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2017 Porsche 911
2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS. Photo: Supplied
 
 

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Alex Rae | Mar, 07 2018 | 0 Comments

Porsche is ready to electrify its 911.

Confirming rumours that the German performance brand is looking to electrification in its flagship coupe, head of battery electric vehicles Stefan Weckbach told Drive that the new 992 generation is hybrid ready.

“We are going to present the next generation of the 911 quite soon and the new 911 will be ready for electrification of the drivetrain,” Weckbach said.

“Both 400-volt and 800-volt technology will be feasible. We haven’t decided on the technology, we haven’t decided on the timing, but we are working on that issue. 

“The platform is ready, the car will be ready.”

The Mission E Cross Turismo that was revealed in Geneva showcases Porsche’s unique 800-volt electric system that can charge 400km range in just 15 minutes and is more reliable for sustained acceleration launches and top speed driving. It also uses smaller diameter cables to reduce weight that has been a challenge preventing introduction of electrification into the brand’s sports car.

But 800-volt architecture is still not the final solution the Stuttgart team are after, and there are still questions over the weight disadvantages which heavy lithium-ion batteries have on dynamics.

“At the end of the day the 911 has different goals that it must meet in terms of performance and weight as well, so the technology progress of the cells, the energy within the cells and resulting package volume and weight are much more difficult for the 911. So it’s a question of timing – when is the technology ready and when will we use which technology," Weckbach added.

However far away a hybird 911 is, Porsche is in the stages of narrowing down how it will electrify the iconic coupe.

Asked if it was considering a power-boosting F1-derivied kinetic energy recovery system rather than a traditional range extending hybrid, Weckbach said discussions were already under way and that a KERS system could bring benefits to the 911.

“Yes, talking about electrification of the 911 the question between performance and electrical range is a tough one and another question for Mission E. There’s the discussion on would we use an electrification of the 911 drivetrain only for additional power, or for additional power and range, or only for electrical range.

“The last one, only for electrical range, is something we wouldn’t address as Porsche for the 911. But then there’s still the discussion of does it only need more power – the F1 approach – or does it have more power and an electrical range. And both approaches are technically discussed and are feasible.”

Porsche booked a private 911 test day at Monza in Italy late last year and spy videos revealed the signature sound of KERS engaging on deceleration.

But it’s possible we’ll see both hybrid systems in the future, with regaular 911 Carrera models receiving normal hybrid setups and GT versions getting a high-performance KERS system. 

Weckbach added that using both systems was a possible solution for the broad range of 911 customers.

“Could be, yes. But as I said no decision on that, just discussions going on.”

“It depends on the customer. For those guys going to the race track they will say I don’t care about electrical range but for those guys who drive the 911 on day-to-day basis maybe they want to drive electrical range within the cities.”

If Porsche does implement a KERS system into its next 911 it could be the first manufacturer to debut the technology in a production car, though it appears Infiniti might beat them to the punch, as first reported by Drive last month.

But it won’t be the first time Porsche has used the system. It previously fitted a flywheel-style KERS setup developed by the Williams F1 team into its 2010 997 GT3 R Hybrid racer that competed in the American Le Mans Series and beat all other GT cars in the grid, setting the fastest class lap of the race.

 
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