Porsche is among the cadre of German luxury carmakers adding all-electric and plug-in hybrid models to their lineups to better compete with Tesla Motors. The Porsche Mission E electric-car concept that debuted at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show last year is scheduled to enter production by the end of the decade.
Porsche also previously offered the limited-production 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid supercar, and continues to offer plug-in hybrid versions of the Panamera sedan and Cayenne SUV. But there’s one Porsche model that likely won’t get a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or all-electric powertrain anytime soon.
That’s the company’s iconic 911 sports car.
Porsche won’t completely dismiss the idea of a hybrid or electric 911, but claims it doesn’t see a market for such a car developing anytime soon, 911 product director August Achleitner said in a recent interview with Australia’s Drive. With current technology, there too many “disadvantages of such a concept within this narrow layout of a 911,” Achleitner said.
Hardcore Porsche fans are known for being among the most conservative around, and in the past have scoffed at changes such as the switch from air-cooled to water-cooled engines in the 1990s, and the more recent change from hydraulic to electric power steering.
Over a production run that spans for than five decades, Porsche has tried to maintain as consistent an identity as possible for the 911—even through major redesigns. Achleitner also said Porsche doesn’t see much demand for a hybrid or electric 911 at this time, but that the company is monitoring changing consumer tastes regarding green cars.
Many carmakers are introducing more electrified models in order to meet stricter fuel-economy standards, but Achleitner believes the Mission E will give Porsche leeway to be less aggressive with efficiency when it comes to sports cars. The Mission E lets Porsche “act a little bit more free” with the 911, as well as the smaller 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman sports cars. Porsche isn’t completely ignoring efficiency when it comes to the 911, though.
As part of a recent mid-cycle refresh, it added downsized turbocharged engines to the lineup in a bid to improve fuel economy, at least somewhat.
But that change—and efficiency-related tweaks Porsche made to other models like the Panamera—won’t have nearly the same impact on emissions as the Mission E’s all-electric powertrain.
[hat tip: Max Looker]