Porsche range: all-hybrid future

Technology from the Porsche 918 Spyder looks set to reach the Panamera, 911, Cayman, Boxster and more

‘The 918 Spyder is the gene pool of Porsche sports cars of the future.’ With those words, Dr Gernot Dollner, Porsche’s director of the Panamera product line and 918 project leader, introduced a technical presentation of the new plug-in Panamera S E-Hybrid, part of Porsche's plans to transfer the plug-in hybrid technology from the 918 Spyder to the rest of the company's models.

Although the new hybrid Panamera has up to 410bhp and 425lb ft of torque at its disposal (and a 0-62mph time of just 5.5sec), this two-tonne car is subject to minimal taxation thanks to its 71g/km emissions rating – a figure that also exempts it from the London Congestion Charge. However, even though this car won’t arrive in the UK until the summer, its hybrid componentry is already ostensibly out of date, as Porsche has a much-improved electric motor ready.

The Panamera’s electric motor produces over 90bhp, but the next-gen unit will put out closer to 130bhp, as well as 300lb ft of torque from a standing start. Given that the Panamera S E-Hybrid can, on electric power alone, accelerate to 30mph in 5.1sec and cruise at 84mph, this bodes well for future models. The next-generation system, as used in the 918, features both water and air cooling to help enhance its performance while minimising weight gains.

Weight is still an issue for electric propulsion, though, and it’ll play a bigger part in the smaller models this hybrid technology could reach. Porsche engineers admit that in the short-term it’ll be difficult to reduce the weight of electric motors or batteries while maintaining performance and range targets, so the wiring harness and other car components are being scrutinised for savings instead. The distribution of that weight is just as important; the 918 Spyder was designed around its powertrain, but that may not be possible with other models as conventional engines will remain the bigger sellers for some time yet.

Porsche also used the introduction of the hybrid Panamera to present its new measure of efficiency: engine revolutions per kilometre. In effect, the fewer revs needed at any given moment, the better. That admittedly doesn’t sound like a recipe for evo cars, but Porsche is keen to stress that this development should not come at the expense of emotion or performance.

Plug-in hybrid technology significantly reduces the engine revolutions per kilometre quotient, but the next step holds a glimmer of hope for driving thrill-seekers. Porsche intends to use GPS data, including the radius of bends and the elevation of hills, to help cars automatically choose the most efficient driving mode. This data isn’t likely to reach the mass market for four years, but there’s no reason why this information couldn’t also be used to enhance the driving experience, too.

Recommended

Porsche 911 review
Porsche 911 Carrera S track front angle
Porsche 911

Porsche 911 review

The latest Porsche 911 is more complete than ever, but it takes time to discover its character
11 Jan 2021
Porsche 911 Carrera S manual 2020 review – immersion therapy
Porsche 911 Carrera S manual blue -
Porsche 911 coupe

Porsche 911 Carrera S manual 2020 review – immersion therapy

A manual gearbox brings welcome additional driver involvement to the 992, but it’s not without its drawbacks
5 Dec 2020
Is this a new Porsche 911 Safari?
Porsche 911 coupe

Is this a new Porsche 911 Safari?

Tall ride height and wheelarch extensions suggest a surprise 911 derivative could be coming
22 Oct 2020
Porsche 911 RSR v GT3 R v GT3 Cup - track-only 911s driven
Porsche 911

Porsche 911 RSR v GT3 R v GT3 Cup - track-only 911s driven

They’re aimed at different levels of motorsport, but what exactly separates Porsche’s 911 RSR, GT3 R and GT3 Cup models, and what are they like to dri…
20 Sep 2020

Most Popular

BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe vs Audi RS7 Sportback – battle of the alt-supersaloon
Audi RS7 vs M8 Comp GC - cornering
BMW

BMW M8 Competition Gran Coupe vs Audi RS7 Sportback – battle of the alt-supersaloon

BMW's grandest of M8 Competition Gran Coupes takes on our impressive fast-fleet Audi RS7
16 Jan 2021
'Traction control, ABS, airbags, lights, – one press of a button and they're all off. We're better off without them'
Richard Porter opinion
Opinion

'Traction control, ABS, airbags, lights, – one press of a button and they're all off. We're better off without them'

The Common Sense Car offers a glimmer of hope for British sports car lovers
19 Jan 2021
Limited-run Jaguar F-type Reims Edition revealed
Jaguar F-type Reims Edition
Jaguar F-Type

Limited-run Jaguar F-type Reims Edition revealed

Jaguar’s new limited-run F-type Reims Edition references past motorsport triumph
18 Jan 2021