► Electrifying the Porsche brand
► Stuttgart’s long-term EV plans revealed
► Taycan, Macan and potential new hypercar
The performance car powerhouse from Stuttgart is in the midst of a grand-scale electrification project. For some time, Porsche has been rolling out plug-in hybrid models in the arguably more day-to-day half of its car range, but that’s about to change.
Porsche has recently introduced its first fully-electric car – the Taycan – and much more is to follow in the coming years. The new 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance testbed is the latest clue to the sports EVs in the works, developing a mammoth 986bhp from its 735kW motors in qualifying mode.
Does this point to a new raft of electric sports cars? Keep reading for more on Porsche’s EV plans, including news of the e-Macan coming later this year.
Our guide to electric car batteries
What’s Porsche doing with EVs right now?
Porsche, like all other car makers, has CO2 targets to meet, so has been slowly expanding its range of hybrids and plug-in cars. By 2030, the car maker aims to be carbon neutral across the entire value chain and expects its output to be more than 80 percent pure electric.
‘We have a very clear strategy for the next 10 to 15 years in the transition period,’ Oliver Blume, Porsche’s CEO, told CAR at the launch of the Taycan. ‘We go for three engine options: we’ll continue with our petrol engines like our 911 and continue to improve them even more, then we continue with our very successful hybrid cars and think about engineering a performance hybrid.’
Both current generations of Porsche’s two largest models – the Panamera and Cayenne – have both an e-Hybrid and a performance-orientated Turbo S e-Hybrid model, for example, and there are more to come in the following years.
And, while hybridisation satisfies both Porsche’s performance car goals and its gradual reduction in CO2 output, the brand is investing heavily in battery-electric vehicles (BEVs). After years of teasing, concept cars and leaks, Porsche finally revealed the production version of its first EV in 2019: the Taycan (above).
It has also invested in Rimac, first buying a 10 per cent stake in the company – known for its Concept_One and Concept_Two cars – in June 2018, only to then increase that stake to 15.5 per cent just days after the Taycan’s September 2019 reveal. In late 2021, Bugatti-Rimac was created as the Croatian hypercar maker struck a joint venture with Rimac owning 55 per cent and Porsche AG 45 per cent.
Porsche Taycan: the brand’s first full EV
The Taycan BEV is the vanguard of Porsche’s full-electric car plans, launching in mid-2019. ‘It was a big challenge to start this project and define very clearly what was our goal to achieve,’ Blume told CAR. ‘For us it was very clear: when we design and engineer a car, it has to be 100 per cent Porsche with all the Porsche items from driving dynamics and quality.’
The Taycan is available in saloon, Sport Turismo and Cross Turismo bodystyles, combined in combination with four variants: base model, 4S, GTS, Turbo and Turbo S – stretching from around £74k all the way to £141k and beyond. These performance variants still claim between 250 and 280 miles of range in Europe (though the EPA in the USA says the Turbo S actually has around 190 miles), with four-second-or-less 0-62mph sprints.
The Sport and Cross Turismo models are spin-offs; think of them as wagon and off-road estate versions of the Taycan, designed to be more user-friendly for a wider range of potential customers.
‘This combination to use the platform of the base Taycan for a car which you can use for all your own sports interests and for going off-road: there’s a very real combination’, said Blume. ‘For Cross Turismo, to build a car with more space and the ability to go off-road. I’ve already tested the car in off-road surroundings and was as excited as driving the Taycan we present on the racetrack.’
The great electric car switchover: who’s going EV when
The Macan goes full electric
Investing in Rimac may not have been a big deal in regards to the Taycan, but it’s Porsche’s next full-electric project that will use tech from the Croatian firm. Lutz Meschke, deputy chairman of the Porsche AG board, told us at the launch of the Taycan that investment in Rimac would help an electric Macan, due on sale in 2023 after a static debut in late 2022.
Meschke said in a statement regarding the larger stake acquisition: ‘We quickly realised that Porsche and Rimac can learn a lot from each other. We believe in what Mate Rimac and his company have to offer.’
Mate Rimac, founder and MD of Rimac, added ‘We are only at the start of our partnership – yet we have already met our high expectations. We have many collaborative ideas that we aim to bring to life in the future. The fundamental focus is creating a win-win situation for both partners and offering our end customers added value by developing exciting, electrified models.’
So, what does that mean for the Macan? Porsche confirmed that the next one will definitely be full-electric and it will use the Premium Platform Electric – an 800v battery-electric platform that’s been primarily developed by Porsche, but one that the wider VW Group has access to. Audi, for example, will be creating a range of cars to sit on the electric underpinnings in the coming years. Porsche confirmed that the next electric Macan will be built at its facility in Leipzig, too. We expect to see the all-electric Macan later in 2023.
What’s next for the 718 sports car twins?
CAR insiders suggest the current 718 Boxster and Cayman are expected to soldier on until 2023, before Porsche decides what to do with the next generation. Luckily, the brand is expanding the range of six-cylinder variants with its GTS 4.0 option.
Blume told CAR in mid-2019 that the brand had around 12 months to ‘go right or left’ on building an electric 718, with engineers already working on prototypes. Our artist’s impression above points to what a sports EV could look like.
It doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to realise that 2022’s 718 Cayman GT4 ePerformance testbed shows a lot of what a racing version of the Cayman looks like when it plugs in…
Will there be an electric Porsche 911?
The short answer is ‘no’; the long answer is ‘not for quite a while…’ Meschke told us that making an electric 911 ‘will be a bit difficult, but for the 718 I think it could be a very good step for the future.’
Instead, the 992-generation 911 will remain a combustion-engined car until the facelift arrives; Porsche says that this generation of platform can take a hybrid powertrain, but is waiting until the ‘992.2’ version to introduce it (this 911 family update is anticipated in 2023).
After that is a different story – a fully-electric 911 would upset a significant amount of people but, if Porsche is committed to making its combustion engines cleaner, there may be some life in the evergreen sports car yet.
What about an electric Porsche hypercar?
Porsche has been lacking an ultimate halo car since the hybrid-powered 918 Spyder, and it’s something the brand is keen to get back into. So long as it has real-world applications; Porsche isn’t about to churn out a biblically-powerful hypercar for the sake of it, but experiments are being conducted behind closed doors.
‘Hypercars belong to Porsche. It’s technically always been our strategy, but we don’t engineer hypercars to engineer hypercars – our kind is to improve innovation,’ Blume points out. It’s telling that Porsche’s chairman and deputy chair, Lutz Meschke, both sit on the supervisory board of Bugatti-Rimac…
‘We haven’t decided on the car yet, and we are still working on the concept and thinking about how to improve the chemistry of the batteries.
‘But when we come to the point where we are very clear what configuration should be in a car like this, then we will decide. But it will be before the half of the next decade.’
Further electric car reading
The best electric cars and EVs on sale today
How much does it cost to charge an electric car?
The best hybrids, plug-ins and PHEVs
Wireless electric car charging