Porsche Panamera

Automotive News reports Porsche is hard at work on a plug-in hybrid version of its Panamera. According to unnamed sources, the vehicle is likely to begin production in 2014 and will be destined for the U.S. market. The move is part of a larger plug-in offensive from Volkswagen. VW owns 49.9 percent of Porsche and plans to debut electrified versions of its Audi Q7 and A3 as well as the European Passat. Those vehicles will reportedly trickle to market between 2014 and 2015. An all-electric Golf is also due in 2013.

Volkswagen has already made it clear the company believes the future of green driving lies in diesels and plug-in hybrids, saying the latter combines the best elements of electric propulsion and internal combustion without the compromises of a hybrid. So, why introduce plug-ins in the automaker's luxury brands? Volkswagen claims high-end buyers are more likely to take long trips, and thus need the range-extending capability of an internal combustion engine as well. Us? We think it's easier for well-heeled buyers to absorb the technology's cost premium in their already higher MSRPs.