Porsche Cayenne Hybrid Protoype0
The LA Auto Show was beginning to feel a birthday party for Ed Begley. Fuel cells, hybrids, bluetec, plug-ins, clean diesel. How about a brief introductory course in the “New European Driving Cycle”? While technology is making green more interesting all the time, you can’t replace horsepower with the warm and fuzzies of a green car. Thank God for Porsche. Certainly, our friends from Stuttgart won’t let us down. Wrong. Porsche came to the 2007 Los Angeles Auto Show with a green pitch, albeit somewhat tempered.
More interesting than Porsche’s green announcement, was the brief history lesson we received on Porsche’s role in the development of the world’s first hybrid vehicle… in 1901. Yep, 1901.
24-year-old Ferry Porsche introduced the world’s first zero-emission vehicle at the 1900 Parisian World Exhibition. Using a wheel hub electric motor design, with no transmission or gearbox, the design was revolutionary, and caused quite a stir. (On loan from the Technical Museum in Vienna, Austria, the vehicle will be displayed outside of Europe for the first time, at the Los Angeles Auto Show.) Less than a year later, the young inventor added two internal combustion engines to charge the front wheel hub motors, creating the world’s first hybrid vehicle. The vehicle was shown at the 1901 Parisian Auto Salon.
Porsche: The World’s First Electric Car
America’s Fixation with Hybrid Vehicles
Fast forward, 106 years. Porsche, like many other manufacturers, suffers from Prius envy. In an answer to America’s “Fixation with hybrid vehicles” Porsche rolled out the Cayenne SUV Hybrid Prototype, due out by the end of the decade.
In development of the Cayenne Hybrid, Porsche is targeting 24 miles per gallon, which would represent a 30 % decrease in fuel consumption. The vehicle will feature a full-hybrid design where the hybrid module (clutch and electric motor) is positioned between the engine and the transmission rather than having the hybrid drive train adjacent to the transmission. Porsche claims that this system allows the Cayenne hybrid to offer both improved acceleration and fuel efficiency.
Porsche plans to introduce similar hybrid technology in a version of its Panamera four-door Gran Turismo. The Panamera will debut in 2009, with the hybrid to follow. Ahhh. Green Porsches. No need to purchase carbon credits.