2013 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

For the second generation of its Gran Turismo line, Porsche is introducing the world’s first plug-in hybrid to the luxury class with an additional Panamera variant – the Panamera S E-Hybrid. Said to set new standards in efficiency, performance and operating convenience, the Panamera S E-Hybrid is a systematically advanced development of the parallel full hybrids with a more powerful electric motor, a higher-performance battery that supplies more energy and the ability for its battery pack to be recharged externally from a domestic power socket or recharging kiosk.

The electric drive produces 95 bhp – more than double the power of the previous model’s electric motor – and draws its energy from a newly-developed 9.4 kWh lithium-ion battery which has over 5 times the energy capacity of the previous battery which used nickel metal hydride technology. When connected to an external electrical supply (industrial-duty outlet), it can be recharged within 2.5 hours via the integrated on-board charger and the standard Porsche Universal Charger (AC). Recharging time will be longer (less than four hours) when connected to a conventional household electrical 240V outlet.

The Panamera S E-Hybrid is claimed to far exceed the driving performance of the previous model. In addition, when compared to the previous model’s NEDC fuel consumption, this new model has better 56% fuel consumption at 32.2 kms/litre.

At the same time, its all-electric driving performance is substantially improved with regard to electric acceleration, the electric range and electric top speed. An intensive pure electric driving experience is possible without any fuel consumption or local emissions, which is especially advantageous in the urban environment. The driving range using just the electric motor has been found to be 36 kms in NEDC-based testing. Driving range may vary in real operation, since air conditioning and heating are deactivated in NEDC test conditions, for example. Porsche says that a realistic all-electric driving range in everyday operation would lie somewhere between 18 and 36 kms, or better depending on various factors.

The top speed of the car is 270 km/h but a maximum of 135 km/h is claimed to be possible when running all-electric operation while the acceleration time (which also brings the new 3-litre V6 bi-turbo petrol engine into operation) from standstill to 100 km/h is 5.5 seconds. The electric boost function helps here, in which the performance of the electric motor boosts that of the combustion engine. Boosting can also be activated by kick-down – such as in overtaking situations. The parallel full hybrid concept developed by Porsche also offers “coasting” at higher speeds, which refers to free coasting with the internal combustion engine shut off and energy recovery by generating electricity.

The Panamera S E-Hybrid also embodies an entirely new range of convenience functions, which can also be activated and called up by a smartphone app. In addition, the auxiliary climate control option of the plug-in hybrid enables car preheating or cooling via Porsche Car Connect; it can be programmed in the vehicle or even more conveniently via the app.

A smartphone may also be used for battery management or for remote access to vehicle information such as the remaining driving range or for guiding users back to their parked vehicles. All functions that are not specific to the hybrid drive are also available as options for the other Panamera models via the Car Connect smart phone app from Porsche.

The V6 bi-turbo engine replaces the previous 4.8-litre V8 unit (also for the Panamera S and Panamera 4S). Its basic parameters themselves are indicators of progress: 20 bhp more power and 20 Nm more torque, but up to 18% better fuel economy compared to the V8 engine. This not only gives the driver a more powerful and efficient engine but turbocharging helps generate up to 520 Nm, available over a very broad range of engine speeds for a superior and uniform power curve, even at low revs.

Most Panamera models are equipped with the 7-speed Porsche Doppelkupplung PDK. The 8-speed automatic Tiptronic S is used for the Panamera Diesel and Panamera S E-Hybrid. This transmission creates optimal conditions for further development of other efficiency functions. For example, the extended start-stop function now deactivates the engine earlier while coasting to a stop, which saves more fuel.

The new generation of the Panamera is scheduled to be launched in Malaysia sometime during the third quarter of this year.

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[by Chips Yap]