Porsche has been busy in the past year developing a series of hybrids for the European market. The automaker demonstrated its 911 GT3 R Hybrid race car at the 24 Hours of Nuremberg. Porsche also presented the Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid concept at the Geneva Motor Show. The Cayenne S Hybrid also premiered earlier this year as Porsche’s first model to run on all-electric power over short distances. The next phase in Porsche’s green vehicle development is a proposed EV version of the popular Boxster.
The automaker announced last week that a trio of Porsche Boxster EVs would be involved in road testing in the first quarter of 2011. Porsche is participating in tests as part of Germany’s National Electromobility Development Plan. The all-electric Boxsters will be operated on the streets of Stuttgart and utilize public charging stations. Researchers from Porsche and participating institutions will look at how the Boxsters perform in various road conditions. This early stage of testing should also show Porsche how much additional development is needed to bring an electric Boxster to the market.
A production version of the Porsche Boxster EV may resemble the 911 GT3 Hybrid in terms of performance and design. The latter model is a two-seater with a 373 kW V8 engine that can achieve a projected fuel mileage of 78 miles per gallon. The 911 GT3 Hybrid was designed with a light body and a low profile to decrease wind resistance. The Porsche Boxster EV will surely resemble the traditional version’s sporty design but need to be less heavy to increase battery range.
The Boxster EV trial announcement by company president Michael Macht showed the typical caution of an automaker in a difficult economy. Macht pointed out that this trial does not indicate a short-term goal to get an electric sports car on the market. Porsche made it clear that the Boxster EV is simply its contribution to a national project promoting EV infrastructure. This modest outlook on Porsche’s EV future might be an effort by company officials to hedge its bets in case the Boxster EV falters. The Boxster EVs might be closer to showroom floors than drawing rooms and testing labs if we consider the context of Porsche’s recent hybrid developments.