The Porsche 911’s size, layout, and architecture are all working against Porsche engineers in their efforts to go hybrid

The concept of a hybrid or electric 911 isn’t a new one – Porsche has been working on a 911 hybrid for years. We even discussed whether or not there’s a legitimate case for an electric 911 in mid-2019. After all, the Porsche 718 Cayman is expected to go electric or at least hybrid when the next-gen model launches, so the 911 should be next, right? Well, it’s not exactly that simple as the 911’s general design all but prohibits efficient use of electric components. Let me explain a little further…

The Porsche 911’s Compact Nature Makes Electrification Beyond Difficult

The Very Things That Make the Porsche 911 So Iconic Are Also Making It Hard to Go Hybrid
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The Porsche 911 is a 2+2 sports coupe, and it provides decent room for its size, but when you sit down and look at its dimensions, it sits in the larger-compact segment. The EPA even classifies it as a "mini compact car," which is – of course – about three sizes larger than the mini-cars outside North America.

But I digress

The point is that the Porsche 911 isn't exactly ripe with space and opportunity, and there's where Porsche is struggling the most.

In order to push the 911 in hybrid territory, Porsche has to add in the new electrical components (like the battery, inverter, and motor), but it must also package them together in as small a unit as possible to save space. This is important, too, because Porsche can’t change the 911’s size, 2+2 layout, or general shape as that would ruin the car’s iconic nature.

The Very Things That Make the Porsche 911 So Iconic Are Also Making It Hard to Go Hybrid
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" We have to package everything because the car is relatively small. We don't want to give up the 2+2 layout, the architecture or the shape of the car, because these are part of the 911 story"

That quote comes directly from the boss of Porsche’s 911 lineup, Frank-Steffen Walliser, in his interview with Autocar.

When you consider the lack of space in the rear where the engine calls home and the fact that Porsche doesn’t want to sacrifice front cargo room, engineers have quite the challenge. After all, the 911’s frunk is already small enough as it is. And, let’s not forget about weight.

The new electric components have to be light enough that it doesn't ruin the car's handling and must be packaged in a way that it doesn't throw off the car's low center of gravity.

When Will the Porsche 911 Hybrid Launch

The Very Things That Make the Porsche 911 So Iconic Are Also Making It Hard to Go Hybrid
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At this point, the Porsche 911 hybrid’s launch date is a complete mystery, and to be honest, Porsche doesn’t know either. With all the hurdles it has to overcome in shifting the 911 into hybrid territory without ruing the car’s design or driving dynamics, a conservative launch date would be sometime in 2023 or 2024, but it could take until as late as 2026 before we see a hybrid 911 – probably just four years before we see the first Porsche 911 EV.

What Will the Hybrid Drivetrain Bring to the 911?

The Very Things That Make the Porsche 911 So Iconic Are Also Making It Hard to Go Hybrid
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Porsche isn’t looking to make the 911 a hybrid (or EV, for the matter) just for the sake of fuel economy.

The 911 hybrid, for example, needs to make a major impact, and it needs to improve on an already awesome formula of capability, handling, and graceful power output.

Reports suggest that it could have as much as 522 kilowatts (700 horsepower) combined between the turbocharged engine and electric powertrain. That was according to Porsche CEO Oliver Blume, but that’s as close as we came to confirmation of that. It will also be a PHEV so that the electric motors are more powerful and can deliver better range thanks to a larger battery. Where that battery will be, however, is still a big mystery.

Final Thoughts

The Very Things That Make the Porsche 911 So Iconic Are Also Making It Hard to Go Hybrid
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For now, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens, but we’re guessing we won’t even see prototypes of the 911 hybrid until late-2023, and we’ll maybe see it debut in 2025. Porsche has a difficult job in maintaining everything that makes the 911 so iconic while integrating a whole lot of new technology and weight without taking up too much space. It’ll take longer than anyway hoped for, but the end product will be well worth the wait.

2020 Porsche 911 specifications
2020 Porsche 911 Carrera S 2020 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S
Cylinder layout / number of cylinders Boxer 6 Twin-Turbo Boxer 6 Twin-Turbo
Displacement 3.0 l 3.0 l
Engine layout Rear engine Rear engine
Max. Power 443 HP @ 6,500 RPM 443 HP @ 6,500 RPM
Torque 390 LB-FT @ 2,300-5,000 RPM 390 LB-FT @ 2,300-5,000 RPM
Top Track Speed 191 mph PDK 190 mph PDK
Acceleration 0 - 60 mph 3.5 sec PDK / 3.3 sec (PDK with Sport Chrono) 3.4 sec PDK / 3.2 sec (PDK with Sport Chrono)

Source: Autocar

Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topsped.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
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