The new PDK gearbox will be able to incorporate an electric motor.
The next-generation Porsche 911 is finally here, as the all-new Carrera S and 4S finally debuted at the LA Auto Show last month. As with previous generations of the iconic sports car, many more 911 variants will launch over the next few years, including the new Turbo and GT3.
For the first time in the model's history, the new 911 will also be electrified during its planned seven-year lifecycle. Porsche isn't satisfied with current battery technology so a pure electric 911 isn't coming any time soon. However, Porsche's head of sports car development, August Achleitner, has confirmed to Autocar that development of a hybridized version with a limited electric-only range is currently underway.
By utilizing knowledge gained while working on the 918 Spyder hybrid supercar and the electrified Panamera and Cayenne, Porsche has found a way to cram a hybrid setup inside the 911's tight mechanical packaging. A new gearset that's four inches shorter has been adapted from the Panamera and Cayenne, allowing Porsche to free up room at the back of the newly developed eight-speed, dual-clutch gearbox for a disc-shaped electric motor. The PDK is also stronger as it can cope with a maximum torque exceeding 500 lb-ft, which Achleitner says is necessary to allow the 911 hybrid to handle the strong torque loading of the motor.
The four-wheel-drive system of the car has been upgraded to deliver as much as 50 percent of the power to the front wheels, and the new brake booster similar to the one in the 918 Spyder is now fully electric instead of electromechanical, allowing for better energy recovery.
Achleitner didn't divulge any performance specifications of the 911 hybrid but used the Panamera S E-Hybrid as a reference. The range-topping Panamera uses an electric motor developing 134 hp and 218 lb-ft of torque. Combined with its twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 that produces 542 hp and 568 lb-ft, the Panamera S E-Hybrid has a total output of 671 hp and 626 lb-ft of torque. In theory, then, applying the power and torque developed by the Panamera S E Hybrid's electric motor to the new 911 Carrera S would provide it with a potential output of 578 hp and 686 lb-ft of torque.
As for the battery powering the electric motor, it will likely be incorporated into the front of the car to greatly improve weight distribution. No range details were released, but the Panamera delivers a fully electric range of 31 miles. The hybrid 911 will be a lot lighter, so it could go even further. It will be a long time until we find out though because Porsche has said the 911 hybrid won't be here until 2022 at the earliest.