At the launch of the 992-gen Porsche 911 in 2018, the company revealed how the new platform could one day spawn a hybrid-electric derivative of the flagship sports car. A tentative launch timeframe was set sometime in the early 2020s.
As the Taycan goes into production as Porsche’s first EV, the company also shed some light on its plans for electrifying the 911. There are certain challenges it faces in the department, one of which is potentially diluting the car’s dynamic experience. So far, only the Panamera and Cayenne have gone hybrid, with Porsche choosing not to electrify or hybridise its range of sports cars.
Taking the 911 down the electric path is inevitable for Porsche. How well the firm will do it remains to be seen.
”It is too early to talk about details. But we will make it only if we have a solution that is really working with the 911. This doesn‘t mean that, if there is an electrified or partially electrified 911, that we would discontinue ICEs [internal combustion engines] with the 911,” says Stefan Weckbach, VP of Taycan Production.
Speaking to journalists at the 2019 Frankfurt Auto Show, Stefan Weckbach, vice president of Taycan Production, said, “Electrifying existing cars is something we know how to do – look at the Cayenne and the Panamera… they are accepted in the market. The toughest challenge will definitely be electrifying the 911. The new platform is ready for electrification. We still haven’t finally decided on a concept, but the platform could do it and we are working on that,”
Porsche has clearly planned for the day when the venerated 911 would have to go electric. However, the firm is going to have to tread a fine line when it comes to fiddling with such an iconic car. As such, Porsche is keeping the project’s progress tightly under wraps.
”It is too early to talk about details,” Weckbach continued. “But we will make it only if we have a solution that is really working with the 911. But this doesn‘t mean that, if there is an electrified or partially electrified 911, that we would discontinue ICEs [internal combustion engines] with the 911.”
Weckbach didn’t disclose where Porsche was planning to place the batteries, were a hybrid-electric 911 under development. “We are discussing different ideas for the electrification of the 911. You need to make sure battery placement is a really sound solution for the 911.”
Despite being an engineering masterpiece, the Porsche Taycan does not feature solid-state battery technology. Solid-state is tech is at least five years away from commercial viability according to industry experts.
Finally, Weckbach also touched upon the solid-state battery issue. Solid-state batteries promise longer range and faster charging times, but for many carmakers are still somewhat out of reach in terms of commercial applications. “As with most of the industry, we are convinced that lithium ion will make the next step in the next three, four, five or six years, and we see that solid state is something that can work and will work in the future. I just have a hard time saying when the future is,” Weckbach agrees.
Solid-state technology might make its way to limited-edition cars soon enough, but it is not yet feasible for mass-produced vehicles, even from a luxury brand like Porsche. Weckbach believes that production cars with solid-state batteries are at least, if not more, five years away from becoming a commercial reality.
In a nutshell, it seems the 911 is indeed going down the hybrid path, but Porsche is working hard to ensure it loses none of its legendary dynamic capabilities that make it a benchmark for sports car handling and performance. As for solid-state battery tech, it is quite a while away, despite earnest efforts from manufacturers to that end.