Technology Review looks at the differences between Porsche’s new Panamera S Plug in ‘E-Hybrid’ and the Tesla Model S.  The main difference is obviously that the Porsche uses both gas and electric powertrains while the Tesla is pure electric (fun fact: the original Model S designs were gas hybrids).

Both cars weigh about the same and have the same horsepower but the Porsche uses an order of magnitude smaller batteries yielding only a 30 or so mile range on electric only.  The rest of the weight is an internal combustion engine, drivetrain, fuel tank and everything else that comes along with it.

Also the Panamera S electric motor is under 100HP so if you want to achieve the high speeds (Porsche claims 5.2 0-60 vs Tesla’s 4.2), you are going to be burning lots of petrol.

The new Porsche isn’t quite as responsive—or spacious—as the Tesla Model S that it’s meant to compete with…Aside from the Porsche’s acceleration, two other things stood out during my test drive. The first is that the Porsche feels far more cluttered and cramped than the Model S. The transmission and electric motor run between the front seats. The large number of buttons and dials contrasts sharply with the relatively simple interior of the Model S, which uses a 17-inch touch screen in place of buttons.

Check the video below for the space issues. Particularly the boot which is miniscule vs. the Model S trunk which fits 2 children and jump seats plus the extra ‘frunk’.

On the flip side, the gas and electric combined give the Panamera S a range of almost 600 miles (compared to the Model S’s 265) but at that point you no longer have an electric car.  One thing I did like (and wish was an option on Plug-in Priuses:

The second is that Porsche has found a useful way to give feedback to the driver through the accelerator pedal. The gas engine is designed to switch on if you accelerate more than a certain amount. As you depress the accelerator, it gets slightly harder to push just before the gas engine kicks in, signaling that it’s about to come on. That makes it easy to stay in all-electric mode if you want to.

Good on Porsche for making this car, which will certainly serve as a gateway for petrol heads. However, as the review mentioned a few times, it is no comparison to the Model S.

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