If recent rumblings prove true, it looks like we will be seeing a plug-in hybrid version of Porsche’s Panamera sedan as soon as 2014.
While it remains unconfirmed, Automotive News reports that Porsche could be giving the Panamera the old hybrid makeover and shipping it off for American shores in as little as two years time.
Of course, such a move seems more than likely given plans by Volkswagen – who own almost 50 percent of Porsche – to bring to market a hybrid version of both the Audi Q7 and Passat sometime in 2014. Speaking to reporters earlier this month at the Geneva Auto Show, Audi CEO Rupert Stradler all but confirmed the company’s plans to introduce an A3 plug-in hybrid in that time frame as well.
Moreover, it’s no secret that hybrid cars are picking up traction among automakers and consumers looking for better fuel economy, while at the same time reducing their impact on the environment. But while some manufacturers like Nissan and Tesla have thrown in with the pure electric camp, offering all-electric vehicles that need to be plugged in and charged, others, like Toyota and Honda, have taken a different approach by utilizing a gasoline and electric propulsion system in tandem to power their hybrids without the need to plug them in.
According to Rudolf Krebs, Volkswagen’s chief officer for electric traction, the German auto group is looking to take an approach similar to Chevrolet and its Volt, which is powered by an electric motor and battery pack, and is supplemented by a gasoline engine to extend vehicle range and charge the car’s battery.
Such a maneuver, according to Krebs, would be twofold: overall range would be boosted with the presence of an internal-combustion engine for longer trips, while shorter jaunts would be handled through the car’s electrical battery.
While Volkswagen and Porsche’s approach make perfect sense, we’d like to see a more aggressive electrification strategy from VW, rather than fall back on combustion engines for improved range. Still, given the electric vehicle market is still in a state of relative infancy – albeit growing — the move to ease consumers into cars that depend more and more on alternative energy is understandable.