Porsche is evaluating the introduction of all-electric and hybrid models for its range-topping 911 series and the mid-engined Cayman and Boxster. A perquisite for the development of battery tech is that it will allow the cars to maintain a low ride height and offer class-leading handling.
The German manufacturer is expected to introduce an electrified version of each and every model in its line-up by 2030 as part of the VW Group’s corporate goal that was revealed by Volkswagen Group boss Matthias Müller at the Frankfurt motor show.
The manufacturer’s 911 series will have its first hybrid variant later this year while an all-electric Boxster is likely to be the first fully electrified model.
“Fully electrified sports cars would work very well for longitudinal acceleration,” says Porsche R&D boss Michael Steiner, “but the weight disadvantage is in the handling. When this could happen depends on the evolution of battery power and cell density.”
Porsche is evaluating solid-state battery technology rather than lithium-ion as the former is lighter and more compact.
“We see potential new battery technology coming that may change the game again, but they are still in development," said Steiner.
The German brand is currently testing an all-electric Boxster prototype. While it performed well, its track times were slower due to the increased weight from the battery that also affected the sports car’s road holding ability.
Packaging a battery in the 911 is proving to be an even bigger challenge. If fitted between the wheels in the chassis platform, it would raise the height of the driver and the overall body increasing centre of gravity.
A potential solution for the 911 is to replace the rear seats with the battery. However, this would cut into the Porsche 911’s appeal as a 2+2 sports car.
Steiner said: “That’s a question we have asked ourselves: can it be a 911 with only two seats?”
Another potential solution is a T-shaped battery fitted into the centre tunnel and rear seat well. This has two advantages - a low driving position is maintained and the centre of gravity is kept low.
The 911 series, Boxster and Cayman are also expected to share battery technology and various components with the Mission E, Porsche’s all-electric four-door due on sale in international markets by 2020. “It may be a four-door, but it’s a very compact and low car. And, performance wise, it is a pure sports car,” said Steiner.