This morning, the two most advanced Porsche cars built so far, the Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid LMP1 and the all-new Panamera made history; the world’s fastest petrol:electric Hybrid race car took to the London streets, alongside the new Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, to demonstrate how Porsche is translating its race-winning Hybrid technology from the track to the road.
Driven by Mark Webber, Porsche factory race driver and 2015 FIA World Endurance Champion, the 919 Hybrid brought the spectacle of Le Mans to London, driving through the city from Park Lane to the South Bank of the River Thames. Like a high technology Monopoly™ player, Mark navigated the capital’s streets via Hyde Park Corner, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square to arrive at the distinctive London County Hall Hotel, adjacent to the famous London Eye.
Porsche has a proud tradition of proving innovative technology on the race circuit prior to developing it for its renowned sports cars. Underlining this track to road philosophy this morning was another world first; the new Panamera 4 E-Hybrid making its global debut alongside the 919 Hybrid. Like the race car, the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid is powered by a combustion engine and also an electric motor charged by lithium-ion batteries. Combined, this is the ultimate expression of a long-standing Porsche ethos; high performance with high efficiency.
For Porsche, the term ‘hybrid’ is synonymous with not only sustainable mobility, but performance, too – a fact proven not least by the 919 Hybrid achieving an unrivalled 18th overall triumph for the Stuttgart marque in the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race in France in June. This commitment to a new type of Porsche ‘E-Performance’ is now also defining the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid.
While undeniably an impressive sight driving through London, what was arguably more significant about today’s event was in fact what could not be seen. For these cars also give a glimpse to the future – to a full electric Porsche, and the ‘Mission E’ scheduled for launch by the end of the decade.
With the 919 Hybrid, Porsche developed new technology at racing speed – and for the Mission E, the designers adopted the same 800 Volt electric technology from the Le Mans winner. Already the company is well on the way with the construction of the factory in Stuttgart that will build the Mission E, and preparing a new generation of Porsche Centres around the world to support this new era of personal mobility – of which the new Porsche Centre West London on the A4 in Chiswick is the most recent.