What Needs to Happen for Porsche to Build an Electric Sports Car

Is an electric 718 Boxster or Cayman in the works? We spoke with Porsche sports car boss August Achleitner to find out.

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Porsche

Last month, Porsche announced that it will soon build an all-electric Macan crossover. The announcement gave us a glimpse into the automaker's electric future. And one line from the press release, attributed to Porsche chairman Oliver Blume, stuck out:

"[O]ver the next ten years we will focus on a drive mix consisting of even further optimized petrol engines, plug-in hybrid models, and purely electrically operated sports cars."

An electric Porsche sports car? A fascinating possibility, and one that deserves further explanation. At the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, I spoke with August Achleitner, Porsche's sports car boss, to try to get a bit more info.

While Achleitner said people at Porsche are always discussing the possibility of what comes next—including electric sports cars—right now the automaker is focused on getting the Taycan EV sedan and the next-generation Macan out.

"Porsche of course has grown in the last years, but still is a very small brand," Achleitner said. "We're concentrating our electric-vehicle knowledge on these two cars, the Taycan and Macan. That doesn't leave enough engineering capacity to do such a thing also for the 718 or for the 911."

He also noted that focusing on higher-volume four-door EVs will better help Porsche meet corporate fleet C02 emissions requirements. Last year, Porsche sold around 25,000 718s worldwide, compared to roughly 86,000 Macans, hence the focus on electrifying the crossover first.

All that said, Achleitner is still interested in the possibility of an electric Boxster/Cayman. Such a car would be a way to invite new customers to the brand. But Achleitner insists it would have to be done correctly.

"If the whole world is in such a place that the people come into a Porsche dealer, and see an electric sports car and say, 'Oh, I like it. I want to have it,' then it makes sense," he said. "Right now the situation is not so clear, but we're looking into it."

During the Geneva show, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume spoke a little bit more about the possibility of an electric sports car with :

"Because of the mid-engine [a Boxster EV] could work. It depends on the development of the markets and the needs. We will decide this year in what direction we will develop the Boxster segment. When we do an electric car it will be a platform specially developed for electric cars. Our opinion is that when you use a car that is designed for a petrol engine it doesn't fit for an EV because of the construction of the body. When you play in the segment like Porsche to develop very sporty cars, it has to be tailor made for each type of engine."

So, an electric Porsche sports car is a real possibility, but it's likely to be a few years away. The company could also mimic the strategy it's using with the Macan, where the current gas-powered generation lives alongside a new electric version.

In any case, we know that the current, 982-generation Boxster and Cayman are sticking around for the next four years. And during that time, they'll get a bit more old-school, too, with the return of a naturally aspirated flat-six engine for the 718 Cayman GT4 and Boxster Spyder.

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