The Porsche brand has long been associated with performance, but in an era of increasingly stringent emission and fuel economy regulations, the company's focus has expanded to hybrids. The German automaker already has two consumer hybrid models launching next year, a hybrid supercar in the wings, and a hybrid 911 terrorizing race tracks across the world, but this is but the tip of the iceberg: in fact, the company plans on offering hybrid versions of each of its six consumer models.
The not-so-surprising news comes from Automotive News Europe, which recently spoke with Wolfgang Dürheimer, Porsche's executive vice president of research and development. Although previous company executives expressed the need and drive to implement hybrid powertrains in Porsche models, Dürheimer revealed that no consumer model -- even the fabled 911 -- will be spared such technology.
"In the future, we will have hybrid drive in every model line," Dürheimer said. That isn't shocking, considering new regulations crafted by the European Union are pushing Porsche to cut its average CO2 emissions from 255 grams per kilometer to 216 grams within the next five years. Although there isn't a single silver bullet (in fact, the automaker is also talking about downsizing its engine portfolio and increasing its use of carbon fiber components), Porsche's brass view hybrids as a viable means of achieving this goal.
A hybrid form of the Cayenne SUV is already in dealers, and a Panamera hybrid will launch early next year, but expect the technology to eventually be applied to Porsche's sports car models, including the 911, Boxster, and Cayman. A hybrid 911 GT3 R racecar already competes in GT Class races, but Porsche's first road-going hybrid sports car will be the new 918 Spyder. Dürheimer hopes the lessons learned in pushing the 918 into production will help the company "electrify all our sports cars in the future."
Dürheimer noted hybrid versions of the 911, Boxster, and Cayman are in the works, although he wouldn't give a timetable for their introduction. Automotive News Europe suggests they'll debut after the 918's gestation, which is expected to reach customers by 2014. In the meantime, evolutions of current hybrid models -- including a proposed Panamera Turbo plug-in hybrid -- could also come to market.
Source: Automotive News Europe (Subscription required)