Porsche destroyed lots of engines learning about hybrid cold-starts
Porsche is very proud of the fact its new Cayenne e-Hybrid can travel up to 25 miles from the moment you unplug it without ever turning the engine on. And because the e-motor can propel it up to 83mph, there’s a very real chance you might never wake the V6 until midway through an autobahn overtake. So, we asked Porsche’s Manager of SUV Powertrains, Friedmann Heller, how they get around the problem of a dead-still engine, immersed in stone-cold oil, suddenly being asked to develop maximum horsepower, without shattering into thousands of expensive shards…
“In the early days, when we did the first Panamera hybrid, we broke a lot of engines”, explains Freidmann with a grin. “We broke pistons and bent rods… It was because the V6 we were using was never developed for a hybrid. Now, in fact, all engines in the new Cayenne and Panamera are developed for hybrid. The bores, the oil system, the ECU, everything. So we can do things with the oil channels and limit the revs to only 4,000rpm when the engine is cold to protect it from damage.”
Somewhere in Germany, there’s a hefty pile of ex-Panamera V6s and V8s that were sacrificed to learn the way around this problem.
“Now when we do cold weather testing in Sweden, we can start the car in the morning at minus 20 degrees, with no problems”, says the engine boss. So, now you know.