Porsche 918 Spyder in the Australian OutbackEnlarge Photo
Porsche's plans for a successor to the 918 are indefinitely on hold until the next technological breakthrough, which will likely involve batteries. The German brand was blunt in stating any future hypercar must outperform the 918 Spyder and beat its 6:57 lap time around the Nürburgring.
Porsche research and development boss Michael Steiner told Autocar that the next hypercar will likely be all electric. However, today's battery technology isn't up to snuff. “A future super-sports is a matter of technology. If we were to do it now, it would be a hybrid. But we have already done that with the 918,” he said.
He went on to say the rate that charge would be drawn from a modern battery—likely referring to such aggressive performance driving as setting a Nürburgring lap time—would likely do extensive damage to the cells, which would cut the battery's overall life considerably. Batteries are also still quite heavy, and Porsche would need to over-engineer solutions to get around potential weight penalties associated with an electric hypercar. The extra weight means nearly every component of the car would be working harder, including the brakes and suspension.
The next major breakthrough in battery technology will likely be solid-state battery packs, though they're still far from ready for production. Henrik Fisker planned to use solid-state batteries in the production Fisker Emotion, but reneged on the announcement earlier this year. The company Fisker partnered with to provide the batteries said it planned to focus its R&D efforts on other areas, not just the automotive sector.
Porsche has never set a timetable as to when its next hypercar will arrive. The Carrera GT stormed onto the scene in 2004 and the 918 Spyder arrived almost 10 years later. “The next one might be even longer,” said Steiner.