Porsche will electrify the Cayman/Boxster
Next generation of mid-engined 718s will get battery-electric and plug-in hybrid options
Porsche’s mid-engined sportscar favourites will score mild-hybrid, plug-in hybrid and even full battery-electric power in its next full generation, due in 2022.
The 718 Boxster roadster and Cayman coupe twins are likely to deliver only the two hybrid options initially, with battery-electric vehicle (BEV) versions of the roadster and coupe most likely to wait for the industrialisation of solid-state batteries until about 2025.
Sources have insisted that the delay on the BEV variant has been forced on Porsche because it can not package enough current-tech lithium-ion batteries into its current chassis to eke out more than 300km of range.
While Porsche’s Volkswagen Group parent has revealed it expects a 25% improvement in energy-to-weight potency of lithium-ion batteries between now and 2025, Porsche also believes solid-state batteries will add another 25% again on top of that figure.
It’s no coincidence that CEO Oliver Blume has admitted Porsche will not return to the hypercar fold until after 2025, when he expects solid-state batteries to come on stream.
“The evolution of the batteries in three or four years can offer this,” Blume said in March. “It’s not decided yet if [the next hypercar] is a hybrid or a full battery car. We wait [on] the development of the batteries. It will be 2025 or later.”
Blume was not only talking about performance in a straight line, but overall battery performance, including packaging, safety and range.
The lithium-ion batteries in Porsche’s current production plug-in hybrids deliver 37 Amp hours per cell, Blume admitted. A production step is already planned to lift this to 47, but the 911 hybrid will have 60 Amp hours per cell.
He hinted that a move to solid-state batteries could end range anxiety, pushing cars out to 1,000km before they need recharging. They also promise to be safer in serious crashes.
Porsche’s investigations into solid-state tie in with the financial and technical tie-up from its parent company, the Volkswagen Group, into a solid-state spin off of the Stanford University in the US.
The group spent $100m in 2018 to buy a chunk of QuantumScape, a solid-state battery research and development operation.
Blume pointed out that when solid-state technology is industrialised for the car industry, the batteries will be 30% lighter than lithium-ion batteries, with greater energy-storage potential per cell and that up to 99% of the battery packs will be recyclable.
While the 718 BEV waits for solid-state, the mid-motor twins will score proven hybrid technology, with hardware lifted from big brother, the 911. They will be fiddled to fit into the 718’s four-cylinder ethos, rather than the bigger car’s flat-six layout.
That effectively means the introduction of a 48-volt electrical system and a disc-shaped electric motor nestled inside the seven-speed dual-clutch transmission to add boost under acceleration and recover energy under deceleration.
Blume is already on record as saying an all-electric Macan SUV is also in the works.
“For at least two to three years we will have both [electric and combustion versions of the second-generation Macan],” he said. “At that point, we can decide whether to upgrade the combustion engines to the new Euro 7 standard or go full electric. The pace that countries are changing is different — China wants electric now, Russia is in less of a hurry, for instance.”
Porsche has already developed two full BEV platforms: the J1 that sits beneath the upcoming Taycan, the Taycan Sports Turismo and its Audi twin, the e-tron GT, plus its successor, the PPE system that will host everything from Lamborghinis to Bentleys.