If a few years ago you said Porsche would be the first major automaker to fit electric drive technology in each of its models, you would have probably been labeled somewhat delusional.
Today, however, such a statement is close to being true as every model in Porsche’s lineup is either already available with some form of electric drive technology or is being tested in the field with it.
From the entry-level Boxster, which last year debuted as an all-electric prototype
, to the iconic 911, which for the second year running is being tested with a flywheel-based hybrid system
in motorsport, Porsche has demonstrated that it isn’t afraid to embrace green technology and even harness it to its advantage.
Recently, Porsche reaffirmed its commitment to electric drive technology, and in particular hybrids, which the automaker believes will allow the internal combustion engine to remain viable for many more years to come.
Speaking at the 2012 Vienna Motor Symposium last week, Porsche board member for research and development Wolfgang Hatz said that Porsche would continue to set the benchmark with efficient drive systems in the future.
He explained that the focus now is the development of plug-in hybrid technology for production applications. Porsche’s first plug-in hybrid is set to debut as early as next year, the highly-anticipated 918 Spyder supercar
. It’s expected to combine a race-bred V-8 engine with a pair of electric motors and should return a fuel economy in excess of 70 mpg when using a mix of electric-only and hybrid driving.
As Hatz puts it, the 918 Spyder will “redefine driving pleasure, efficiency and performance, uniting the best of two worlds: a combustion engine and an electric drive.”
In addition, Hatz underscores the fact that the expansion of electrification in hybrid models and the optimization of the conventional combustion engine will play a major role in future drive system developments.
Using the Panamera and the Cayenne as examples, Hatz explained that hybrid versions of both these models were already on the market and that the sales figures for the hybrid version of the Cayenne alone were twice as high as the combined figures of all competitor models in this segment. In the near future, plug-in versions
are expected too.
The Porsche exec went on to explain that the automaker is developing even more solutions to get improved efficiency and performance from the synergy effects of the combustion engine and electric motor. Furthermore, the potential of conventional combustion engines is far from being exhausted.
“That's why, for Porsche, the combustion engine will continue to play a vital role for the drive system of sports cars in the foreseeable future,” Hatz said.