Porsche is developing an electric 718 sports car for launch around 2022, Autocar reported on Tuesday.
Prototype 718s with electric powertrains are being developed alongside one with a hybrid powertrain, the British publication has learned from Porsche CEO Oliver Blume.
Dr. Oliver Blume
“We have prototypes of the 718 running in electric now, and a hybrid prototype is being built,” he said. “If you look to the next generation of those cars it is possible, although it is not yet clear whether it would be plug-in hybrid or hybrid.”
Blume in April hinted that an electric 718 was possible, but ruled out any chance of an electric 911.
2019 Porsche 718 Boxster T
He also said in March that any electric Porsche would have to be based on a dedicated EV platform, indicating that the electric 718 could be the first recipient of the SPE (Sports car Platform Electric) modular EV platform mentioned at a Volkswagen Group investor presentation held last November. An alternative is the PPE (Premium Platform Electric) platform that will underpin an electric Macan due around 2021.
Should a hybrid 718 also reach production, it will likely be based on an upgraded version of the current 718's platform. Porsche is expected to follow a similar strategy with its electric Macan, selling the zero-emission version alongside the existing internal-combustion model.
2019 Porsche 718 Cayman T
Autocar posits that the need for a hybrid 718 is due to the electric version being limited on range by current lithium-ion battery technology. Remember, the 718 is a small, lightweight sports car, so it can't have a big and hulking battery.
The hybrid technology will likely be borrowed from the setup being developed for hybrid versions of the new 992-generation 911. Essentially, an electric motor-generator is integrated with the transmission. Both mild- and plug-in hybrid setups are said to be on the table. In the case of the former, the motor-generator would only aid the engine whereas in the latter the motor-generator would be able to power the wheels alone for short distances thanks to a bigger battery being fitted.
Porsche Boxster E electric prototype
Note, Porsche rolled out an electric Boxster prototype as early as 2011. Called the Boxster E, the prototype was developed purely for research purposes and came with a 29-kilowatt-hour battery and a single electric motor good for 240 horsepower.
The accelerated growth in demand for EVs in the premium sector has caught many automakers by surprise, including Porsche. Only recently the automaker was predicting that half its lineup could be electrified (hybrids and EVs) by 2025, but now it's openly stating that half the lineup could be made up of cars running solely on electric power by that date.