Advances in technology and mounting pressure from government around the world have revived Porsche’s 911 hybrid project.
Porsche CEO, Oliver Blume, told Autocar the 911 would be electrified within the decade. The first electrified 911s will be available as plug-in EVs (PHEVs) before later becoming fully electric.
It follows conflicting comments made last year from head of 911 development, August Achleitner, who said the 911 hybrid project was dead. Achleitner said the biggest challenge stunting EV development was the weight of the batteries which had too negative an effect on Porsche's signature handling. But the technology has evolved quickly and China, Porsche’s strongest individual market, recently announced it will ban fossil-fuelled cars in the future.
“With the 911, for the next 10 to 15 years, we will still have a combustion engine. We have combustion engines, then plug-ins as intermediaries, then full EV later on. The future concept of 911 will have plug-in built in, but it’s not decided yet if we offer it: 911 is a core business and we need it to be a pure sports car. When customers want it to be electric, we can be ready,” Blume said.
A Porsche spokesperson added that the first PHEV would be introduced around three years into the next-generation 911 and that advancements in battery technology have produced a lighter battery with an increased capacity of around 70km range, though driveline options remain open at this stage.
The comments follow confirmation from the German brand that it will reveal its Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo at the Los Angeles motor show later this month. The four-door coupe's plug-in electric hybrid powertrain consists of a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and 14.1kWh electric system producing a total output of 501kW and 850Nm.
Porsche’s first EV sports car, the Mission E, is also slated for release next year as the Stuttgart-based marque expands its electric vehicle lineup with an investment of $4.5 billion over the next five years. It joins parent company Volkswagen Group’s $31 billion plan to build electric variants of all 300 models across its 12 brands.
The electric-powered 911 PHEV won’t be the first time Porsche has introduced contentious advancements into its two-door performance car. The German brand introduced its first ‘automatic’ Sportomatic transmission in 1967 and the recent move to turbocharged over naturally-aspirated engines remains popular despite ruffled feathers from some purists.
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