Porsche denies rumour that next-gen 911 will use Panamera-style hybrid system
27 May 2011

Porsche is to use more hybrid powertrains and lightweight materials to improve the efficiency of its vehicles — but insiders say the firm will still try to tailor the eco tech to deliver a rewarding driving experience.

Panamera Hybrid development chief Michael Steiner told Autocar that the firm wants to “adjust the power delivery of its electric powertrains to produce a more Porsche-like driving experience”.

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Electric motors produce their peak torque from the moment they start turning, a useful quality but one that threatens to homogenise the acceleration experience, especially as they produce similar sounds.

Steiner says that Porsche is looking to combine PDK dual-clutch transmissions with electric motors to encourage the driver to rev more, even though this may be slightly less efficient.

Steiner says these goals make a range-extender unfeasible. “We want the driving pleasure that comes from a responsive engine,” he told Autocar. “Extended-range EVs are not suitable for Porsche.”

Porsche insiders have also denied internet speculation that the new 911 — due at autumn’s Frankfurt motor show — will offer an F1-style KERS hybrid system across its entire range.

“That’s nonsense,” said a high-level source. “The system is currently applied to a race car. Nothing else is planned. The new 911 will not be offered with hybrid drive for the foreseeable future. If and when it is, then it will most likely happen as a plug-in.”

That choice of system is significant, as Porsche is said to be resisting a push towards range-extender systems that use a small powerplant to feed batteries powering electric motors.

Wolfgang Leimgruber, board member for production, revealed Porsche is also investigating new mixes of materials. “We’re looking at lightweight steels, aluminium and magnesium,” he said.

Magnesium is said to have production advantages over carbonfibre — but it requires protection from corrosion. “We are experimenting with coatings,” admitted Leimgruber.

Richard Bremner

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