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EV ‘one option’ for next Porsche Boxster, Cayman

Porsche 718 chief says electric powertrain among options for next-gen sportscars

20 May 2020

THE global head of the Porsche 718 model line, Frank-Steffen Walliser, has revealed that electrification – both hybrid and full battery electric – is one of the options under study for the next-generation Cayman and Boxster sportscars currently in development.


Speaking to Australian media ahead of the all-new 911 Targa’s global debut, Mr Walliser, who is also responsible for the iconic 911, discussed a variety of changes under consideration for the sub-911 two-seater mid-engined sportscars, which as well as electrification includes a broad return to six-cylinder powertrains and adding a targa-roofed body style to the series.


Mr Walliser said move to Euro 7 emissions regulations due in 2026 meant larger-displacement engines would return, but with natural aspiration set to be left behind in favour of electrification and forced induction, namely turbocharging.


This goes against the current trend towards smaller turbocharged engines – as seen in the current Cayman and Boxster – but is considered necessary by Porsche given the EU7 standard will put a limit on relative power per litre of displacement.


“In 2026 the next wave of regulations will come with EU7 that will be the worldwide toughest regulations considering emissions, especially in the spread between real driving emissions and what we see on the test benches,” Mr Walliser said.


“It will mean, for everybody, new engines and we will see bigger displacements coming back again.”


According to Mr Walliser, who expects combustion-engine displacements to increase 20 per cent as a direct result of EU7, the next 718 might not only return to its six-cylinder roots but end up “way more different” with “more options than only six cylinders”.


“It (electrification) would be one of the options,” he said.


“Can I imagine an electric sportscar? Yes, of course I can.


“With the 918 Spyder I think we had the first taste of it … so I definitely think we can do a very, very good electric sportscar, but I do not intend to make an electric 911.”


With a full-electric 911 ruled out and confirmation from Mr Walliser that a third sportscar or grand tourer was not on the cards any time soon, the 718 is the obvious candidate to go down the electric route.


“You’ll have to wait a little bit as to what will be the outcome,” Mr Walliser said.


Another contributing factor guiding the 718’s future is the Chinese market, which Mr Walliser said almost singlehandedly saved the Boxster and Cayman after the series downsized from a natural-breathing 2.7-litre six-cylinder engine to a turbocharged 2.0-litre four in 2016.


He said cracking into the Chinese market was of such significance to Porsche that the German sportscar marque was willing to compromise 718 sales in its “more traditional markets” in order to succeed in the world’s biggest automotive market.


“It was one of the most important strategic moves we did in the whole model line,” Mr Walliser said.


This reliance on the Chinese market is another reason why an electric 718 would be viable for Porsche given 860,000 electric vehicles were sold there last year, with the market share of EVs slated to reach 25 per cent before the end of this decade.


As for other directions under consideration for the next series, Mr Walliser revealed that a new body style could also come to fruition with the expansion of the Targa nameplate.


While stopping short of confirming the new addition, Mr Walliser said the targa body style “would work” as part of the 718 range, broadening its appeal as Porsche has successfully achieved with the 911.

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