It all boils down to one essential piece of technology.
First thing's first: Porsche is currently developing a hypercar successor to the 918 Spyder. It will happen, no doubt, but nothing will appear before 2023, at the earliest. With that settled, the question is whether this unnamed hypercar will be a full-blown all-electric car or come with a hybrid drivetrain? Turns out this is the big question Porsche has yet to decide, according to an Autocar report. The original plan was to continue advancing an all-electric drivetrain that could even outperform the recently revealed 99X Formula E race car.
The report goes on to state that Porsche has concluded that solid-state battery technology, initially planned for use in this new hypercar, is not advancing as initially expected. Porsche's reported solid-state battery tech demands will not be possible until sometime in the second half of the next decade, which is far too late.
Consequently, Porsche has to come up with an alternative plan, which is said to focus on an advanced plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid drivetrain. This isn't just any PHEV drivetrain, however. It was originally developed by Porsche Motorsport for Porsche's now-scrapped Formula1 return. If Porsche does opt for this that means the 918 successor will be a direct competitor to the also upcoming Mercedes-AMG One, due for custom delivery in 2021.
Coincidentally or not, the AMG One is also underpinned with F1-derived tech. What's interesting about Porsche Motorsport's drivetrain is not only does its initial development date back to 2017, but the originally planned 2.0-liter engine was dropped in favor of a 1.6-liter unit to meet F1 specifications.
Even though Porsche opted not to re-enter F1 in order to focus time and money on its new Formula E program, the F1 drivetrain development never stopped. As far as its battery is concerned, there's this all-important fact to remember: Porsche has a 15.5 percent stake in Rimac, the Croatian electric supercar company and technology supplier. Porsche clearly takes this relationship very seriously and it's entirely possible Rimac could be involved in the development of the unnamed Porsche's hybrid powertrain, specifically the batteries and electric motor.
Whether or not the 918 successor is a pure EV or a PHEV, the main point to take from this is that Porsche does not feel battery tech is where it needs to be just yet. The day will come, of course, but it may still be several years away.