A growing number of luxury and sports cars are going green, and Porsche is leading the charge with hybrid versions of its cars. A plug-in version is coming soon to complement the existing Panamera hybrid, among other models.
Lean green and mean
The onus from the public is for cars to be fuel efficient and environmentally friendly without sacrificing fun. One of the car makers leading the charge is Porsche, which currently has two hybrid versions of its cars, the Panamera S Hybrid and Cayenne S Hybrid SUV, both of which sip at the tank compared to competing models and produce more than 380 horsepower.
Porsche, according to Car and Driver, is going to augment the lineup by adding a Panamera plug-in hybrid in time for the 2014 model year. It isn’t clear whether it will replace the standard Panamera hybrid or be a complimentary model, but a Cayenne plug-in hybrid, according to Automobile magazine, may join it.
Small electric range
Like other plug-in hybrids, the all electric range is not impressive. According to MotorTrend magazine, the all-electric range of the Panamera plug-in model could be around 12 miles before the gas motor kicks in as a range-extending generator.
Assuming the engine will be the same, it will be a supercharged V-6. The current Panamera hybrid produces 333 horsepower from the engine alone, with a further 47 horsepower coming from the electric motor which in the standard Panamera hybrid is powered by a nickel-hydride battery pack. In the plug-in version, it should be changed to a lithium-ion battery pack like in other plug-in electric hybrids and electric cars.
The maximum $7,500 credit for buying a hybrid is not likely to take much sting off the purchase price. The base Panamera hybrid starts at $95,000 before options.
Part of corporate strategy
Due to Porsche being 49.9 percent owned by Volkswagen, according to AutoBlog, Porsche is benefiting from VW’s drive to add hybrid and electric technology to more of its brands. Besides the electric Golf, there are plug-in versions of the Audi Q7 and A3 coming down the pike as well.
Porssche is working on a highly anticipated hybrid besides the Panamera, the 918 Spyder. The 918 Spyder, according to AutoBlog, is a plug-in hybrid that uses two electric motors to drive the front and rear wheels, supplanted by a 570 horsepower V-8. The electric motors kick out an extra 200, and electric-only mode engages the car in front-wheel drive, which Porsche aficionados deem blasphemous. This mean machine may be green, but it will take a lot of green to take one home. According to MotorTrend, it’s anticipated to more than $750,000.