Porsche’s electric 911 will have fewer limitations on design

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99 porsche 911 ev render imagined by autocar

Porsche’s design boss already has a vision of what a 911 EV could be, but it won’t hit the road until 2030.

Porsche design chief Michael Mauer has hinted that he has already conceived how the design of a future electric 911 could work, but insisted such a model is unlikely to appear before 2030.

The Stuttgart firm has long played down talk of an electric version of the classic 2+2, insisting it would be the last Porsche model to go electric due to the emotions attached to its petrol engine and the extra weight of a battery-electric model.

When asked about the challenges of producing an electric version similar to the rear-engined 911, Mauer said: “The silhouette of today’s 911 is so iconic, and that has to stay. We’ve proved over the years that the new 911 is always a 911 – but it’s a new one.

“Listening to the engineers now when we talk about combustion engines with the limitations such as exhaust systems, I would have been more worried how I should package this in 10 or 15 years, because it’s most likely the rear overhang would be almost two metres. So I’m less worried because this electric technology gives us more freedom.

“We will see. Maybe with the next generation, we still can do a combustion-engine 911. I don’t know. As a designer, we will find solutions.”

Asked about Porsche executives saying they could never imagine an electric 911, Mauer said “differing opinions” were part of Porsche’s culture and lead to the best solutions. “I’m part of the group that went from air-cooling to water-cooling, and now we have turbocharged engines,” said Mauer. “Maybe an electric 911 is another story, but purely from a design standpoint, an electric 911 is even easier in the future.

“I used to say that a 911, as a whole, is 100 per cent emotion. And the flat-six engine sound is not 100 per cent of the emotion. It’s the styling, it’s the handling, how it goes around the corner. Electric engines regarding torque and performance offer that: yes, it’s missing the sound, but if you look at young kids today, do they need it? I don’t know.”

Although a pure-electric version of the 911 is some years away, a prototype spotted recently at the Nurbürgring suggests the long-promised hybrid model is nearing the end of its development cycle.

The current, 992-generation car was engineered from the start to accommodate both mild- hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains, with more space built into the rear end to allow for fitment of a small gearbox-integrated electric motor.

The capabilities of a plug-in hybrid set-up are not yet known, but it is understood that the company is aiming to achieve approximate performance parity with the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. That car makes a combined 507kW, can crack the 0-100km/h sprint in 3.2sec and delivers a claimed electric range of 50km.

James Attwood

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