Hybrids & Electrics

Why the Porsche 911 Won’t Go Electric Anytime Soon

The Porsche 911 isn’t just one of the best cars you can buy today, it’s also a sports car icon. Even as the 911 evolved and grew over the years, experiencing its share of issues, it’s remained influential and desirable. And it’s not just on the pavement where the car shines: older 911s have been turned into off-road racers. But, as automakers add more EVs to their lineups, does that mean there’ll one day be an electric Porsche 911? Not quite.

The Porsche 911 won’t go fully electric

2020 Porsche 911 Carrera
2020 Porsche 911 Carrera | Porsche

In an interview published on the Porsche website, the company’s CEO Dr. Oliver Blume discussed the future of the 911.

Dr. Blume confirmed that “Porsche will always offer combustion engines, particularly in the 911.” Considering the Taycan already serves as the brand’s halo EV, an electric Porsche 911 seems relatively unnecessary. And, as Jalopnik discussed with Porsche sales and marketing executive board member Detlev von Platen, it would be difficult for an all-electric 911 to distinguish itself from other electric sports cars.

Porsche Taycan charging at Electrify America station
Porsche Taycan charging at Electrify America station | Electrify America via Instagram

That being said, Porsche isn’t entirely against the idea. In a recent interview with Autocar, Porsche sports car line director Frank-Steffen Walliser did say that “the 911 will be the last Porsche to become electric.” The very earliest a fully-electric Porsche 911 would debut, he claimed, would be 2030.

However, in the meantime, Dr. Blume didn’t rule out the possibility of electrifying the 911 somewhat. He said that Porsche “can’t stop the onward march of electromobility.” He also claimed that “around 50 percent of all Porsche vehicles could be sold with an electric or hybrid drive by 2025.”

Porsche already makes a high-performance hybrid in the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid. And it already made a hybrid hypercar, the 918. Could it do the same with the 911?

Porsche is working on a hybrid 911

Technically speaking, it seems that Porsche did design the latest 911, the 992-gen, with the possibility of hybridization.

Both Road & Track and Car and Driver have reported that some of the car’s features would make installing a hybrid powertrain easier. The new 8-speed PDK, for example, has extra space to accommodate an electric motor. And engineers put in an electrically-controlled brake booster because traditional vacuum-operated brakes don’t work if the gas engine isn’t running.

That being said, as Roadshow learned from an official Porsche spokesperson, there are no plans to introduce a hybrid 911 quite yet. In his Autocar interview, Walliser claimed, “it would be easier to make a completely new car” than to integrate a hybrid powertrain into the 911 now. Therefore, the earliest we could see a hybrid Porsche 911 is 2026, when the next-gen car debuts.

However, it is clear that Porsche is at the very least giving the matter serious thought. Auto Express learned from Porsche R&D board member Dr. Michael Steiner that several hybrid 992 prototypes are currently being tested. Dr. Steiner also confirmed that “the platform is hybrid-ready”, and that the cars are genuinely fun to drive.

But all these sources remark that the biggest issue remains battery-pack weight management. In addition, Walliser is concerned about maintaining the 911’s seating and trunk space, and its overall shape. So, for the time being, those 911 hybrid prototypes are likely to remain just that.

Although, if you really do want a hybrid or electric Porsche 911, you can get one. Just not from Porsche.

Vonnen’s hybrid 911

Vonnen, as R&T reported, is an offshoot of Elephant Racing, a company that specializes in providing high-end aftermarket Porsche performance parts. And while Vonnen can’t hybridize the 992, the previous-gen 991 is fair game.

Similar to some mild-hybrids, Vonnen removes the 911’s conventional starter and replaces it with an electric motor. Then, it adds an 85-lb battery pack to the front trunk, as well as some extra cooling systems. All told, the conversion adds about 170 lbs to the Porsche, distributed throughout the car. It’s also completely reversible. The only real visual changes, Jalopnik reports, are a back-shelf inverter and an orange cable in the front trunk.

But the performance gains are substantial. Even with the 911 limiting its engine power on R&T’s dyno, Vonnen’s system took the stock 350 hp and 287 lb-ft to 460 hp and 375 lb-ft. The system is also controllable through an Android app—which includes a brief Overboost mode. For 15 seconds, torque jumps to 416 lb-ft. The result, R&T found, was that a base 911 Carrera feels like a 911 Turbo. And it feels factory-level seamless; it even has regen.

Vonnen 991 and classic Porsche 911
Vonnen 991 and classic Porsche 911 | Vonnen

The only problem is it costs $75,000. On a 991-gen 911, that’s basically double the cost of the car. But, Vonnen can also install the system on an air-cooled 911. Considering some cost over six-figures, and the price of adding 100 hp and 100 lb-ft through normal means, $75k becomes somewhat more reasonable.

The electric classic 911

As is the case with classic trucks and SUVs, it is possible to turn a classic Porsche 911 into an EV.

Zelectric, for instance, has made a name for itself converting classic VW Beetles to electric drive. But the company can also convert old 911s, as well. Some even come with Tesla motors and batteries. In the UK, Electric Classic Cars does similar work.

Another company, EV West, provides DIY kits for Porsche 911s. Or, it can convert your 911 into an EV for you. And, as R&T reports, it retains the car’s original manual transmission and rear-wheel drive.

So, even if Porsche isn’t planning on making an electric 911 anytime soon, you can still get one today.

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