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Road trip across Siberia using electric Porsches branded a success

By Anna Liesowska
07 March 2015

New 'plug-in' cars coping well with harsh climate and landscape and were even recharged overnight in remote taiga at -33C.

'Generally, the cars are showing themselves to be perfect, there are no problems with starting the engine, and everything is working in the cold conditions.' Pictures here and below: Porsche Russland

The organisers of a road adventure through Siberia's spectacular scenery test-driving the first-ever rechargeable Porsche cars have heralded it a success after only part of the journey.

A group of 12 journalists are currently on a 7,000km route from Irkutsk to Ekaterinburg to see how the two 'plug-in' hybrids cope with the peculiarities of the weather and landscape.

And as they passed the half-way stage of the epic trip, they said it was clear the electric Porsche Panamera and the Porsche Cayenne were more than equipped for the cold.

'These cars are suitable for the Russian climate, you don't need to fear using them here,' said Maria Komarova, the public relations manager for Porsche Russland, which is behind the project.

'There is a certain prejudice that hybrid cars are not very suitable for the cold climate and that it is hard to take full advantage of them in Russia, in Siberia, because of the luck of infrastructure. We're proving that it is not true.

'Generally, the cars are showing themselves to be perfect, there are no problems with starting the engine, and everything is working in the cold conditions.'

Porsche in Siberia


Porsche in Siberia


Porsche in Siberia

So far there have been no issues, other than three tyre changes and some cracks on a windscreen caused by gravel, with the engine responding well in the cold temperatures.

Dubbed 'Plug in to Siberia', the 12-day trip left Irkutsk last week and the cars have already driven through Magistralny, Bratsk, Kansk, Krasnoyarsk, Abakan, Achinsk, and Tomsk.

The route has been divided into three stages and on each leg the crew changes, with four people on each shift: two driving the hybrid cars and two in the technical support vehicles.

The Porsche Panamera is kitted out with Michelin studless tyres, specially designed for powerful high-performance cars. The main advantages of them is to reduce braking distances on wet and snowy surfaces and give rapid acceleration on the snow and ice, as well as improved handling on winter roads – perfect for the Siberian climate.

So far there have been no issues, other than three tyre changes and some cracks on a windscreen caused by gravel, with the engine responding well in the cold temperatures.

'The engine is designed to start in 'E-Power mode' until -25C, then when it is colder than that it starts an internal combustion engine,' explained Maria Komarova. 'When you get up in the morning and it is -30C, the car will go on the internal combustion engine. After it warms up, the electric engine can start working.'

The team was surprised to find they could even charge their vehicles in the remote wilderness.

Photographer Alexander Kazarin, who is taking images to document the journey, said: 'We came to the Magistralny settlement and stayed a small hotel, really in the middle of taiga.

'We were parking the cars and noticed two power outlets on the wall of the hotel, under a small shed. It turned out that it was the most convenient place for charging our cars on the way. 

'Who could ever imagine that in the remote Magistralny settlement we would find power outlets outside the building to charge our cars?'

Porsche in Siberia


Porsche in Siberia


Porsche in Siberia


Porsche in Siberia

'There is a certain prejudice that hybrid cars are not very suitable for the cold climate and that it is hard to take full advantage of them in Russia, in Siberia, because of the luck of infrastructure. We're proving that it is not true.'

While the purpose of the trip is to show how the Porsches can cope with the weather, organisers are also keen on seeing the best of the region, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the Stolby Nature Sanctuary.

'It has been a very interesting trip rich in impressions and emotions and there were some unexpected discoveries,' said 26-year-old Alexander. 'For example we were all impressed with Khakasia, with its stunning, beautiful views. We liked Tomsk very much too – it was a very nice and beautiful old city.

'Some discoveries were rather funny. For example we were passing through the town of Tulun and stopped for lunch there and proposed to try frog legs.

'But I am not sure it was frog - judging by the size, it must have been some huge frog. Still, it was very tasty and surprising. The team of journalists will remember the frog legs in Tulun for all their life.'

Porsche in Siberia


Porsche in Siberia


Porsche in Siberia


Porsche in Siberia

'It has been a very interesting trip rich in impressions and emotions and there were some unexpected discoveries.'

He added: 'In general, we've had no problems here and all the people have greeted us very warmly. Siberia is a very open and welcoming land.'

Following the team's brief stop in Novosibirsk, they will next visit Omsk before passing through Tobolsk, Tyumen, Khanty-Mansiysk, and finally reaching Ekaterinburg.

They had planned to drive part of the route on Baikal, but due to warm weather they instead had change their plans and only go to a stretch of good lake ice near Olkhon Island.

TV Channel Auto24 is on the trip and will release a video about the special test-drive on March 10.

Porsche Russland was created in 2003 and now has 21 dealer centres nationwide.

Comments (3)

BELLEZA
marcello della maria, ECUADOR . SUDAMERICA
11/04/2017 04:12
1
1
BEUTIFUL
marcello della maria, ECUADOR . SUDAMERICA
11/04/2017 04:10
1
1
Yet another kudos for Siberia ! Hoping electric cars are brought by millions of siberians who are well versed into climate change caused by pollution especially those of the deadly exhaust gases from hungry gasoline motorised vehicles ,Looking at the pristine scenery and the vivid clear crisp siberian air where the electric cars are being tested you realize there is no conflict with nature , Siberia is one of the few places on earth ,where man can go and breathe air as pure and pollution free as the times before the Industrial revolution , Patrick .
P Travers, Perth
08/03/2015 06:48
4
1
1

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