Sunday, October 24, 2010

Porsche Develops Hybrid Technology

I blogged about the development of hybrid cars by BMW and Mercedes when I was visiting Munich. My point was that fuel economy standards were forcing luxury car makes to adopt hybrid technology. I saw this as a route to wider adoption of hybrid technology in mass-market cars. Non-luxury hybrids seem so far to only appeal to "green consumers" willing to pay a premium for lower fuel consumption. Anyway, the New York Times has an article on new hybrid systems developed by Porsche.

One is a hybrid version of the Cayenne SUV with a 35kW electric motor and a 250 kW petrol engine. Urban fuel economy is improved from 16 mpg to 21 mpg. Highway fuel economy only improves by 10%. Then there is a racing car that uses a flywheel to store energy from braking which can then be used to power a generator. It has two 60 kW electric motors driving the front wheels in addition to the 360 kW petrol engine. The third system is a concept car that has a 375 kW petrol engine and front and rear electric motors that can produce a total of 164 kW. For comparison, the current standard V6 Ford Falcon has a 195 kW engine.

There is an increasing diversity of body plans out there, which is a positive sign in the development of a new technology.

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