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The Vonnen Porsche 911 Hybrid Conversion Offers First Look At Model's Future

Vonnen Performance, a subsidiary of Elephant Racing, a global leader in design and manufacture of performance suspension products for Porsches, is giving fans of the German sports car a sneak peek at a hybrid conversion with its modified 991-era 911 Carrera. The model, named the Vonnen Shadow Drive (VSD), includes a battery and an electric motor.

Porsche, which has hinted at a hybrid variant with the product plan of the latest 992-generation Porsche 911, may still be years away from actually producing the car. In the meantime, the Shadow Drive, which adds 150 horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque to the 911's internal-combustion engine, delivers the exclusive experience of driving a hybrid Porsche.

The system weighs 210 pounds and includes an electric motor-generator inserted between the engine and transaxle; a power inverter mounted on top of the engine; and a control unit and a small 1.0-kWh lithium-based battery pack in the front trunk. The net gain is approximately 170 pounds since the engine's flywheel and starter motor have been removed and a smaller auxiliary 12-volt battery has been installed to power accessories. The motor-generator unit allows the system to produce energy and recharge the battery both from the petrol engine and during braking.

According to Vonnen president Chuck Moreland, the system's simplicity maintains the integrity of the car and its driving experience, which is crucial for Porsche owners. The hybrid system is discretional, therefore, drivers can activate the hybrid mode on command through a Bluetooth-linked smartphone app with Street, Track, and Overboost drive modes. The system also includes real-time system monitoring, data logging, and data sharing with the cloud.

The Vonnen Shadow Drive is priced at $75,000 and is compatible with both manual and automatic transmissions, as well as naturally aspirated and forced-induction engines, Though initial applications are limited to the 991-series 911, fitments for the 981-generation Cayman and Boxster will be available shortly and will be subsequently followed by older 997- and 996-era 911s as well as applications for other Boxster and Cayman models and classic air-cooled 911s.

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Although newer 911 owners have the option of trading up to a Turbo model to boost power, Boxster and Cayman model drivers may want to consider the Vonnen Shadow Drive. "When these cars originally came out, they were fast for their time and had sufficient power," Moreland said. "But those figures look downright slow and weak by today's standards." Therefore, a Porsche enthusiast looking for current levels of power from a classic 911 will consider the investment worthwhile.

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