Porsche goes Electric with the Panamera S Hybrid and Boxster E

Porsche will be showing two innovations at the Geneva Motor Show next month, which will mark the future direction of the marque as it further embraces sustainable energy in its road cars – the Panamera Hybrid and Boxster E Concept.

The Panamera S Hybrid represents the next chapter in the Porsche Intelligent Performance story, following on from the Cayenne S Hybrid launched in 2010. Without sacrificing its driving dynamics or passenger accommodation, the new Panamera S Hybrid combines a total power output of 375 bhp (279 kW) with CO2 emissions of just 159 g/km, achieving a performance ratio of 2.39 hp per g/ CO2 that is said to be unbeaten in the UK car market.

Performance and efficiency

In addition to offering 0-62mph in 6.0 seconds and a top speed of 168 mph, the Panamera S Hybrid returns fuel economy of 30.4mpg on the combined cycle. These statistics position the Panamera S Hybrid as offering impressive levels of efficiency, achieved through a combination of clever engineering solutions under the skin and the use of lower rolling resistance tyres specially-developed by Michelin.

The range in purely electric mode is approximately 1.25 miles, with driving in this mode possible up to 53 mph, depending on the road and traffic conditions – which works out at roughly 1.4 minutes, so enough to cross our local Hypermarket car park before needing to gun the Panamera’s supercharged 3-litre V6 engine into life…

Propulsion

The Porsche hybrid drive is also the only system in the world able to exploit additional consumption reserves thanks to its so-called ‘sailing’ function. During phases when no power is required from the combustion engine, ‘sailing’ entails switching off the engine and disengaging the drivetrain at speeds of up to 103 mph (Cayenne S Hybrid 97 mph). That sounds like an awfully low-tech way of saving fuel, but we’ll assume there’s more to it than merely disengaging drive and freewheeling in neutral..

The Panamera S Hybrid is driven by the same engine combination that has already proved itself in the Cayenne S Hybrid, a model which already accounts for a fifth of Cayenne sales in the UK. The main propulsion is provided by a supercharged three-litre V6 engine delivering 328 bhp (245 kW) supported by a 46 bhp (34 kW) electric motor. Both power units are capable of powering the Panamera S Hybrid either alone or in combination. The electric motor also operates as a generator and a starter. Together with the separating clutch, it forms the compact hybrid module located between the combustion engine and the transmission.

The electric motor is connected to a nickel metal hydride (NiMh) battery where the electrical energy recovered while braking and driving is stored. Power transmission is handled by the familiar eight-speed Tiptronic S, with a wide spread of ratios, as already fitted to the Cayenne.

Price and specification

The Panamera S Hybrid goes on sale in the UK in June 2011, priced from £86,146. The low emissions of 159 g/km CO2 is of particular relevance to fleet and company car buyers as it sits under the Company Write Down Allowance threshold of 160g/km. This means for a company purchase, the price can be offset against tax at the rate of 20% per annum.

Equipment levels are suitably high as standard, including leather interior, Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM), Bi-Xenon headlights, front and rear ParkAssist, tyre pressure monitoring, automatic dimming rear view mirrors, Porsche Communication Management with touch-screen satellite navigation and audio controls, cruise control and a three year warranty. The Panamera S Hybrid also features adaptive air suspension as standard, plus the innovative display panel – already seen in the Cayenne Hybrid – that provides the driver with all the relevant information about the vehicle’s specific hybrid driving status.

Since its launch in 2009, Porsche have delivered over 30,000 Panameras worldwide with over 1,000 of these sold in the UK. Porsche will be hoping for the Panamera S Hybrid adding to that tally, but at £86,146 don’t expect to see many on the road – or hear them, if they happen to be ‘sailing’ along at 103 mph..

Porsche Boxster E

Joining the Panamera S Hybrid on Porsche’s Geneva stand will be the Boxster E Concept. Porsche will use three prototypes to showcase their latest zero-CO2 solutions provided by parent company VW which will act as a mobile laboratory to use in “..solving the practical problems of electric vehicles the way that our customers expect”, according to Matthias Müller, CEO of Porsche AG, at the launch of the Boxster E in Stuttgart on Monday.

Porsche Boxster E

The Boxster E is driven depending on its configuration by of up to two electric motors totalling 180 kW, providing the equivalent of 241 bhp and enabling the Boxster E to go from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds. A 29-kWh battery pack is used, which is said to provide up to 100 miles of zero-CO2 mobility per charge.

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