By Michael Tashjian
Man’s carbon footprint is one of the most controversial and manageable environmental issues that face us today. Via the Obama administration’s mandate that manufacturer’s fleets must achieve an average 54.5 mpg to meet its CAFÉ standard over the next 8 years, manufacturers have accelerated the development of alternative energy sources at a pace only comparable to the space program prior to said Ex-President. Okay; cheap shot. Surely, the Trump administration, on their Detroit/US manufacturing campaign promise, will scale back these stringent regulations slightly, but this will not have an immediate impact on models already in the works and corporate plans to become more competitive and innovative in the hybrid space. Porsche/VW has taken a proactive approach to efficiency over the past 5 years with calculated risk. Porsche has Introduced the 919 Hybrid racecar and 918 Spyder, both of which utilize a combustion and electric motor along with a recovery system as not just a marketing tool, but also to build a real path into Porsche showrooms. For the time being, the E Performance program seems to be stagnant with the Cayenne and Panamera models not exactly setting the market on fire, but I assure you, this is a temporary setback. Porsche has and will continue to push the envelope, just recently introducing the Panamera Turbo S E Hybrid, which is now one of the fastest sedans ever built with 680hp.
The obvious question is whether or not to go out and purchase a hybrid or not. Many things must be considered, such as your geographic location, application, and faith. Yes, faith plays a part in all new technologies. There was a time when we thought that alphanumeric pagers were the future but yet a more efficient, reliable, and affordable cellular phone was right around the corner. I, for one, can say the Porsche hybrid system is one of the most efficient and reliable thus far, so yes, I am a believer. The next question is what will be the typical use of your Porsche. Daily driving? And if so, will you be in traffic or open highway driving? This is an important question, as the fuel savings may or may not be outweighed by the initial higher cost of a hybrid model. And what about your geographic location? If you live in a rural area, there are other factors to consider, such as never seeing a charging station and the neighborhood mechanic being unable to diagnose and/or fix a hybrid issue. And lastly, you’re already getting pretty good fuel economy with most any Porsche model for highway use.
I wonder though, is all this hybrid hype about efficiency? I am a believer in a performance sports car offering the best performance, and am slightly embarrassed to say that fuel efficiency is not on the top of my list. I think it is fair to say that many of us would not be spending our valued Porsche option dollars on something more fuel efficient when that money can be better spent on Porsche crest embossed headrests or painted ventilation slates. But mark my words, the next generation of Porsche buyer will consider the cooler option-Hybrid sporting the fender where the ‘oh-so-cool’ SL 600 used to say V12. Wouldn't that be a hoot.
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