A plug-in Porsche 911 looks all but certain as battery technology improves

A plug-in Porsche 911 looks all but certain as battery technology improves

It’s been years since we first heard of Porsche’s on-again, off-again 911 hybrid. We haven’t seen it yet, and we most likely won’t in the immediate future, but a recent report suggest the contentious model is inching towards production. Comments coming straight from Porsche’s top executive shed the best insight yet into the 911’s electrification prospects.

“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,” Porsche CEO Oliver Blume told British magazine Autocar in an interview published on November 20th.

Interestingly, Blume sang a slightly different tune a little over a week later at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

“We will come with the plug-in hybrid with the next battery generation and with the next evolution step. It will be very important for the 911 to have a plug-in hybrid,” he told Automotive News. “My opinion is that we will go for it,” he added confidently.

The current-generation 911 embraced turbocharged engines all across the board, but it’s unlikely to go hybrid because it’s almost at the end of its life cycle. Blume’s comments all but confirm the car’s replacement — which will make its debut next year — was developed with a gasoline-electric powertrain in mind. Incorporating an extra battery into any vehicle inevitably adds weight, but Porsche has shown it can offset the added mass by boosting performance. What remains to be seen is whether there’s a demand for a hybrid model, and how adding a plug will affect the image of what is unquestionably the most emblematic sports car in the world.

“We won Le Mans three times in a row with plug-in hybrids, so we can use it in series production and have high credibility,” Blume pointed out during the same interview. The company already sells plug-in hybrid variants of the second-generation Panamera, and it’s working on an all-electric sedan named Mission E. Looking far ahead, a second electric model (most likely an SUV) will join the Mission E after 2020.

Like it or not, he 911 will ultimately need to adopt one form of electrification or another. That’s because Porsche is part of the Volkswagen Group, and company boss Matthias Müller announced bold plans to offer an electrified variant of every single model in the Group’s lineup by the year 2030. That gives engineers at Porsche’s headquarters a little over a decade to figure out how to complement the flat-six with volts.

Update: Added Oliver Blume’s comments from the Los Angeles show.

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Published at Fri, 01 Dec 2017 15:15:30 +0000

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