Porsche seems to be going all-in with electric cars, it seems, if a recent report accurately portrays the Zuffenhausen automaker’s roadmap for their duo of entry level sports cars the 718 Cayman and 718 Boxster.
Having only recently evolved to ditch its mid-mounted six-cylinder horizontally opposed engine in favour of flat-four and turbocharging, Autocar says that another, more dramatic shape shift will occur in 2022 when both cars will have swapped their combustion engines for batteries and an electric motor (or two).
That is, at least for certain variants. Apparently, by that point, the 718 series of sports cars will also have expanded to include mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains. A fully electric version could perhaps sit at the top of the range as a smaller, more agile alternative to the Taycan saloon.
Oliver Blume, chairman and CEO of Porsche, told the British publication that there are electric 718 prototypes already built and that other permutations of electrification are actively being researched and tested.
The reasoning behind Porsche hedging their bets with full EV and hybrid propulsion is due to an internal engineering study (and common sense) determining that present day lithium ion batteries are not sufficiently advanced.
Presently, given their energy storage density and weight, effective range of over 300km is not achievable without making serious alterations to the existing mid-engine architecture of the 982. New hope could come in the form of the new PPE platform which was designed to maximise battery packaging from the start.
In other areas of Porsche, the coming years will be one of gradual, but potentially turbulent, transition. The Macan, for example, is now confirmed to also be headed toward electrification, but will retain its existing architecture and powertrain spread, for the most part - a second fully electric Macan will be developed using the PPE platform and sold alongside.
This period of flux, according to Blume, a key part in the proper rollout of Porsche’s full EV flagship lineup, highlighted by the Taycan and Taycan Sport Turismo, inevitably moving to consume the Panamera and Cayenne soon after.
With regard to the 718, a fairly safe indicator as to how transplanting an EV heart into what was previously a petrol-powered sports car is the Boxster E from 2011 and the one-off Cayman e-volution from 2017’s Electric Vehicle Symposium. In the latter, a 38kWh battery pack powered dual electric motors for a range of less than 200km and a 0-100km/h in around 3.3 seconds.