Not that long ago, we saw a Tesla Roadster pull ahead of a Porsche 911 Carrera in a drag race, laughing all the way. Porsche now says it’s going to improve the fuel consumption of its fleet, with techniques such as variable displacement, hybrid-electric drives, and smaller engines. Related incidences? Well, probably not – but that’s some great timing from Porsche either way.
Porsche’s chief development officer, Wolfgang Hatz, spoke briefly to Auto Motor Und Sport about the company’s plans for the future; particularly about variable displacement (the technique of shutting off cylinders while the engine is running in order to reduce working engine capacity and improve fuel economy):
“It [a variable displacement system] is definitely in the works, particularly for the V engines. We’re also working pretty hard on electric systems. We’re looking at plug-in variants of the Panamera and Cayenne in the next few years.”
Plug-In Hybrid 911 Carrera? Really?
While I am not a big fan, aesthetically, of either the 911 (don’t look at me like that) or the Panamera (it’s like an egg on wheels), I do understand there are many people who are. For those of you who really like the 911, there’s news for you as well: and if you guessed “plug-in hybrid,” you’d be correct. Hatz spoke a little bit about the testing process on that front:
“We’ve got a promising concept in development right now, and we’d really love to be able to offer a car like that. But right now we can’t make it work with standard Porsche weight requirements. We’re looking to massively improve fuel efficiency with conventional methods, but within that framework, I don’t see a plug-in hybrid during the current 911 development cycle.”
On the one hand, I’m glad to see Porsche making an effort to be more fuel-efficient. On the other hand, I’m not sure anything Porsche does will favor the clean-and-green over the goes-fast. But wait, I’ve left something out.
And Then There Was Talk of an Electric Boxster
There have been no decisions yet made as to whether or not Porsche actually will make an all-electric Boxster, but there are actual plans drawn up. It could be built and tested. There are also plans for a fuel-efficient four-cylinder Boxster; Hatz claims the engine is in production but there hasn’t been a decision as to which model it’ll actually go in yet. He also claims that fuel efficiency is the top priority, and since he’s talking about the Boxster there, I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.
As for the potential e-Boxster, the question is not how quickly the car can accelerate, but the top speed it can reach, according to Hatz:
“Electric cars are great when accelerating from zero to sixty. But they’re much harder to drive at high speeds. That brings up the question of whether or not it’s really a Porsche.”
Or perhaps he’s just aggravated about losing to a Tesla Roadster. You tell me – feel free to chime in in the comments below.
Source: Auto Motor und Sport | Image: Wikimedia Commons.