If someone expected Porsche would be one of the 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 with 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 now has three plug-ins, greater than another car maker. Of course, one of those three is the 918 Spyder, which isn’t exactly mainstream production. But still.
To obtain the Cayenne to plug-in status, Porsche basically grafted within 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 similar, with the Audi-sourced supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 to the Aisin eight-speed automatic. Torque is routed to all four wheels using a limited-slip center differential using a rear-biased (58-percent) torque distribution.
The rest of the car is identical for 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 feasible. 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 mostly targeted at European markets, where it allows buyers to prevent congestion fees in certain cities. Americans will be able to utilize this silent-running mode to sneak through to friends or, at the least, valets.
Anytime the Cayenne starts, it’s in E-Power mode by standard, assuming there is enough juice in 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 assuming you have admission to a high-voltage feed.
Driving in a city makes it hard to desire more power than the electric motor produces. Maximum acceleration with all 416 gas-and-electric horses should return a zero-to-60-mph sprint well below six seconds, along with a quarter-mile will pass in just over 14 ticks, as stated by Porsche. No too shabby for a two-and-a-half ton ute.
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