The deadline to decide: one year.
A few months ago, we learned that Porsche is interested in turning a future generation 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman into all-electric sports cars. On paper, this makes sense. These mid-engined vehicles seemingly already have the ideal setup for a floor-mounted battery pack in place of the combustion engine. Heck, it could even be possible to achieve the coveted 50-50 weight distribution. However, the automaker is no immediate rush to fully electrify the 718. Why? Batteries are still too heavy.
Speaking with the UK's Car magazine, Porsche R&D chief Dr. Michael Steiner acknowledged the project has yet to receive the green light. "We are running electrified Boxsters to gain expertise and knowledge to see how an electric car performs as a two-door. But there is no final decision yet," he said.
Furthermore, Porsche is having a hard time keeping the so-called "Porscheness" to sports cars. This task was easier to go on the all-new Porsche Taycan because it's a GT car and, therefore, some added weight was okay.
"But the additional weight for a sports car, we are not satisfied with today," he said. "This is one of the reasons why our next electric car will be a small SUV not a two-door sports car." Yes, that SUV will be an all-electric Macan, due next year in some but not all global markets. As Porsche continues to experiment with battery-powered sports cars, it's still waiting for the technology to catch up with its requirements.
"In principle, if there was a breakthrough in battery technology, something like solid-state batteries - this direction would trigger a two-door sports car fully electrified. But I do not see in the first half of this decade a good chance of a breakthrough in battery technology. We will see step-by-step incremental benefit with lithium-ion batteries."
However, inside sources are still claiming the next-generation Porsche 718 Boxster and Cayman could go all-electric, but only for the entry-level models. They could feature twin electric motors, rear- or all-wheel-drive, an aluminum monocoque, and a total output of around 400 hp. A 2023 launch is being targeted. But again, these are the entry-level models, as the top-the-line 718s will likely remain combustion engine-powered for the foreseeable future.
But there's another factor working in Porsche's favor: its investment in Rimac. Rimac is already at work with the next-gen Macan and its next assignment is said to be Porsche's small sports car. But Porsche has only about a year left to decide on the electrification route.
Rimac and Porsche engineers have to prove to management they can deliver the goods.