The world’s first car with a hybrid powertrain, built by Ferdinand Porsche in 1898.

Although cars which have hybrid powertrains consisting of an internal combustion engine and an electric motor have been mass produced since the late 1990s when Toyota and Honda introduced the Prius and Insight, respectively, Ferdinand Porsche built the world’s first car with a hybrid powertrain that used electricity for power 100 years earlier.

It was the Lohner-Porsche, a racing car with electric motors behind each front wheel and it was built in 1898. In the 100 years that followed, Porsche didn’t consider hybrids as it built up its legendary image as a sportscar manufacturer.

It was only in 2005 that it began working on a hybrid powertrain which was finally commercialised in 2010 with the Cayenne S Hybrid. Since then, the company has given much more attention to hybrids, even using the powertrain in its Le Mans racing cars. As it follows the industry’s electrification trend, its hybrid range is expanding and a plug-in hybrid variant of the new Cayenne generation has now been announced.

Said to combine the best driving dynamics in its class with maximum efficiency, the new Cayenne E-Hybrid has a 3-litre V6 engine (340 ps) and an electric motor (100 kW) which together generate system power of 340 kW (462 ps). The maximum torque of 700 Nm is available just above idling speed and its boost strategy matches that of the 918 Spyder supercar.

The boost strategy allows the electric motor to be used in all the standard Sport Chrono Package’s driving modes for an additional performance boost. Depending on the driving situation and performance requirements, drivers can continue to draw on the boost torque across the entire range of speeds.

Acceleration time from 0 to 100 km/h is claimed to be 5 seconds with a maximum speed of 253 km/h. The range on just electricity is claimed to be 44 kms at a speed of 135 km/h. Battery capacity has improved significantly in the Cayenne E-Hybrid, along with the distance on electricity and the boost reserves.

The fluid-cooled battery pack, stored beneath the loading floor in the rear of the car, consists of 8 cell modules with 13 prismatic lithium-ion cells each. Being a plug-in hybrid, the battery pack can be recharged within 7.8 hours via a 230V external power supply with 10 amps. if the optional 7.2 kW on-board charger and a 230V supply with 32 amps are used, full recharging is possible within 2.3 hours.

The Cayenne E-Hybrid’s drivetrain has been redesigned. In contrast to the previous electro-hydraulic system with the spindle actuator, the separating clutch is operated electromechanically for even faster reaction times. The transmission acquires the new Tiptronic S, newly developed for the entire Cayenne range with 8 speeds. The new gearbox not only offers even more comfortable and smoother starting but also significantly speeds up switching. Interruption of tractive force during switching processes has also been reduced further.

With Porsche Traction Management, the Cayenne E-Hybrid has an active hang-on all-wheel drive with an electronically regulated, map-controlled multiplate clutch. With its broad range of torque distribution, the system offers clear benefits in terms of driving dynamics, agility, traction control and off-road capabilities. Thanks to the brand new chassis, Cayenne E-Hybrid also has the same sportscar driving dynamics as all other variants of the new Cayenne generation which was launched in August last year and arrived in Malaysian showrooms in January this year.

Click here to read more about Porsche’s very first hybrid car.

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[Chips Yap]

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