If a person expected Porsche might be one of several types leading the charge on plug-in hybrids back when Chevrolet launched the Volt in 2010-just as Porsche was debuting its first-ever production hybrid using 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 is now offering three plug-ins, much more than some other car maker. Obviously, one of those three is a 918 Spyder, which isn’t exactly mainstream production. But still.
To obtain the Cayenne to plug-in status, Porsche basically grafted in the Panamera E-Hybrid’s high-voltage battery, electric motor, and power electronics, upping the lithium-ion battery power to 10.8 kWh with the sedan’s 9.4. Otherwise, the powertrain is alike, with the Audi-sourced supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 for 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 similar on the currently revamped Cayenne, with a few exceptions. The 282-pound battery, consisting of 104 individual cells, consumes the space normally available to an extra 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 in the single electric motor at speeds up to 78 mph. This ability is mainly directed at European markets, where it allows users to avert congestion fees in particular cities. Americans can use this silent-running mode to sneak standing on friends or, at minimum, valets.
Each time the Cayenne starts, it’s in E-Power mode by standard, assuming you will find enough juice inside the battery. Porsche claims that charging with a 240-volt hookup takes about three-and-a-half hours using the standard 3.6-kW charger; an optional 7.2-kW unit can reduce that to 90 minutes if you've got admission to a high-voltage feed.
Driving in a city makes it hard to desire more power than the electric motor produces. Maximum acceleration along with 416 gas-and-electric horses should return a zero-to-60-mph sprint well below six seconds, plus a quarter-mile will pass in just over 14 ticks, according to Porsche. No too shabby for the two-and-a-half ton ute.
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