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Porsche puts hybrids in the fast lane

New Cayenne SUV can cruise at 70 mph on the electric motor, far faster than existing models.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Porsche said Tuesday a new prototype SUV hybrid will be capable of cruising at speeds up to 70 miles an hour on the electric engine alone, far faster than existing hybrids.

The hybrid version of the popular Cayenne SUV, expected to hit showrooms in the next two or three years, can't reach 70 miles per hour without the traditional engine, but once it gets there it can cruise at 70 without the need for gasoline.

The non-hybrid Porsche Cayenne.

The result is a vehicle that's 25 percent more efficient than current models and can cruise considerably faster than the current 40 mph top cruising speed of the hybrid Toyota Camry.

"If Porsche was going to do a hybrid, it makes sense to do it from a performance standpoint," said company spokesman Tony Fouladpour.

The hybrid Cayenne, Porsche's first foray into the hybrid market, uses a single transmission to power both the electric motor and gasoline motor, which is partly responsible for the increased performance, said Fouladpour.

It's expected to be in the same general price range as the basic Cayenne, which starts at $44,000. Top of page