Porsche Shows Off Cayenne HybridS

Porsche showed off a pre-production version of its new Cayenne Hybrid to journos today. Here's the takeaway: It can go off road. That's a bold statement, considering there's not a single other hybrid SUV certified for rough duty. (Outside military applications, natch.) According to some in attendance, the Cayenne Hybrid can ford 20 inches of water without shorting out like a black-and-white TV left in the rain. Mileage is reportedly improved by 20%, with additional savings planned by launch. A joint development with Volkswagen, the system will also be used in other VW/Audi and Porsche products — including the coming Porsche Panamera. The chaps at Motor Trend lay out the unique tech involved. [Motor Trend]

Press Release:

ATLANTA, July 26, 2007 —- Porsche, a company renown for its high-performance sports cars and sport utility vehicles (SUV), this week in Stuttgart demonstrated to the media a Cayenne SUV hybrid prototype, providing a glimpse of what the company will offer to consumers by the end of the decade.

Porsche is targeting average fuel consumption figures of 9.8 liters/100 kilometers in the New European Driving Cycle and about 24 miles per gallon in the US FTP cycle for the Cayenne Hybrid, and future developments may allow Porsche engineers to push towards an average fuel consumption figure of 8.9 liters/kilometer (approximately 26 miles per gallon).

The Cayenne Hybrid will feature a full-hybrid design where the hybrid module (clutch and electric motor) is positioned between the combustion engine and the transmission rather than having the hybrid drivetrain branching output along various lines and in various directions via a planetary gearset. Porsche selected this design because the in-line configuration of the hybrid components are more compatible with the existing Cayenne platform, this system in testing is more fuel efficient, and because this configuration is a better fit for Porsche as it will provide improved acceleration and engine flexibility compared to a conventional Cayenne.

Coordinating the car's three main components - the combustion engine, the electric motor and the battery - is the Hybrid Manager, the heart of the Cayenne Hybrid. The Hybrid Manager, which oversees some 20,000 data parameters as compared to only 6,000 data parameters for a conventional engine, is one of the most powerful technologies found in any hybrid vehicle.

Other unique features of the Cayenne Hybrid designed to decrease fuel consumption include the power steering and vacuum pump for the brakes, as well as the air conditioning, which operate on electric power. Technical components, such as the oil pump in the Cayenne's automatic transmission, have been replaced by electrically powered units. The Cayenne Hybrid's electro-hydraulic steering - a first for a vehicle of its kind, will ensure the Cayenne Hybrid drives like a Porsche with predictable and safe handling characteristics and the agility that is expected of a Porsche SUV.

Porsche plans to introduce similar hybrid technology in a version of its Panamera four-door Gran Turismo. The Panamera will debut in 2009, with a hybrid to follow.