There has been a burning question among Porsche purists for a while now: will the Stuttgart brand really put a hybrid drivetrain into its performance icon, the Porsche 911?
According to Porsche executive board member for research and development, Michael Steiner, there is potential for such a version of the 911. But it won’t be some fuel-sipping Prius wannabe – instead, customers and enthusiasts alike can expect a performance-oriented hybrid drivetrain derived from the Porsche 918 Spyder.
That limited-run, left-hand-drive production special ran with a 4.6-litre V8 petrol engine teamed to a pair of electric motors – one at each axle – meaning it was all-wheel drive. The 918 Spyder claimed a 0-100km/h time of just 2.8 seconds, and a top speed of 350km/h. Hardly a tree hugger, with 663kW of power and 1273Nm of torque available.
It is unlikely that Porsche would directly lift that drivetrain and place it under the skin of the 911, but Steiner made it clear that the 918 would be the inspiration for any 911 hybrid model.
“Yes it’s possible to have technology derived from the 918 Porsche in the 911 car. The question is, once again, where to put our development engineers, what is the next step that is needed,” he said.
“There is no decision to do this on short notice. But this is definitely one topic that we have constantly on our radar and we would be able to act within a reasonable time, but we would be really prepared,” Steiner advised.
“If you look at the alternatives, what would be more important, we decided we would do the Mission E as priority one. This is a huge step in terms of electrification. This is decided, this is in serial development, but this is no real competition: one will be a derivative of an existing model, and this is a brand new platform and car.
“But it’s a competition in terms of resources,” he said of the company’s relatively small production and development resources. It is, after all, a niche sports car brand.
“It looks like the market potential is higher with a new vehicle – a completely new full electric car, than another derivative of 911. That would be well taken, but in summary of competition for resources, we put the main investment on the full battery Mission E car,” he said.
That Mission E model is drawing nearer, and Steiner also informed CarAdvice that it may be just one of a number of electric models built off the same platform under the Porsche banner.