By on May 24, 2013

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42 journalists who had the honor of being invited by Porsche to what was called a “Plug-In Hybrid Technology Workshop” found themselves used as lab rats, and to produce a mileage rating that supports Porsche’s published results for the hybrid Panamera. It didn’t quite work out that way. Says a Porsche press release:

”On the occasion of an international press event – in which over 42 test drives were conducted with journalists in the Panamera S E-Hybrid covering a total distance of over 1,200  kilometers – the model consumed just 4.4 l/100 km (53.5 mpg) averaged over all drives. The top value recorded on the circuit course for the world’s first plug-in hybrid in the luxury class was a low 2.8 l/100 km  (84 mpg). These results illustrate that in real everyday operation, it is entirely possible to attain fuel consumption values of the same magnitude as the value determined in NEDC testing, which is 3.1 l/100 km.”

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On a strictly non-EPA  conversion,  the average 4.4 l/100 km would equate 53.5 mpg. The top value of  2.8 l/100 km converts to 84 mpg. Porsche’s published 3.1 l/100 km rating would convert to 75.9 mpg. For the unwashed, NEDC refers to the New European Driving Cycle, which supposedly mimics the typical usage of a car in Europe, which it gloriously doesn’t.

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The circuit, and the usage profile also were slightly atypical. According to Porsche, “the test circuit, which had a total length of 28.7 km, followed a course through and around the city of Hockenheim and comprised 6.5 km city driving, 9.2 km of country roads and 13 km of German Autobahn – some without speed limits. A prerequisite for attaining such values is systematically exploiting opportunities for charging the 9.4 kWh lithium-ion battery on the electrical grid.”

Great, in the meantime, we exploit opportunities to show pictures of the Panamera in a Stau, in a picturesque village, and in use. We also ask our Porsche-insider Doug Demuro for an inside view.

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24 Comments on “Porsche Invites 42 Journalists To Prove That The Plug-in Panamera Uses More Gas Than Published...”


  • avatar
    Omnifan

    “…values of the same magnitude….” is the key operative phrase in the Porsche release. Sounds like it was written by a lawyer. Now, just to figure out just how far away from the published number is acceptable.

  • avatar

    Am I the only one who thinks, Porsche’s eyebrow-raising claims for it notwithstanding, that 53 mpg is still awfully good for something the size of a Panamera? Of course, I suppose it depends on how many times they stopped to systematically exploit opportunities to top off the batteries.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I hope you’re the only one. The test loop was 17.8 miles and the battery was 9.4kWh. They shouldn’t have used any gasoline.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        I agree. Tesla Model S has a max range of 480 km. And no gas used.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          Good call! While the Tesla Model S is very different under the hood, comparing the Model S and the Panamera is apples-to-apples comparison in marketing terms.

          I get to root for an American car company for a change! :-)

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Unless they were driving it like a sports car.

        If you try to drive a Prius like a sports car, you’ll get lousy mileage out of it, too – possibly down as low as 28 MPG if you really ham-fist it.

        (And you’ll be really bored, because the Prius performs like a 4-banger commuting appliance.)

        I bet if you put me in a plugin Panamera, I wouldn’t use any gas over 20 miles. But that’s because I drive like a guy who has a Prius and a minivan in his driveway…. :-)

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Top Gear did just that…they drove a Prius as fast as they could around a track and followed it with a BMW M3. And they proudly proclaimed the M3 as more efficient! Being the show is mostly tongue in cheek, it gets a pass.

        • 0 avatar
          ZoomZoom

          In 9+ years, the only time I ever got bad gas mileage in my Prius was when I drove 6 hours at 75-80 MPH. I was in the right lane and I was being soundly passed. This was I-75 in some indeterminate part of the country with no cops on that day. And I got about 40-42 MPG per the MFD. Factor in the average 2 MPG “optimism index,” and I still got barely better than 35 MPG.

          I can’t see ANY way to get 28 MPG, not even if I leave the car on all night with the AC at max, then drive it “normally” (I normally drive fast) until the tank is empty.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    It really doesn’t sound that bad, getting 53.5 mpg in something as heavy as a full sized truck. It isn’t until you crunch the numbers and consider the 9.4 kWh battery, and the reference to ‘systematically exploiting opportunities for charging’ that just how little they’ve accomplished is revealed. This was a 17.8 mile test loop, initiated with a full charge. Car and Driver tested the Accord Plug-In. They saw a 13.7 mile range from the 6.7 kWh battery and 42 mpg with it depleted. On the same test loop, they’d have used .12 gallon of gasoline for a 98.2 MPGe average or 148.3 MPG if Porsche isn’t counting the electricity. With a battery as big as the Porsche’s, they shouldn’t have burned much gasoline at all.

    I suspect Porsche hoped the journalists would try to maximize fuel economy instead of driving like they were testing for Car and Driver. They probably should have offered some sort of initiative for achieving the lowest consumption. The sad thing is they still stacked the deck in their own favor with such a short test loop, and buyers will rarely match the results of this test.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      If Porsche wanted to show just how efficient the car could have been in the hands of drivers, they made a bad judgement call in thinking the drivers would strive for max mileage. They could have stacked this in their favor by offering the driver that achieved the best mileage a free Panamera.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Unless P is aiming squarely at the single most reterded group of potential customers on creation, they would also realize that noone goes out and buys a P in order to drive it like a Prius. What’s the point?

