How the Porsche Panamera Hybrid Works

Porsche Panamera Hybrid Version

"One of the hallmarks of Porsche is trying to find efficiencies," company spokesman Gary Fong said. The Panamera was designed with a hybrid system in mind. With the addition of the hybrid version, the company expects to infuse a fuel-efficient car with a performance flavor.

The system in the Panamera sedan will be a parallel hybrid system. In other words, the car can be driven by the gas engine, electric power or both at the same time. This flexibility means there are times when the Panamera is a zero-emissions vehicle.

In the Panamera's setup, the battery unit will be located below the luggage compartment in the trunk, and the electric motor will be between the engine and transmission [source: Porsche].

But, as you may have guessed, the Panamera's hybrid system has a little more "oomph" to it than your average Toyota Prius. The Panamera Hybrid can drive on electric power alone to up to 70 miles per hour (112.7 kilometers per hour). Also, the driver won't notice when the car switches from gas to electric power, according to Fong. But the boost of the electric motor will give the gasoline V-6 engine a surge in power. "The horsepower and torque ratings are right up there with a V-8, but you get the fuel economy of a much smaller vehicle," Fong said.

The EPA hasn't yet rated the Panamera's fuel efficiency in either standard or hybrid form, so it's tough to estimate just what fuel economy it will achieve. The similar system on the Cayenne SUV hybrid will get an estimated 30 percent improvement in fuel economy, perhaps getting about 25 miles per gallon (10.6 kilometers per liter). Since the Panamera will weigh less than the big Cayenne, it will likely get better gas mileage, too -- 30 miles per gallon (12.8 kilometers per liter) seems possible [source: Johnson].

Even the regular, non-hybrid Panamera has a uniquely green feature: an idle-stop system. When the car is idling for a certain length of time, like when it sits in traffic or at a long stop light, the engine switches itself off. As soon as the driver steps on the gas pedal, the car instantly restarts and is on its way. This system is designed to save gas, but its main priority is reducing emissions.

The Porsche Panamera Hybrid isn't the only "green" super-sedan out there. In the next section, we'll see what the competition offers.