For the presentation of the 919 Hybrid LMP1 racing car at the pre-season test of the (WEC) World Endurance Championship 2017 in Monza, Italy, Porsche gathered its most powerful hybrid models in one place for the first time. The line-up comprise the 911 GT3 R Hybrid, 918 Spyder and new Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid.

For the first time, a plug-in hybrid vehicle represents the top of its model line. Already, the first four-seater sports car in the history of Porsche to have a purely electric powertrain is on the horizon, and is due to be launched before the end of the decade. The Mission E concept study, which Porsche presented at the Frankfurt IAA 2015, provided the blueprint for this project.

In 2010, Porsche presented the 911 GT3 R Hybrid with a specially developed hybrid system. A front-axle drive with two electric motors that each provided 60 kW (82 hp) supplemented the 480 hp and 4.0 liter six-cylinder flat engine in the rear. In the Evo version introduced in 2011, each of the two permanently activated synchronous motors contributed 102 hp. In braking phases the electric units reversed their function and worked as generators. As a result, they regained kinetic energy that otherwise would have been dispersed as waste heat. So, for the first time in motor racing it can be said: Whoever brakes, wins.

The recuperated energy drove a mechanical flywheel energy storage system in the form of another electric motor which, together with other hybrid components, was located in a carbon-fibre safety cell in the passenger space. The system was designed and manufactured by Williams Hybrid Power according to Porsche’s specifications, and achieved rotation speeds of 40,000 rpm.

With the hybridized 918 Spyder, in 2013 Porsche announced a development that in this decade will lead to the brand’s first purely electrically driven sports car, introducing a new era. The 918 Spyder offers high performance on the race track, but can also glide through the city exhaust-free and virtually without a sound. Thanks to its advanced plug-in hybrid design, it combines a system performance of 887 hp with a top speed of 345 km/h and an NEDC average fuel consumption of 3.1 liters/100 km. In 2013, the 918 Spyder became the first series-production sports car to break the seven-minute barrier on the Nürburgring Nordschleife. Its record lap time of 6.57 minutes was due, among other factors, to the additional thrust of its two electric motors and the power hybrid knowledge that Porsche had previously gained with the 911 GT3 R Hybrid.

In 2914, Porsche entered the WEC and Le Mans with the innovative 919 Hybrid LMP1. With system performance of over 900 hp, the 919 Hybrid, which was developed from the ground up and is extremely complex, is the fastest test laboratory and the most innovative racing car that Porsche has ever built.

From the beginning, its bold technical concept followed a clear objective: Optimum energy efficiency through the greatest possible effectiveness of all the components. This applies equally to the aerodynamics of the Le Mans prototypes and to the uncompromising lightweight construction of all the elements, particularly the energy recovery and drive systems; cutting-edge technologies that are of great importance for use in series-production models. These technologies include the 800-volt technology, which also distinguishes the purely electrically driven Mission E concept vehicle. The series-production version of the four-door sports car study will be launched before the end of the decade.

In view of the WEC technical regulations, which were introduced for the first time in 2014 and offer the 919 engineers great freedom for creative solutions, Porsche chose an unusual path: The hybrid drive is based on two different energy recovery systems. The first works relatively conventionally and was derived from the 911 GT3 R hybrid: A generator on the front axle transforms kinetic energy into electrical energy in braking phases. The second is more advanced and even today is unprecedented on the starting grid of the World Sports Car Championship because it accesses the thermodynamic energy of the exhaust gas flow.

The newest star in Porsche’s power-hybrid ensemble is the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. The four-door saloon celebrated its world premiere at the Geneva Motor Show at the beginning of March, and stands at the peak of its model line. The cooperation of the 4.0 liter V8 engine from the Panamera Turbo with the 136 hp electric motor results in total system power of 680 hp and outstanding power delivery: When just above idle speed, the Panamera Turbo already offers 850 Nm of torque. This allows it to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in 3.4 seconds and to reach a top speed of 310 km/h.

The liquid-cooled, lithium-ion high-voltage battery installed in the rear area has a capacity of 14.1 kWh. Via a 230-volt connection with ten amperes, it is completely charged within six hours. The optional on-board charger with an output of 7.2 kW shortens the charging process to 2.4 hours.

As in the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, the decoupler used in the Porsche hybrid module is actuated electromechanically by an electric clutch actuator (ECA). The advantage of this is the short response time and the high level of comfort. The boost strategy of the all-wheel-drive Panamera, which can travel up to 50 kilometres on electrical power alone, originates from the 918 Spyder super sports car.

The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid starts in purely electric “E-Power” mode by default. When a pressure point is passed in the accelerator pedal or when the battery charge level drops below a minimum value, the “Hybrid Auto” mode is activated. Then the power of both engines is available.

Edited: Porsche