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Porsche hybrids a ‘stepping stone’ to Mission E

Next up: Porsche’s latest electrified vehicle is the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid that will start to roll into dealerships from the third quarter.

All-electric Mission E production on the horizon as Porsche pushes hybrid story

Porsche logo13 Feb 2017

PORSCHE is taking a slow and steady approach with its electrified vehicle strategy as the car-maker builds up to the launch of its first all-electric sportscar, based on the Mission E concept.

The German sportscar-maker dipped its toe in the water with a limited-run petrol-electric hybrid version of the first-generation Cayenne SUV in 2010 for the US market before rolling the same system out in the original Panamera.

Porsche stepped up its game with the facelifted Panamera that ushered in a new plug-in system with the S E-Hybrid, and this was followed by a plug-in version of the second-gen Cayenne shortly after.

Probably the most famous hybrid Porsche to date is the 918 Spyder supercar that was built in strictly limited numbers (918 to be precise) from 2013, which matched a 4.6-litre V8 with a pair of electric motors for a total output of 652kW and 1280Nm and a 0-100km/h time of just over 2.6 seconds.

An all-new version of the Panamera four-door launched last week and the range now features a more advanced plug-in hybrid variant, the E-Hybrid, which will roll into showrooms in the third quarter of the year.

The latest E-Hybrid uses a new 2.9-litre bi-turbocharged petrol V6 and an electric motor for a combined output of 340kW/700Nm, enough for a 0-100km/h dash of 4.6 seconds and fuel use of 2.5 litres per 100km on the combined cycle.

It is priced from $242,600 plus on-road costs – about $22,000 more than the petrol-powered Panamera 4 – and according to Porsche Cars Australia (PCA) director of sales and network development John Murray, it will attract more than the handful of buyers that the first-gen version attracted.

“We had very few Panamera Hybrids come in,” he told GoAuto at the launch of the Panamera 4S and Turbo variants in New South Wales last week. “That car really was a breakthrough in its segment. It was the first hybrid in that segment of vehicle all around the world.

“In this one, the capabilities of the hybrid system have been increased even further and even the electric driving range is up to 50km now. And it brings with it of course, all of the upgrades that you have seen in the 4S and the Turbo, it is a complete generational change.

“I am confident there will be more buyers for it. But that car – like the Cayenne E-Hybrid, like the initial Panamera E-Hybrid – it is all part of a journey leading to three years time when we have have fully electric vehicles in our market.”

That fully electric vehicle will be the production version of the Tesla Model S-fighting Mission E concept from the 2015 Frankfurt motor show.

The futuristic looking four-door is not too far away from showrooms either, with the production version likely to be here by about 2020.

It has an electric driving range of more than 500km and the company has promised typical Porsche performance, with the all-electric system pumping out 440kW from its 800-volt drive system, ensuring an 0-100km/h sprint time of 3.5 seconds.

Mr Murray said that PCA is already holding orders for the Mission E, despite the production version not being revealed yet.

He also added that all of the previous-generation hybrid systems, and even the all-new high-tech version in the second-gen Panamera were all leading to the launch of the company’s first full EV.

“As we have spoken about the Mission E, whatever its name is when it is brought to market in three years’ time that will be the biggest step of all. But all of these things are stepping stones along the way.

“But we, and our dealers and especially our customers are all learning about it, getting used to it. The first Panamera E-Hybrid played its role in that sense. This one will move the game along and of course we are on a journey to fully electric vehicles with Porsche.”

Mr Murray said the car-maker has spent considerable effort in communicating the benefits of the hybrid and electric technology with its dealer staff, which then flows to customers in the showrooms.

“We spent a lot of time with our dealer staff initially. Every training opportunity we are always talking about hybrid and using the car as a demonstration of that type of thing. They, in turn, are fully informed about where Porsche is going with this. And they have become friends with the technology themselves and been able to talk about it with customers.

“The customer may still plum for a traditional internal combustion engine – petrol or diesel. But it has planted a seed and Porsche’s take on hybrid technology and Posche’s take on fully electric vehicles, the story is starting to be told and we are on a journey with this thing. It is an evolution of this technology.”

Despite earlier rumours, a plug-in hybrid version of the current Macan mid-size SUV is nowhere to be seen and it is looking more likely that it will appear in the model’s second generation.

A hybridised version of the iconic 911 is now more likely to occur in next-gen guise as well.

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