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Porsche Focusing On Plug-In Hybrid Technology, Says Top Executive

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Porsche 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid supercar

Porsche 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid supercar

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Like many premium automakers, Porsche has been working on hybrid and plug-in hybrid technology for some time now. 

But at the recent Vienna Motor Symposium, Porsche Executive Wolfgang Hatz reiterated that the German automaker views plug-in hybrids as a real part of its future, not just a science-fair project.

“Porsche is focusing on the deployment of plug-in hybrid technology in production,” Hatz confirmed, noting that although Porsche was keen to expand its electrification in hybrid models, “the combustion engine will continue to play a vital role for the drive system of sports cars in the foreseeable future.”

In other words, Porsche remains cool towards electric-only cars, but views hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars as essential to its future.

Why? 

As with many luxury and premium automakers, hybrid and plug-in hybrid drivetrains allow Porsche to continue to produce high-performance sports cars while meeting tough emissions targets.  Plug-in hybrid models will also enable Porsche to retain its sales figures in cities where zero-emissions cordons prevent access to all except plug-in cars, even if that's only with 15 miles of electric range. 

In simple terms, hybrid drivetrains provide Porsche with the instant torque of and high low-speed acceleration of an electric motor, while retaining the power of a gasoline engine at higher speeds. 

For customers too, hybrid drivetrains offer increased gas mileage, something that Hatz credits as being a driving factor towards positive sales figures of its existing Panamera and Cayenne hybrids. 

“The sales figures for the Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid for 2011 are more than twice as high as the figures for all our competitors combined in this market segment,” he said. 

With its 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid sports car already planned for a U.S. launch by the end of 2013, Porsche is well under way to making its first commercial plug-in hybrid. 

Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

Porsche 918 Spyder Concept

Enlarge Photo

But which car will be next to get the hybrid or plug-in hybrid treatment? 

Porsche won’t say, but we’d expect its existing hybrids are ideal candidates for plug-in upgrades, while the thought of combining the powerful 911-Turbo S with a powerful hybrid electric drivetrain leaves us positively tingling in anticipation. 

Until we see plug-in hybrid Porsches at dealers however, Porsche’s plug-in future remains just as much about emissions compliance as so many other plug-in vehicles being touted by eager automakers this year. 

Moreover, Porsche's plug-in future doesn't really depend on Porsche: It depends on the Volkswagen group, which Porsche has yet to legally become part of but is in the process of joining. 

Does Porsche’s future really include an array of plug-in hybrids? 

Let us know your thoughts in the Comments below. 

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Comments (7)
  1. Porsche getting green, oh please.

    It is worth pointing out that all of Porsche's attempts to be green are extremely lame and should be called out as green washing.

    I can get a Porsche Cayenne hybrid to take little Suzie and Tommie to soccer and get 20 MPG or a Lexus 450H with 32 MPG (60% better), now which might be seen as reasonably green?

    Never mind that fact that I might get a Prius V with 44 mpg that would likely do the same job and be 120% more efficient.

    Oh yeah, Porsche is going green.
     
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  2. Hey you shouldn't kick dirt at them, at least they're getting started.
     
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  3. Where is the balance in this article? It has to be said that Porsche is not very green, hence the comment. All the positive sides are covered in the loving article.
     
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  4. Is anything ever truly perfect?
     
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  5. Their current hybrids aren't plugin, so yeah, their mpg isn't very good. The plugins should be considerably better.

    They've also been running a very successful hybrid race car in endurance races for a while now, and they've been testing all-electric Boxsters. Not to mention how awesome the 918 is. Looks to me like they're taking small but positive steps toward green, and should be commended for it.
     
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  6. Porsche is being accused of building performance cars (of all things!!). Last time I saw a definition, that IS Porsche. But considering the price point of their cars, one would think they would see the point (performance-wise)of the Tesla vehicle architecture, even if it will require lower battery price points to become mass marketable. Irregardless, Porsche sells so few vehicles that anything they would do would have near zero impact on anything. Griping about Porsche seems pretty irrelevant.
     
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  7. Well, Tesla sells even fewer vehicles.
     
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