce the 918 and likely hybrid versions of the 911 Carrera on the horizon, the sports car company could become the first major automaker to offer alternative fuel options on every car in its lineup. It's far more impressive that Porsche can incorporate electric motors into sports cars, than Toyota putting them in their toasters-with-headlights.
Porsche is either far ahead of the curve, or putting itself out on a very thin limb with their commitment to hybrid technology. There are already hybrid versions of the Cayenne and Panamera, not to mention the revolutionary GT3R Hybrid racecar (at right) that advanced hybrid racing technology about a generation. The lessons learned from that experiment are soon making their way into production with the 918 Spyder, and here Porsche is showing the auto world how to develop technology on the track and incorporate it into the showroom.
This is development and racing done the right way, like in the old days, when racecars were regularly used to test ideas eventually destined for family garages. When was the last time a NASCAR idea rubbed off on the general public?
Porsche is taking up a cause that should have been adopted by every major automaker years ago. Still to this day, the Detroit Big Three can barely be troubled to lift a finger in the way of alternative-fuel technology. Oh sure, it's great that the Volt is a hit and Ford is making MPG-friendly small cars again. But these are extremely high-volume automakers, and to this day, in 2011, efficient cars are but a tiny percentage of their lineup. All that research, development and funding poured into years of obvious buyer interest in green cars, and... Porsche is the first company to fully dive into the hybrid game?
Even more than a decade after the Prius - and years of trendy popularity that made it clear the public was interested in hybrids - Toyota's development of their technology has scarcely progressed one iota. They're still using the same systems in the same cars. A little development is all I ask.
It's comical, almost embarrassing for American automakers that they may be so blatantly passed over yet again for their lack of ingenuity. Detroit is having trouble producing affordable, efficient cars but Porsche can put hybrid technology in a sub-4.0 second supercar? Only a handful of the wealthy-elite will be able to own an $845,000 supercar, to be sure, but a hybrid 911 Carrera is certainly on the way and it can't be long before Audi and Volkswagen start adopting the same motors into their more affordable cars.
I'm fine with Porsche leading the way into a hybrid/electric future. The question is: Are the American automakers fine with being late to the party again? It would seem so.
Follow Ryan ZumMallen on Twitter at @ryanzummallen.