2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-HybridEnlarge Photo
Its customers and employees know, but the rest of the world may not quite have realized that Porsche will soon sell six separate plug-in hybrid models.
They span three different vehicles—the Porsche Panamera large sedan, the Panamera Sport Turismo shooting brake, and the Cayenne sport utility vehicle—and a pair of powertrains for each.
In addition to the standard E-Hybrid system now paired with all-wheel drive, a more powerful Turbo S E-Hybrid model producing 680 horsepower will top the range for each.
E-Hybrid models have brought more new buyers to the Porsche brand than any other, said Klaus Zellmer, president and CEO of Porsche's North American operations.
He spoke to Green Car Reports in an interview during this week's Los Angeles auto show media days.
Those buyers are more interested in the latest technology, Zellmer suggested, see the E-Hybrid as the most technically advanced of the Porsche range and are deeply interested in data on its fuel consumption and energy use.
But the expanding roster of plug-in hybrid Porsches is just the first step in a plan of converting its lineup over to plug-in electric vehicles that will proceed at a lightning-quick pace.
The company, Zellmer said, expects that by 2025—just seven years hence—fully half of its global sales volume will have plugs.
Plug-in hybrids will make up the majority of those cars, at perhaps 70 or 75 percent, he said. But "in our lifetime," Zellmer suggested, "battery-electric vehicles will take over."
Audi, Porsche's higher-volume VW Group sibling, said two years ago that 25 percent of its sales by 2025 would be plug-in cars—but Porsche's plans are far more aggressive yet.
The first entry will be the production version of the Porsche Mission E, the concept for an all-electric sport sedan smaller than the Panamera, that will debut in 2020.
Work on that car is well underway, Zellmer said, and it will offer two specifications that will reassure Porsche buyers that owning and driving an electric car won't require any compromises.
Audi of America president Scot Keogh with Audi e-tron quattro concept, 2015 Los Angeles auto showEnlarge Photo
The first is a range that will be at least 300 miles, probably around 320, he said, a number high enough to alleviate any range anxiety among buyers with long commutes and unpredictable daily travel patterns.
The second is fast charging of a speed so far not seen in any production vehicle: an 800-volt system operating at up to 350 kilowatts that will recharge even the largest battery packs to 80 percent of capacity in less than 20 minutes.
So where will such a network of public charging stations come from, given that many Porsche buyers likely know Tesla owners who've demonstrated the Supercharger network.
There will actually be three ways that Porsche electric-car drivers can charge on road trips, Zellmer suggested.
The first and earliest is likely to be the U.S. network of 189 Porsche dealers, all of which will have the 350-kw fast-charging stations by the time the production Mission E launches
Second is the Electrify America project, VW Group's $2 billion, 10-year project to build nationwide electric-car charging infrastructure, which will include a variety of charging speeds and be open to the public at large.
Detail from first of four phases of VW 'Electrify America' zero-emission vehicle infrastructure planEnlarge Photo