Inertia Report: Hybrid/Electric Tech in Exotics & When Will It Trickle Down to Your Car?
The McLaren P1 GTR
A while ago, I wrote an article on the pros and cons of Lamborghini going hybrid/electric, and I also wrote an article on the Ferrari FXX-K EVO and all the cars like it in Ferrari’s past. But it made me think. Hybrid technology is slowly making its way into supercars but what is the point? BMW can produce a lot of i8s. Acura can shove out NSX’s like crazy. Ferrari may add more hybrids past the LaFerrari. And Lamborghini without a doubt is heading in the direction to embrace electrification. But if the technology doesn't trickle down into more mainstream cars, what is the point and how will the masses obtain such tech? How will the world get better?
BMW i8 & i3: BMW's Testbed's For The Future
Luckily, BMW and Tesla are high-end brands, making arguably affordable(?) hybrid/electric cars. Outside of BMW's hybrid iPerformance lineup across the 3, 5, and 7 series, BMW offers the i3, which uses the tech from the i8 for more reasonable purposes at a reasonable price. Like the commute to work and shopping. Technology and research from the i8 allow BMW to update the i3 with tech to make it have a longer range and better power consumption. On Tesla's part, Tesla only makes electric cars. But the original Tesla, the Roadster, was a Lotus Elise converted to an electric powertrain and wasn't that convenient unless you wanted fun. Since then, Tesla has unveiled the Model S and the Model X, and both cars aren't really available to those with an average paycheck. Not all of us have luxury money. But the tech from those cars has trickled down to the Model 3, a car Elon Musk says is for everyone. Its main goal was to be an affordable electric car. And with a starting price of around 36K, the car cost around the same price as a new Toyota Camry XSE V6. And with Musk claiming it has the longest range of any all-electric car ever, it's well worth the money.
The Acura NSX Lives Up To Its Name As A Experimental Car
Acura has it covered too, with technology from the NSX that has trickled down to the more affordable vehicles. Because of this, Acura has started a whole range of “Sport-Hybrids," with the NSX being the range-topper and the RLX and MDX filling in the rear. Acura claims it wants to expand this lineup to the RDX, TLX, and ILX in the coming years. This means by at least 2025, Acura's whole lineup will have the hybrid technology. And you can expect this tech to spread to Hondas, if it hasn't already, as Honda owns Acura.
This technology helps as regenerative braking, intelligent power units, direct drive motors, and twin motor units allow the car and its computers to make decisions on added torque and power. And the one thing I love about hybrid tech is that it utterly annihilates turbo lag. In other words, you don't stall after a shift because the turbochargers have not spooled up yet. And that saves gas.
The Italian Job
That leaves the technology from Lamborghini, as there are reasons to hope that Lamborghini’s tech might show up in mainstream cars eventually. Volkswagen group owns Lamborghini. They also own Audi, Porsche, Ducati, Bugatti, and Bentley. Porsche has also produced hybrid tech, using the 919 LMP1 race car as the experimental vehicle, and making the Porsche 918 hypercar to see how it adapts to the real world. From there, it looks like Porsche is going to use the Panamera and Cayenne to test out new hybrid tech before it gets introduced to the 911 and the Cayman/Boxster twins. Porsche is also working on a Vision E project. Audi has resources in Hybrid tech to from its stint in endurance racing with the Audi R18 LMP1 car. It also has its E-Tron cars it uses to test out certain new technological achievements. So all of this tech may be cross-shared between these brands and the technology may even trickle down to Volkswagens.
Now Ferrari and McLaren also have cutting-edge technology that might someday show up in other brands. Because these companies completely own themselves, business between companies will have to be done by their patented technology being licensed out to other companies. And that all depends on how badly the other company wants the tech. Ferrari and McLaren both have hybrid tech rooted deeply into Formula 1, so the data should be heavily valued. Especially Ferrari. They've been playing around HY-KERS tech for about ten years now and if the LaFerrari is anything to go by, it should be used in more mainstream cars. It would allow more fuel-efficient cars, especially if an EV mode is offered with it.
The Apparent Future
The automotive world is going to keep producing hybrid/electric Sports cars, as shown by Tesla's unveiling of the second generation Roadster, but hybrid/electric supercars cannot continue to hog this technology. If this technology never trickles down to more affordable cars, the world won't become a better place fast enough. We need mainstream cars to eventually have this tech, so everyday consumers can enjoy the joys of a cleaner environment and savings on gas money. Use the supercars and hypercars as the cradle for this technology, so that when it becomes affordable enough, it can be slowly introduced to the mainstream market. Because everyone loves saving. BUT SAVE THE MANUALS!!!! #CARPOLYGAMY
© 2017 Joshua Nightshade