Mike Stevens | Jul 27, 2010

Earlier this year, Porsche CEO Michael Macht told reporters that while there were no plans for a hybrid model to roll out of Stuttgart, the German sports and luxury carmaker had been exploring options in the electric vehicle segment.

“Hybrid is technically possible but it’s not part of the plan. It also adds weight,” Mr Macht told the UK's Autocar in January.

“We want brake regeneraton and stop-start for our sports cars, but not hybrid. They’re not driven in the city, where you get most of the advantages [of a hybrid].”

This week, Porsche has announced a new research project that will combine an Electric Drive system with three Boxster test cars. More than mere 'research for its own sake', the project is kicking off with a view to launching an electrified sports car in the future.

"We will definitely be offering an electric sports car in future. But such a concept only makes sense if it offers product qualities typical of a Porsche," Mr Macht said.

Specific details have yet to be revealed, although Porsche has confirmed that three Boxsters will be used in the project.

Porsche also points to the recent 918 Spyder high-performance concept car - soon to be a production reality, by all accounts - as an example of the work the company has been busying its research department with.

While technically a plug-in hybrid, the 918 Spyder represents the future for the Porsche brand. A unique model in the brand's near-future line-up, the 918 will undoubtedly and eventually be recognised as the first of many alternatively-powered production Porsches.

The 918 Spyder draws power from a hybrid system made up of a 373kW V8 and two axle-mounted electric motors offering a combined output of 160kW.

Thanks to the V8 and the additional all-wheel-drive poke provided by the electric motors, the 918 Spyder reaches 100km/h in 3.2 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 320km/h.

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