Welcome to the Motoramic Dash, a daily morning roundup of the most interesting news in the automotive world.
This may look like a somewhat anonymous race car given a killer whale paint scheme, but underneath lies the Porsche 918 Spyder, a 770-hp, $845,000 supercar powered in part by a plug-in hybrid system that Porsche said today will go on sale in September 2013. By then, most of the world's top performance cars may come as hybrids -- and Porsche says this one could get nearly 78 mpg.
As symbols of conspicuous consumption, supercars face more pressure to hit tougher fuel economy rules, even though their owners and manufacturers could just choose to pay penalties instead. Ferrari has already announced that the successor to its Enzo supercar will offer a 900-hp hybrid engine, and Lamborghini has said it's considering similar options.
The 918 -- painted here to evoke the 917 -- would be Porsche's first true supercar since the Carrera GT, which ended production in 2006. The 918 plug-in system includes two electric motors, one on the front axle and one in the driveline to the rear wheels. Porsche has not put out any performance figures, but its fuel economy estimate of three liters per 100 kilometers converts to 78 mpg in U.S. terms -- a figure that's unmatched in any other 770-hp autobahn rocket to date.
Other stories today:
Ford gets new tagline, ads that don't mention Ford: "Go Further," says Ford in ads showing de-branded cars in studios with people talking in hushed voices. Someone channelled their inner Don Draper for this pitch. (Detroit Free Press)
A look at how active safety tech is developed, wherein we mow down some dudes with our car: You mean people are paid to do this job? Expect Autoliv to get a call from the producers of "Amazing Race" in 3...2...1... (Car and Driver)
Korean officials probe sudden acceleration case: This will be interesting, given how American auto safety regulators traditionally assume the driver is at fault for such problems. (Wall Street Journal)
Chevy Trax new small global crossover for markets outside the United States: Americans will get it as the Buick Encore, while in Mexico and Canada it will be the Chevy Trax. No need for Chevy to compete with itself on the Equinox, right? (AutoNews)