Porsche will offer its first electric sports car within the next decade - but it won’t wear a 911 badge.
The German brand is poised to begin rolling out a family of electric cars in 2019 starting with the Taycan sports sedan. After that there is expected to be a number of models as part of is Mission E electric vehicle program expected to include a family of SUVs and a sports car.
Speaking to Drive at the Silverstone 6-Hour race last weekend, Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, vice president of Motorsport and GT cars for Porsche, said electric GT series cars are coming within 10 years.
“I would say it’s less,” Walliser said.
But that doesn’t mean it will be an electric-powered 911, at least not initially. While conceding that eventually all Porsche models are likely to go electric, Walliser wants the brand’s iconic sports car to continue to use its six-cylinder petrol engine for as long as possible.
“I would say the 911 would be the last car that we would make with an electric drivetrain,” he said.
“I will not say we would never do it but I would say it would do it as the last car. Ferry Porsche quoted saying ‘The last car ever built will be a sports car.’ Today maybe we could say the last sports car will be a Porsche, I would even say the last Porsche ever built with a combustion engine is a GT3. Six-speed manual. Naturally-aspirated.”
Where the engine in that last 911 will be has been questioned since Porsche launched its latest 911 RSR racing car for the World Endurance Championship, with the flat-six relocated from a rear-layout to a mid-mounted set-up - effectively where the back seats would be in a regular 911.
Walliser admitted there has been customer demand for a mid-engine 911 and he said it is technically possible. But it’s unlikely to happen simply because of the tradition and history attached to the rear-mounted engine.
“We have some [customers] that just ordered it, they said ‘Í take two RSR street versions’,” Walliser said with a laugh.
“We could do, but at the moment no plans to do so. I still feel if I look at the lap times of the Nordschleife this old concept of the 911 still pretty nice,” he said.
“It’s a lot of the character of the 911 is the rear-engine, [and] we are sensitive. In racing we have more freedom, for the street car [it’s] tricky.”