Porsche 911 is hybrid-ready, but too heavy; fully electric version 'not before 2030' with next-gen model
The platform of the current Porsche 911 is ready for electrification, however the German automaker is not about to produce a hybrid Neunelfer any time soon, despite having prototypes to that effect. “For a two-door, serious sports car the additional weight of the battery is not something we are satisfied with today,” said Porsche board member Michael Steiner to Top Gear.
As a result, a fully electric 911 is a long way off; not before 2030 at the earliest, said Porsche sports car line director Frank-Steffen Walliser to Autocar. “The 911 will be the last Porsche to become electric, hopefully after my retirement so I’m not responsible any more and no one can blame me (for an electric 911); I will fight to let the 911 keep its gasoline engine, Walliser told Autocar.
Even partial, hybrid electrification of the Porsche 911 is a difficult task due to the way the car is packaged, Walliser said. “We want to keep it as a 2+2 (seating configuration), we want to keep decent trunk space and we don’t want to destroy the shape of the 911,” he said.
“Also, I am not ready to put that amount of additional weight into the car. If you wanted to make such a car, it would be easier to make a completely new car,” the model line director added. This implies that the 911 won’t have a hybrid version until 2026 at the earliest, which is when the next-generation car is expected, given its seven-year generational lifecycle.
In the shorter term, Porsche is working on making the just-launched 911 Turbo S a more engaging experience for drivers. “We are aware of the feedback (that it is the fastest but not the most enjoyable) and we have taken steps to address it. Thus, a lightweight version of the Turbo S will be introduced later this year, to be available as a package.
Will this direction include measures such as removing the rear seats, and replacing glass panels with polycarbonate items? “We are going in that direction,” Walliser said. This lightweight package will later go on to be available in the Carrera and Carrera S models, essentially playing to role of the 991-generation Carrera T.
According to Walliser, the Carrera T was well-received, though it did not stay on the market for long enough for Porsche to determine if it should become a permanent member of the 911 range. Walliser also confirmed that the new 4.0 litre naturally aspirated flat-six in the Boxster and Cayman GTS 4.0 models won’t be repurposed for the 992-generation GT3, which will instead continue to use the racecar-derived engine.
“We (will) stick with the race engine. It’s expensive but we develop it on the track and (we) learn more with every passing race. That is the way we will continue,” he said. As for the 911’s own GTS versions, these will most likely continue to use tuned versions of the 3.0 litre turbo flat-six instead of using the 4.0 litre NA engine like the 718 Boxster and Cayman GTS range does now.
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