This month, Porsche announced that it will drop diesel from its engine line-up. This will especially affect the Macan, one of its bestselling vehicles and sold with a rich mix of diesel engines.
Porsche is already working on a new, all-electric platform, called the PPE, jointly with Audi for a next generation of electric vehicles. The PPE is all-new, but includes learning from the J1 underpinning that’s the basis for the new four-door Taycan BEV, due on sale “by the end of 2019”.
The Taycan will become a family of models with further strong hints that the Cross Turismo, shown as a concept at Geneva this year, has a production future. “The Taycan derivatives have already been showcased,” said Meschke.
It has also emerged that the Zuffenhausen plant where the Taycan will be built is preparing for a Targa version, for launch in 2020/21. Details are scarce, but the Taycan Targa is most likely to feature a large glazed opening that slides down to the rear hatch area. The J1 underpinning could readily be adapted with a short wheelbase and two-door body as the basis of a new compact Porsche sports car. However, such a mod would reduce battery size, range and performance.
Preparing for more electric models after the Taycan, the new PPE architecture is in development in parallel with the Taycan and could be ready for market in 2022, when Porsche says its BEV SUV will be on sale.
It is unclear if the PPE platform is sufficiently flexible to underpin multiple powertrain layouts and firewall heights, but Porsche has already built an electric Boxster E prototype. A packaging prototype, it was also touted as a possible rival for the Tesla Roadster. But that was seven years ago, an age in electric car development.
The Boxster E had componentry borrowed from VW’s Golf blue-e motion and a 121bhp electric motor fed by a 340-cell lithium ion battery pack, all packaged in the space vacated by the flat-six combustion engine.
Porsche engineers learned a lot from that car, including concerns that the weight of the battery powertrain would affect performance and handling, the latter because the weight raised the centre of gravity. One told Autocar last year that “fully electrified sports cars would work well for longitudinal acceleration, but the weight disadvantage is in the handling”. Whether a future 911 will use solely battery power is also up for debate.
Meschke confirmed that the next 911, in its new 992 guise and due on sale later this year, will include a hybrid version.
The 911 hybrid won’t be available at launch, but is pencilled in to the plan as part of the new model electrification onslaught by 2022 – to fulfil the group strategic target of every model with an electrified version by 2023.
Porsche engineers have previously told Autocar that the packaging issues of a pure battery electric drivetrain were incompatible with the 911 as a fine handling sports car with everyday usable 2+2 seating.
Last year, an engineer told Autocar that next-generation solid state batteries, which are lighter and predicted to be able to be shaped to reduce package space, might be the required breakthrough to make a 911 BEV a reality. However, solid state technology may be a decade from production.