        P is already struggling to fend off an increasingly valid reputation for being nothing more than poser cars; bought by bailed out clowns incapable of operating a device as simple as a manual tranny, or to outrun a granny in a Prius with a dead battery. The last thing they need, is to encourage Panamera drivers to be holding up the UPS man down the road.

        More realistic optimization for “sports car efficiency”, would be to pick a test track (a bit more realistic wrt sustained top speeds than the ‘Ring perhaps), and engineer for minimum consumption when driven at a substantially faster than Prius, but not quite Baruthian pace. At least by doing that, and communicating it to potential customers, they’d be doing something useful; not just rubbing in how stupid their target market have become in the bailed out age.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    Do Porsche owners give a rat’s ass about MPG? Really?

    • 0 avatar
      cacon

      If you’re building a hybrid, I think there must be some bragging rights about fuel consumption, if not, why bother doing the hybrid in the first place…. although I find it kind of moronic to build an “eco-friendly” plutocrat super sedan, as you mention….

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      All buyers with any sense should care about exaggerated claims. How much fun can it be rolling along wondering about what else they are lying about? Will the brakes really work? Airbag? Warranty?

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      You can buy a couple of Prii and a lot of gas for what you pay for a Panamera.

      Given the number of rich people who drive a Prius, I wonder if they think they’re loosing sales to a low-cost competitor that has truly special technology under the hood? If that’s the case, then they need to match the Prius.

      But maybe I’m just biased because the Prius is my personal benchmark for judging cars. It’s ready to find a faster car, but hard to find a car that’s better at supporting my lifestyle.

      In any case, Porsche has to offer something really unique and special to their customers in order to justify the cost of their vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        I find an enormous amount of Prius vehicles commuting in the morning. The majority of them don’t strike me as the “Earth First” kind of crowd. They might appreciated the reduced impact the car makes, but first and foremost they get the owner into the HOV lane as a single occupant. ANYTHING that shortens a hell commute is worth the cost of admission. I considered asking to swap my Altima hybrid for a Prius for that very reason. But after driving the Prius, the dynamics killed me! I don’t expect a hot rod, and even found the power of the Prius acceptable. But why does the car have to handle so poorly? Improve damping, a bit more bar and spring stiffness would do wonders at no mileage penalty. I don’t buy the “mileage folks don’t care about dynamics”bit. Nissan didn’t buy it either as the Altima handles very well. Sadly, its mileage is not good enough to get me into the HOV lane. And as much as I hate traffic, I chose to keep the Altima.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Now they (85% of P buyers or so) do, as it is currently the fashionable thing to brag about at dinner parties. Many, if not most, of the people driving Priuses in LA, formerly “needed” Hummers and Escalades back when those were fashionable, after all…..

      What one could at least hope, however, is that those buying a P at least has the sense to not buy it simply to drive it like the kind of appliance the “European test cycle” or “EPA cycle” was designed around. Now, that would be truly scary. Like buying a Topkick and outfit it with a through the bed stack, in order to drive it to BillyBobs. Or up Brokeback Mountain…

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      “Do Porsche owners give a rat’s ass about MPG? Really?”

      Actually, that sounds exactly like a Tesla buyer, and the Model S sounds like this car’s main competitor.

  • avatar
    henkdevries

    “NEDC refers to the New European Driving Cycle, which supposedly mimics the typical usage of a car in Europe, which it gloriously doesn’t.”
    The NEDC doesn’t show real world results, boohoo. It does show the differences between models and that is also interesting for a customer. Turbo- and hybrid-engined cars have an unfair advantage because they are better tunable to this cycle. This is caused by the low accelerations demanded in the cycle. A new test cycle is underway, but this takes of course some more time.
    For the interested http://www.spritmonitor.de has a fairly large database of real peoples MPG data.

    Real emission numbers (CO2, CO, PM etc) are within a certain bandwith of the NEDC except for NOx from diesels. Euro6 is so tight on NOx that manufacturers have to take extra precautions and this has the effect that NOx is within the bandwith as well.

    In the Netherlands you pay sales tax according to the NEDC measured CO2 emission. Although the test is not perfect the effect of the policy is that people buy cars that use less fuel/emit less and that is the goal of the policy.

    I don’t see all the trouble. When was marketing about telling the truth?

    • 0 avatar
      Landcrusher

      Wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that you pay the carbon tax based on the test in spite of how that may differ from your actual output by a ridiculous margin?

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Considering Europe’s fuel prices (including taxes), I think it would be more accurate to say that consumers pay taxes on rated efficiency of the car AND the way they drive it.

        The rating is just that–a rating. It really has no need for absolute accuracy, only sufficient consistency that various cars’ ratings are correctly proportional.

        If you can accept the tax model, it isn’t a big deal.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          No issues with the fuel tax, only the carbon tax. It’s a lie. Much like CAFE, it won’t actually accomplish much to affect its goals. It’s just an example of evil government.

    • 0 avatar
      wumpus

      “In the Netherlands you pay sales tax according to the NEDC measured CO2 emission”

      WTF (yes, I know it’s government so completely insane). This is even worse than CAFE: how long have they been working on it?

      Gas burned is directly proportional to CO2 emissions. The only thing that makes the slightest bit of difference is if you are using gas or diesel (diesel causes a bit more per gallon). The stupid, it hurts. Make it go away.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    Did you convert liters to US gallons, or Imperial gallons?

    (Never mind, I did the math and it looks like US gallons.)


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