Footnote Today – October 3, 2013: Porsche Charged Up About New Panamera Plug-in

Porsche Charged Up About New Panamera Plug-in

Porsche is charged up about the opportunities for its new plug-in hybrid, the 2014 Panamera S-E, with sales forecast to nearly double those of the conventional hybrid model it will replace.

The S-E is one of 10 different versions of the 2014 Porsche Panamera – nine of which the maker plans to offer in the United States. With its lithium-ion battery pack, the new S-E model will be able to go an estimated 22 miles per charge while operating in battery-only mode at speeds up to 84 mph.

But unlike other plug-ins currently on the market, there’s no real trade-off in performance, the coupe-like sedan launching from 0 to 60 in 5.2 seconds, according to Porsche.

“It’s a real Porsche, and a Porsche must go really fast,” even if it is powered by batteries, said Stefan Utsch, director of sales and marketing for the Panamera line.

Porsche became the first German automaker to put a plug-in into production when the Panamera S-E reached European showrooms in August. U.S. sales begin in November at a price of $99,000. The vehicle qualifies for a $4,750 federal tax credit, due to the size of its battery — a 9.4 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion pack – and additional incentives in states like California.

The 2013 Panamera S conventional hybrid came in at $93,200 during the 2013 model-year. But as a result of the federal tax credit – and when factoring in standard equipment added to the Panamera S-E, such as its adaptive suspension – Porsche officials contend that the plug-in actually costs about $2,000 less.

Source: The Detroit Bureau

Footnote – How Active Is the Porsche Panamera S-E?

While some vibrations may be good for blood circulation of car occupants and help make the driver feel engaged with the act of driving itself, the vertical movements of a car impacted directly from those of the wheels (or tires in contact with the road) need to be fewer and even so. Otherwise, driving (or riding a car) becomes a labor of love.

Of course, roads in urban areas are carefully designed to be smooth, so that even a lowered car with stiffer suspensions (to enhance handling) can offer good level of comfort, what is often the case is weather conditions and pressure from laden traffic continue to degrade road geometry so that most pavement go uneven after just few months of paving and use.

Every day cars are designed with dampers or shock absorbers to enable the car pitch (vertically up/down motion) a fixed length while under load and in motion, so that occupants travel with the motion smoothly cushioned. But, since the depths of road unevenness vary from spot to spot, such fixed spring rate results in very uncomfortable ride, such as is common in mainstream cars. Luxury cars employ “active” suspensions, regarding the former fixed case as passive.

As Stefan Utsch, quoted in the news said, if the Porsche must be driven fast and cornered fast, it must be considerably low to the ground and have stiffer suspension setups, both of which case would degrade ride quality. But, Porsche is also a luxury brand and one expects a supple ride from its marques. How would the automaker strike a balance?

In this particular case, Porsche uses active suspension, which both firms up or slackens the shock absorbers according to changing road conditions and adjusts the chassis to raise or lower the ride height by varying the spring rate at individual wheels. Called Porsche Active Suspension Management, or PASM (don’t say spasm), the system uses sensors to record the body movements that accompany powerful acceleration, braking and rapid cornering or uneven road surfaces. The control unit evaluates the driving conditions and modifies the damping force on each of the wheels in accordance with the selected mode. There’s three modes: Comfort, SPORT or SPORT PLUS selectable by means of a button on the center console.

By this setup the Panamera, in whatever trim, in consonance with the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control, which is also an active system anticipating roll and using the brakes selectively to re-stabilize the car, and Michelin Pilot Sport Ultra-High Performance tires, is as comfortable as it is laterally stable, with such great traction matching the Performance of a 416 hp, 435 lb-ft torque hybrid V6 engine. Take a look at our Quick Facts on this amazing, Practical car!


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