Porsche details 911 Hybrid
Porsche has future-proofed its new eighth-generation 911 with a series of engineering measures that will allow it to support both mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid drivetrains during its planned seven-year life cycle, according to the German car maker.
While the new 911 will initially be offered with an updated version of the old model’s twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre horizontally-opposed six-cylinder petrol engine, delivering 331kW in both rear-wheel drive Carrera S and four-wheel drive Carrera 4S models, Achleitner confirms development is progressing on a hybrid version of the horizontally-opposed six-cylinder powerplant that, he says, will provide the iconic sportscar with the capability to run exclusively on electric power for limited distances.
“We’ve taken the experience we gained with hybrid versions of the Cayenne and Panamera as well as the 918 Spyder and applied it to the new 911. In the future, this will allow us to offer it with pure electric capability,” says Achleitner.
Despite its famously tight mechanical packaging, Porsche has successfully modified the rear-mounted drivetrain of the 911 to allow the housing of a disc-shaped electric motor within the rear section of its optional eight-speed dual clutch gearbox.
Key among the changes enabling this is a brand new gearset similar to that already used by the second-generation Panamera and Cayenne. Achleitner, who is set to retire at the end of 2018, says the new gearset is almost 100mm shorter than before.
The ZF engineered eight-speed PDK also boasts a higher torque rating than its predecessor gearbox at “over 800Nm” in a move Achleitner says is necessary to allow the 911 Hybrid to handle the strong torque loading of an electric motor.
The 911’s four-wheel drive system has also been reworked allowing up to 50 per cent of drive to be apportioned to the front wheels. A further change centres around the new 911’s brake booster. Similar to that used by the discontinued 918 Spyder, it forgoes the electro-mechanical operation of the previous 911 for a fully electric function. This allows a much more significant recuperation of energy, both under braking and on the overrun.
Achleitner won’t be drawn on the specification of the petrol-electric hybrid powered 911, though he points to the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid as a performance reference.
The most powerful of two petrol-electric hybrid-powered Panamera models, the Turbo S E-Hybrid uses an electric motor developing 100kW and 400Nm of torque. This is combined with the 404kW and 770Nm of its twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine to provide an overall system output of 500kW and 850Nm.
Applying the 100kW and 400Nm developed by the Panamera S E -Hybrid’s electric motor to the new 911 Carrera S would provide it with a theoretical system output of 431kW and 930Nm – some 15kW less but a significant 180Nm more than the 911 Turbo S Exclusive, which boasts a claimed 0-100km/h time of 2.9sec and 330km/h top speed.
The battery used to power the electric motor in the 911 Hybrid is expected to be housed within the front. Despite bringing added weight, it is expected to greatly improve the weight distribution of standard petrol engine versions of the new 911, which is put at 39:61 in the initial 1515kg Carrera S model with the new eight-speed PDK gearbox.
Significantly, the battery used by the Panamera S E-Hybrid boasts an overall capacity of 14.1kWh, sufficient to provide the big five-door liftback with an electric range of up to 50km on the recently superseded NEDC driving cycle test procedure.
Another advantage brought by the adoption of a battery pack in the front of the 911 is a reduction in the centre of gravity. Nothing is official at this stage, though insiders suggest early 911 Hybrid prototype mules feature a smaller fuel tank than standard 911 models, allowing the battery to be mounted low down within the front end.
In an indication of how much weight the hybrid system could potentially bring to the curb weight of the new 911, the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid weights 315kg more than the Panamera Turbo, with which it shares its turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine, at 2310kg.
Kable is one of Europe's leading automotive journalists. The Aussie expat lives in Germany and has some of the world's most powerful executives on speed dial.