Early last year, Porsche unveiled an all electric prototype of its entry level model which is the Boxster. The Boxster E is fitted with electric drive components such as a lithium-ion battery pack and an electric motor driving the rear wheels that is rated at 240hp.
For the past two years, the company has been testing a 911 GT3 fitted with a flywheel based hybrid system. The car even participated in the 2010 Nuburgring race. It was in the lead for most parts of the race until it had to retire due to technical issues.
It is evident that Porsche is not afraid to accept green technology and harness that technology to its full advantage. Recently, the company has affirmed its commitments to electric drive technology, particularly hybrids. Porsche believes that the technology allows the internal combustion engine to remain viable for many more years.
At the 2012 Vienna Motor Symposium, Wolfgang Hatz (Porsche’s board member for research and development) stated that the company would continue to set the benchmark with efficient drive systems in the future. Hatz explained that the focus is now on the development of plug-in hybrid technology for product applications.
Porsche’s first plug-in hybrid (the 918 Spyder) is set to debut some time next year. The supercar features a race-bred V8 engine which is combined with two electric motors. It is said that the car should return a fuel economy in excess of 70 miles per gallon when using a mix of electric-only and hybrid driving.
Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid
Hatz also emphasise the fact of the expansion of electric technology in hybrid models and the optimisation of conventional combustion engine will play a role in drive system developments in the future. Using the Panamera and Cayenne as examples, Hatz mentioned that the hybrid versions of these two are already out in the market and the sales figure for the Cayenne hybrid is twice as high as the combined figure of all competitor models in that segment and plug-in versions are expected in the near future too.
Porsche Panamera S Hybrid
Hatz further explained that Porsche is developing even more solutions to get improved efficiency and performance from the synergy effects of the combustion engine and the electric motor. Furthermore, the potential of conventional combustion is far from being exhausted. And the combustion engine will continue to play an important role for the drive system of sports cars in the foreseeable future for the company.