This hybrid Porsche can sail
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So far, the off-road vehicle Porsche Cayenne was considered a bad polluter. Now it is coming onto the market as a hybrid model with a petrol engine and an electric motor. However, this does not make it an eco-car, even if the occupants in it feel like they are on a sailing excursion.
D.The Schlager was popular in the 1960s, it could revive, even if meant differently. "My sweetheart wants to go sailing with me on Sunday, ”Wencke Myhre sang, and of course it was about a sailing boat. But if the song appears again in an advertisement from Porsche, then the focus is on car technology: The new Cayenne Hybrid can achieve a driving condition that corresponds to the word "sailing "is well described.
Sailing begins when the driver takes his foot off the accelerator and lets the car roll. Conventional cars lose some of their momentum due to the braking effect of the engine. In the Cayenne Hybrid, however, the combustion engine is switched off when the driver takes off the accelerator. The heavy off-road vehicle then rushes along, only disturbed by the resistance of the air and the tires.
When the engineers talk about it, it sounds unspectacular, but it’s an interesting experience, as a first test drive with the new Cayenne showed. The momentum has a tremendous effect, at high speed you could easily misjudge the remaining speed. But beyond 138 km / h, sailing is no longer possible anyway, due to technical considerations. Restarting the engine harmoniously and inconspicuously becomes more difficult the faster it has to work.
But that doesn’t matter, because the message behind the short sailing phases is also so clear: At this point the car does not use any gasoline and it does not emit any carbon dioxide or pollutants. That sounds good, as the Porsche Cayenne has always been the talk of the town because of its high consumption: According to the EU standard, the base model with 290 hp requires 13 liters of Super Plus per 100 kilometers. The heavy off-road vehicle is considered an antichrist turned sheet metal, only surpassed by the petrol destroyers of the American brand Hummer.
Late, but perhaps not too late, Porsche took up the idea of offering a car with a combination of gasoline and electric motor. Competitor Lexus, for example, will present the third generation of its hybrid off-road vehicle RX at the Geneva Motor Show in March. But now the Porsche engineers are working flat out. Driven by declining sales and shrinking profits, a correction of the image values is necessary from the point of view of Porsche boss Wendelin Wiedeking. There is a particular demand for environmentally friendly models in the USA, Japan and Germany. After the diesel version of the Cayenne, the new four-door Panamera sports sedan will also be available as a hybrid in its first generation.
The prospect of a sweeping change in values is doubtful, but what can be read on the consumption display during the first test drive of the Cayenne Hybrid is astonishing: The values drop below ten liters. In the production version, Porsche even wants to achieve less than nine liters and CO2 emissions of less than 210 grams per kilometer. For the Porsche Cayenne this is tantamount to a revolution, at Lexus meanwhile one calculates in other dimensions: The new RX 450h should only consume less than seven liters, with an output of a good 400 hp.
In the pre-production version of the Cayenne Hybrid, some details are not yet what customers should experience one day. During the first few meters, during which the off-road vehicle can advance using the power of the 46 hp electric motor alone, an accompanying noise can be heard when it is in electric mode. That should still be eliminated.
The most striking feature on the inside is the display that informs you whether the nickel-metal hydride battery is currently being charged or whether it is supporting the drive. Green arrows indicate charging, red arrows indicate that the gasoline engine is using fuel. Unfortunately, this display is housed at the bottom of the center console, which means that the driver is repeatedly distracted. In the production version, a simplified graphic in the instrument cluster is intended to provide additional information in front of the driver.
The V6 petrol engine and the electric motor bring it together to 374 hp and a torque of 550 Newton meters. The 2.4-tonner has reached 100 km / h after 6.8 seconds. The Cayenne Hybrid is playfully easy to accelerate, but with this model that is only of secondary importance. The goal is to save fuel.
"Neither of the two companies could have done it alone, ”says Michael H. Leiters, the overall project manager, and speaks of the cooperation between VW and Porsche in development. VW will use hybrid technology in the Touareg off-road vehicle. "The project is going extremely well, ”says Leiters. The word cooperation was taken literally, the subject areas were not divided up, but "we sat in the same boat in all individual areas ".
The development took around three years, and the result is a technological marvel, and not just for laypeople. In addition to the two motors and the battery, the most important component is the so-called hybrid manager, the car’s brain, which coordinates more than 20,000 pieces of data. The sensitive switching on and off of the petrol engine is also controlled via the hybrid manager.
If necessary, the petrol engine is started within 300 milliseconds while driving, but without any noticeable jolt while driving. "Not even the coffee spills over", says project manager leader. But the most beautiful thing is to sail there by car. Without consumption, without engine noise. For future owners of a Cayenne Hybrid, that doesn’t have to be limited to Sundays.
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