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Porsche rules out full-EV Cayenne

Flat battery: Porsche’s all-new Cayenne will go plug-in, but only in hybrid form.

Third-generation Cayenne ‘not suitable’ for pure-electric powertrain: Porsche

Porsche logo25 Oct 2017

By RON HAMMERTON in CRETE

PORSCHE appears to be in no rush to develop a full-electric SUV, instead preferring to stick to the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) route for models such as the Cayenne.

Company insiders say the Volkswagen Group’s MLB Evo platform – the basis for the new third-generation Cayenne that is due in Australia in mid-2018 – is not suitable for a pure-electric vehicle requiring a large slab of batteries.

Porsche’s Cayenne complete vehicle manager Christolph Oerleke told Australian journalists at the global media launch for the new large SUV this week that an electric SUV was not a focus at Porsche.

“There will be no (full) electric Cayenne in the third generation,” he said.

Porsche is in the last stages of developing an all-electric sedan, the Mission E – thought to be a Tesla Model S rival – but there appears to be no plans to plonk an SUV body on that J1 platform either.

“For an SUV, it would not be successful to take over that platform,” Mr Oerleke said. “It would not make sense.”

Mr Oerleke did not elaborate on why it would not make sense. However, off-road capabilities might be one reason.

In Cayenne, Porsche is planning at least one PHEV powertrain, blending petrol power with electric motivation.

GoAuto has been told that the PHEV plans for Cayenne will be revealed in early 2018, but most pundits believe the big SUV will get the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid’s stonking 500kW/850Nm PHEV powertrain in a range flagship.

This powertrain blends the Porsche-developed twin-turbo petrol V8 from the Porsche Panamera Turbo (and upcoming Cayenne Turbo) with an electric motor, driving all four wheels.

So far, Porsche has not provided details of diesel powertrains for Cayenne, but Mr Oerleke indicated something was in the works.

“We don’t say ‘no diesel’ – definitely not,” he said. “Time will show what will happen.”

Porsche was burned in the Volkswagen Group ‘dieselgate’ scandal, losing the V6 diesel from its line-up.

This has hurt sales of the current Cayenne, in which the diesel engine was one of the better sellers. So far this year, Cayenne sales are down 15.4 per cent in Australia.

Mr Oerleke said Porsche was primarily a petrol-engine specialist anyway, and that was where the focus had been in Cayenne, at least initially.

“These engines are highly effective at the moment,” he said.

So far, Porsche has confirmed two petrol V6s and a V8 in the three Cayenne variants revealed to date – the 250kW 3.0-litre single-turbo Cayenne, 324kW 2.9-litre twin-turbo Cayenne S and 404kW 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 Cayenne Turbo.

Despite the difference in engine capacities for the two V6s, the engines are basically one and the same, with a minor change in internal components to aid combustion stability in the twin-turbo format.

Australian pricing for these and forthcoming variants are expected to be announced in the first quarter of 2018.

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