LAST YEAR, Porsche bought itself a Tesla Roadster to drive, analyse, take apart and study in an effort to see just what makes the Lotus-based electric vehicle tick.
Then in June this year, Porsche?s Development Director Wolfgang D?rheimer said that an all-electric Porsche wasn?t out of the question, but that weight and packaging issues would need to be sorted out before a commitment could be made.
Now, Porsche's new CEO Michael Macht told press at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week that while the company is hard at work on hybrid versions of the Cayenne SUV and Panamera saloon, an electric Porsche is in the company's future.
"I am convinced that one day Porsche will have an electric sports car in its line-up. "An electric sports car would therefore only make sense for Porsche if it offers performance and a cruising range similar to that of current sports cars in the market," Mr Macht said.
We are therefore taking the first step in this direction with a full hybrid ? in the Cayenne, the Panamera and maybe in the not too distant future also in a racing car or a production 911. Why not?"
German tuning house Ruf has already produced its own 911-based EVs, with the eRuf Model A first unveiled last year and the eRuf Greenster (pictured at top) set to go on sale in 2010.
The Greenster produces 270kW and 950Nm of torque from its electric motor, can recharge in under an hour and can sprint to 100km/h in five seconds flat.
The downside is that the batteries needed to power it consume virtually every spare millimetre in the 911?s body, including much of the luggage area.
Whether advances in battery technology can deliver a power storage system compact enough to satisfy the company?s requirements remains to be seen, meaning it will probably be quite a while before we see an electron-powered model come from the minds at Zuffenhausen.