With the world going mad for plug-in hybrids to meet strict new emissions standards, there has been much speculation about whether Porsche would add a plug to its iconic 911 sports car. Where would you put the batteries? How would the extra weight affect handling? Would Porsche’s passionate fans even consider such a car a legitimate heir to the proud 911 tradition?
Speaking to the press at the Detroit auto show this week, 911 engineering boss Dr Erhard Mossle told Britain’s Auto Express, “We are, of course, working on different solutions and we’re also working on an all-electric car. And of course, we are discussing plug-in solutions for the 911, but there are a lot of things to solve with packaging in the car and other things to solve. It will maybe be in the next generation, yes.” The next version of the 911 is expected in about 4 years.
Mossle made sure to emphasize that the focus of the 911 will always be on performance, even if a plug-in hybrid configuration is adopted. “When we see the 911, we see the plug-in hybrid as a performance car – it will always be for performance.” He said the company will likely stay with its flat 6 engines that have been the heart and soul of the 911 since 1963.
“As far as I can see, we will stick with six cylinder engines because we have a good positioning with 911 and six cylinders. Even with the six cylinder engines, we have a lot of potential to reduce consumption and CO2 emissions. ” He added that plug-in technology could find its way into Porsche’s four cylinder offerings like the Boxster and Caymen as well.
Mossle indicated that Porsche will be in charge of hybrid development for the entire Volkswagen Group. “918 Spider was a good example and our race car is a good example – it’s the most sophisticated race car. So we are at the front when it comes to any systems like this.”
Dr. Mossle was on hand in Detroit to introduce two new turbocharged 011 models, the 911 Turbo and 911 Turbo S. Both are following close behind the newly turbocharged Carrera. The 911 Turbo and Turbo S both have 20 more horsepower at 533 and 572 bhp respectively. The Turbo S will now have a top speed of 205mph and a 0-60 time of 2.8 seconds. That makes it the fastest 911 ever.
UPDATE, January 13
Dr. Mossle has one other thing to say in Detroit, but only Top Gear caught it. “The Mission E could lead to a future when we need more electric cars to meet our regulations. So, you can imagine a Mission E with two-doors – the car looks great and there could be potential for a sports car. Whether it’s called a 911 or not is another discussion. Maybe, the Mission E is the starting point in this segment and as with our other car lines, you don’t just have one car, there are some variants.”
Top Gear notes that Porsche’s corporate sibling, Audi, has already approved an electric R8 e-tron for production, so the pieces to make such a car are already on the shelf at Volkswagen Group. Hmmm, that’s interesting, isn’t it?