If someone expected Porsche may be one of several brands leading the cost on plug-in hybrids back when Chevrolet launched the Volt in 2010-just as Porsche was debuting its first-ever production hybrid with the Cayenne-that person should be dealing futures on Wall Street. By replacing that SUV with this 2015 Cayenne S E-Hybrid plug-in, Porsche now has three plug-ins, more than any other car maker. Clearly, one of those three is a 918 Spyder, which isn’t exactly mainstream production. But still.
To get the Cayenne to plug-in status, Porsche basically grafted inside the Panamera E-Hybrid’s high-voltage battery, electric motor, and power electronics, upping the lithium-ion battery power to 10.8 kWh on the sedan’s 9.4. Otherwise, the powertrain is identical, through the Audi-sourced supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 on the Aisin eight-speed automatic. Torque is routed to all of four wheels with a limited-slip center differential with a rear-biased (58-percent) torque distribution.
The residual car is identical to the recently revamped Cayenne, with a few exceptions. The 282-pound battery, consisting of 104 individual cells, consumes the area normally available to an additional tire. Versus other Cayennes, the $77,395 E-Hybrid has two additional buttons on its center console. Selecting “E-Charge” prioritizes replenishing a depleted battery so future electric driving is possible. This increases fuel consumption by about 20 percent, in line with Porsche. In “E-Power” mode, though, the Cayenne moves solely at the single electric motor at speeds up to 78 mph. This ability is mainly aimed at European markets, where it enables users to prevent congestion fees in specific cities. Americans are able to utilize this silent-running mode to sneak through to friends or, at the minimum, valets.
Each time the Cayenne starts, it’s in E-Power mode by standard, assuming there's enough juice in the battery. Porsche claims that charging with a 240-volt hookup takes about three-and-a-half hours with the standard 3.6-kW charger; an optional 7.2-kW unit can reduce that to 90 minutes assuming you have access to a high-voltage feed.
Driving in a city will make it difficult to desire more power compared to electric motor manufactures. Maximum acceleration with all 416 gas-and-electric horses should return a zero-to-60-mph sprint well below six seconds, and a quarter-mile will pass in just over 14 ticks, as stated by Porsche. No too shabby for any two-and-a-half ton ute.
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