All future Porsches will be available with the option of petrol-electric drive, according to the German car maker.
A next-generation hybrid drive module, which combines an electric motor and clutches in one unit and was revealed at Porsche’s recent Panamera Hybrid technology workshop, has been designed to fit into all of the manufacturer’s future cars, including the 911.
The module will make its production debut in the Porsche 918 Spyder hypercar.
The new Panamera S E-Hybrid is billed as an advance on the first-generation Panamera Hybrid. It run on pure battery power and the electric motor is more powerful. With both motors running, the E-Hybrid has a top speed of 168mph and an electric-only top speed of 84mph. Despite this, CO2 emissions are rated at 71g/km. It can travel between 11 and 23 miles on battery power alone.
The Panamera S E-Hybrid differs from the previous Panamera Hybrid, but Porsche has also outlined plans for the next-generation plug-in hybrid. The system will be integrated into a new rear/all-wheel drive platform, called MSB, which is also set to underpin other Panamera and Bentley models. That means the first Bentley hybrid - probably the new Flying Spur - should arrive in 2017.
The next-generation hybrid module will be more powerful than the 94bhp electric motor in the Panamera S E-Hybrid. It will be both water and air-cooled, and backed up by a more energy-dense battery pack and other improvements including a lighter wiring loom, which will use aluminium instead of copper wires.
Porsche is also working on an induction charger that can be installed in a domestic garage floor. The system allows the battery to be recharged simply by being in the proximity of the charger, eliminating the need for charging cables.
Porsche’s move is part of its plans to reduce fuel use during everyday driving. Porsche says its “new parameter” for fuel saving is reducing the engine’s “revolutions per kilometre”. In the first phase, exemplified by the plug-in Panamera, reducing engine revs per kilometre involves conventional stop-start, plus coasting, engine-off coasting and running on battery power.
In the next stage, due in 2016-2017, Porsches will interact intelligently with their surroundings using information from detailed maps, including accurately measured inclines and the radius of approaching corners. This data will allow the cars to select automatically the optimum driving mode (from Electric, Hybrid, Charging and Sport modes) for the situation.
In future, it seems, Porsche’s hybrid models will be making many of the driving decisions, including deciding the balance of power between the engine, battery and the effects of kinetic energy and gravity.
The Panamera S E-Hybrid’s newly developed hybrid unit combines an electric motor and a dry clutch pack to deliver 94bhp — twice the power of the electric motor in the previous Panamera Hybrid. It is also much lighter than the old set-up and, interestingly, is claimed to be 91 per cent efficient.
The supercharged 3.0-litre V6 meets stringent EU6 emissions regs by means of a clever cold-start strategy. The engine runs for 30sec or so before it connects to the transmission, letting the catalytic converters reach their operating temperature. Only after that will the engine mesh with the drivetrain. In the meantime, the car can move off on battery power alone.
The hybrid module is installed between the otherwise conventional engine and transmission. The upshot is that the engine is mounted slightly further forward, but overall weight distribution isn’t adversely affected due to the battery pack’s location in the tail.
Porsche’s familiar eight-speed automatic has been used “without component modification”, although new shifting programmes have been developed to cope with the two power units and different drive modes.
High tension cables and cooling system
There are 54 metres of high-tension electric cables on the E-Hybrid. The next-generation version of the hybrid transmission will use aluminium cables to reduce weight. There are also three cooling circuits. A high-temperature unit deals with the engine, one low-temperature unit is for the oil cooler and power electronics module, and the third unit can both heat and cool the battery pack.
There are four driver-selectable driving modes: Full Electric, Hybrid, Charging (while driving) and Sport.
Panamera Hybrid apps
Porsche has designed an app to communicate with the E-Hybrid via smartphone. It can be used for a number of functions, including the timing of the charging, pre-cooling or pre-heating the cabin and even remotely locking and remotely folding the door mirrors.
High-voltage, 9.4kW, lithium ion battery pack is made up of eight modules with 13 cells in each. It is surrounded by a cooling jacket connected to the air-con system. A separate electric heater is used to keep the battery in its optimum temperature range of 20deg C to 44deg C.
The E-Hybrid comes with two charging cables: one for home and one for industrial charging. The 3.6kW on-board charger will replenish the battery in 3.8 hours from a domestic socket, or 2.3 hours from an industrial feed.
A smart-looking casing for the charging cable has been styled by sister company Porsche Design.