Porsche sees an electrified future

The future is electric for Porsche.

As part of parent Volkswagen AG’s commitment to electrify all 300 vehicles in its corporate stable by 2030, the sports car brand is adding more plug-in hybrids and electric variants to its lineup. After the production version of the Mission E electric sedan arrives at the end of this decade, an electric Macan may be next.

The brand continues to downsize its combustion engines while increasing horsepower. After Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal, Porsche is dropping diesel engines for the U.S. Porsche also is adding new body styles: a wagon variant of the Panamera, plus possible coupe versions of its crossovers.

718 Boxster: Porsche will continue to introduce variants of its re-engineered and renamed roadster, which debuted last year. The GTS, producing a predicted 375 hp from its 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine, is up next. It could be unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show and go on sale in the U.S. next year. The 718 Boxster is slated for a redesign in the U.S. in early 2020.

718 Cayman: As with the Boxster, Porsche plans variants of the re-engineered and renamed coupe. A GTS version likely will be unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show and go on sale in the U.S. next year. The 718 Cayman gets a redesign in the U.S. in mid-2020. Electrified variants of the Boxster and Cayman aren’t on the immediate horizon.

911: Porsche keeps creating variants of the re-engineered 911, which arrived in the U.S. in spring 2016. This month at the Frankfurt auto show, it showed the 911 GT3 with Touring Package, which will reach U.S. dealerships in early 2018.

A redesign is on tap for the 911, with U.S. sales beginning in mid-2019. The car is expected to move to a new modular sports-car platform, getting a wider track and more powertrain options, but it won’t get a plug-in hybrid variant as had been speculated. Porsche said this year that it dropped the plug-in hybrid option to save money and because battery weight would drag performance to unacceptable levels.

Still, Porsche continues to explore how to electrify the 911. It said at the Frankfurt show that it is researching solid-state batteries, which are lighter and hold more energy than lithium ion batteries. That could be the solution Porsche needs to electrify its sports-car lines. A plug-in 911 could show up during the second half of the next decade.

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Future Product Pipeline

Panamera: The redesigned Panamera sports sedan — longer, wider, lighter, faster — went on sale in the U.S. this year. A more powerful plug-in hybrid family is coming early next year, later than initially announced because of certification delays. The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is the most powerful model in the Panamera line and the first time Porsche has chosen a plug-in hybrid to be a line’s flagship model. Starting at $185,450, including shipping, the Turbo S E-Hybrid has a combined output of 680 hp and accelerates like a 911. It has electric range of up to 31 miles.

Also about to launch is the Panamera Sport Turismo, a wagon variant. Porsche unveiled the Sport Turismo in March at the Geneva auto show, and it will go on sale in the U.S. in the first quarter of 2018. The Sport Turismo is the first Panamera to be sold in the U.S. with five seat positions. Porsche will answer the call of U.S. dealers and add a five-seat configuration to the regular Panamera after the Sport Turismo goes on sale.

A Panamera freshening is set for 2020.

Mission E:A production version of the 600-hp Mission E electric sedan concept will go on sale in the U.S. in late 2019 or early 2020. Sales are likely to begin first in 2019 in Europe. The production vehicle’s name has not been announced but it won’t be the Mission E. The vehicle also had been called Pajun (for Panamera Junior) during early development. The Mission E is expected to have a higher level of autonomous driving features than Porsche has put in its vehicles to date. Porsche CEO Oliver Blume told Autocar that the Mission E will have multiple variants with different levels of power. Blume also has said the Mission E will have annual sales of about 20,000 vehicles.

Macan: A freshened Macan will arrive in 2018, four years after the compact crossover went on sale, Porsche says. A diesel model once planned for the U.S. has been dropped.

An electric Macan “could be a possibility for us,” Porsche Cars North America CEO Klaus Zellmer told Automotive News.

A coupe body style for the Macan is expected in 2021 or 2022, and it is likely to arrive as an electric vehicle. Porsche will redesign the Macan in 2022. A plug-in hybrid version of the regular Macan body style is likely at that time.

Cayenne: Porsche just unveiled the redesigned midsize crossover that will go on sale in the U.S. in mid-2018 as a 2019 model. The Cayenne moves to a new platform — Volkswagen Group’s MLB architecture — and gets lighter and faster. The base 2019 Cayenne is powered by a 3.0-liter, single-turbo V-6 producing 340 hp, 40 more than the current base Cayenne.

A diesel-powered Cayenne will be dropped from the U.S. lineup, but it will be sold in other markets. Porsche last sold a diesel Cayenne in the U.S. in 2015, before pulling it in the wake of Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal.

A coupe body style is being developed for the Cayenne and could arrive as early as 2019. It would give Porsche a rival to the BMW X6 and Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe. Blume told Autocar that Porsche “is thinking about” a coupe variant but has “not decided yet.”

A freshening for the Cayenne is expected in 2021 or 2022.

Supercar: Though competitors such as Mercedes-AMG are launching hypercars, Porsche says it will be a while before it offers a successor to its limited-run 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid, which ended production in 2015. A supercar is something the brand is likely to do once every 10 years or so, Porsche executives have said. That means don’t look for anything new in this space until 2025 or later.

960: This long-in-development program seems to be on the back burner. Described as a two-seat midengine sports car priced around $250,000, the 960 would have fit between the top-of-the-line 911 and any future supercar. While it had been speculated that it could arrive late this decade, that now seems unlikely. A source suggests timing has been pushed to 2025.