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You may have read in this week’s magazine the story that came off the back of James Attwood’s interrogation of Porsche’s technical chief, Michael Steiner.
Steiner fleshed out one of the biggest current talking points on Planet Petrolhead, which is that the 718 range will in 2022 sprout bespoke electric versions of the Boxster and Cayman. This we already knew. What we didn’t know is that the platform for these machines will house the battery pack not along the floor of the car, as is typical for EVs, but behind the rear bulkhead, where the 718’s flat four (or, in the case of the new GTS, flat six) traditionally nestles.
It’s an intriguing and encouraging idea. Although it means the centre of gravity of the pack and most likely also of the entire car will be higher, positioning the heavy battery cells as such should allow Porsche to more faithfully replicate the petrol car’s lovely handling balance and, crucially, retain the low-slung driving position. As someone who in general finds the handling of electric performance cars – even very good ones – almost too neutral, I like the sound of this approach. If we’re going to enjoy electric performance cars with little or no soul in the powertrain department, they’re going to need to make up for it with an expressive and biddable chassis. And putting the driver as close to the road as possible will help.
None of this will be easy to execute, but the news shows Porsche is at least thinking about the problem in the right way, especially when it must be so tempting to resort to the ‘skateboard’ battery layout. Many manufacturers will simply combine that with the phenomenal torque control that’s possible with individual electric motors for each of the rear wheels, and then put the PR machine into overdrive with stories of how much quicker and more secure the EV model is than the ICE one ever was. Thanks, but that is something we really don’t want or need in two-seat sports cars.