In case anyone has underestimated the level of complexity and innovation within the EV industry, the NY Times writes about three radically different hybrids being simultaneously developed by Porsche, a brand near-and-dear to my heart (I own an old 911). The differences among the three are startling and definitely a sign of things to come.
First, the Cayenne Hybrid, an SUV with a gas V6 and an electric motor that can work together (in parallel) with the gas engine or, surprisingly, alone in pure electric mode. While not a plug-in, nice to see electric-only mode being introduced to this class of vehicle.
Second, the 918 Spyder supercar prototype, which has a V8 gas engine plus two electric motors, one for the front wheels and one for the back, with plug-in charging capacity. 3.2 seconds to 60, and 78 miles per gallon? Well yes, but not all at the same time, and achieving 78 mpg will surely require a decidedly non-Porsche driving style.
Lastly, Porsche rocked the racing world with the GT3R Hybrid that almost won the 24 hours of Nurburgring last May. This 911 derivative is propelled by a traditional flat-six gas engine driving the rear wheels plus two electric motors driving each of the front wheels. The clever trick here is that the electric power is delivered not by batteries, but by a flywheel sitting in the passenger’s seat (or at least where a passenger seat would be in a normal car). The flywheel stores kinetic energy during braking that is released like a bolt of lightening at the touch of a button (perhaps just after a corner’s apex when looking to pass a pesky Ferrari). No, we’re not going to see 40,000 RPM flywheels in consumer cars anytime soon, but bless Porsche for fearlessly diving into EV technology in such a high-profile manner.
What’s next for Porsche? Reports of electric Boxsters and hybrid Panameras. Tesla was first to make EVs sexy, but looks like Porsche will be first to mass market electric sports cars.