The next phase in the Porsche 911’s evolution will come in the form of electric drive and, apparently, will find their way into customer’s hands from 2018, which is when the next generation of the car is due to be unveiled.
Motoring.com.au has reported that, as of right now, at least two of Porsche’s most senior executives have made it rather clear that the automaker’s most coveted model, the 911 sports car, will be a hybrid – driven by both gasoline and electric motors.
The first spawn of this new direction is reported to take the form of the all-wheel-drive 911 Carrera 4, inheriting technology developed from Porsche’s Le Mans racing program and the Porsche 918 Spyder. Former Australian F1 driver and now Porsche 919 racer Mark Webber is in support, confident that customers are “ready to embrace the next step in sports cars.”
"They will, because we're not easy to convince, as racing drivers, with this technology," said the Porsche driver at Le Mans.
The Australian motoring site also said that more details surrounding the next-generation 911 with hybrid technology will only be made clearer closer to its release in 2018. The future Carrera 4 will likely use its electric motor to drive the front wheels while its petrol-powered motor will drive the rear wheels.
Porsche’s motorsports boss, Dr Frank-Stefan Walliser said during the Le Mans 24 Hours regarding the possible omission of the central differential, "It would be a Carrera 4, why not? With four-wheel drive what you can do, the freedom you have how to use the traction, you're not depending on the speed between the different axles."
Motoring Australia also said that the Stuttgart automaker will reveal the facelifted Type 991 Porsche 911 at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show in September that will be the first to feature smaller displacement turbocharged petrol engines.
With emissions regulations becoming stricter, the upper echelons of the 911 range will need to undergo even more dramatic changes to make the cut, which brings us to the necessity to include hybrid technology in the next generation 911 (tentatively called Type 992).
Porsche has been a clear proponent of plug-in hybrid technology and has implemented it into the Cayenne, Panamera, and 918 Spyder. But with the 911, as Walliser elaborates, the issue becomes more precarious as it involves the brand’s most historically significant and fiercely protected model.
"It has to feel like a Porsche and like a 911. It must drive like these cars always drive," says Walliser, with Motoring Australia speculating that the first iterations to adopt this technology are to be paired with normally aspirated engines.
“I would say normally aspirated [engines] are the better choice [for 911 hybrid]. You save the weight of the turbo and you have the low-end torque of the electric motors so that fits normally better. I expect we'll end up with every model line with a plug-in hybrid.”
However, Dr. Wolfgang Hatz, head of research and development at Porsche, is the man who ultimately will have the final say on the matter. Walliser says that Hatz, though, is also advocating the pairing of naturally aspirated engines and hybrid technology.
Dr. Hatz told Motoring.com.au, “Personally I'm a strong supporter of hybrid technology. I push hard for this. I tell you if it improves performance, then we need it on our sports cars. If it's fun to drive, people will want that.”