It’ll be a long time before Porsche removes any hint of internal combustion from its beyond-iconic 911. The flat-six is safe for the next decade or so.
However, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume says the company wants a plug-in hybrid version, hopefully by 2023 â€” when the next-generation model reaches its mid-cycle update. “It will be very important for the 911 to have a plug-in hybrid,” Blume told Automotive News last week. There’s no stamp of approval yet, but Blume feels the German automaker “will go for it.”
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. If European sales of the recently introduced Panamera E-Hybrid are any indication, an electrified 911 is an insurance policy that’s sure to pay off.
According to Bloomberg, the improved plug-in Panamera line, which boasts about 22 miles of real-world range from a lithium-ion battery and electric motor, made up 60 percent of European Panamera sales from the start of sales in June through the end of October. Porsche has various government to thank for it.
Not only are cities pledging to ban internal combustion cars (or levy fees on the use of ICE models in city centers, at the very least), there’s steep incentives for buying a vehicle capable of travelling under electric power alone. Not only do buyers want to be able to drive their Porsche in the future, they also want the tax benefits.
“Customer demand is much higher than the 10 or 15 percent we first expected,” said Gernot Doellner, head of the Panamera model line.
Thanks to government incentives, 90 percent of second-gen Panameras sold in Belgium are E-Hybrids. In France, the figure is 70 percent. Even Germany, with its cagey acceptance of green initiatives and love of tradition, saw 25 percent of Panamera sales go to the E-Hybrid variants.
The business case for an electrified 911 is clear to see.
Porsche no doubt wishes for the continuation of the United State’s federal EV tax credit, as it’s a long way from using up its 200,000-unit allotment. Still, the plug-in hybrid’s popularity (and promise) remains higher in jurisdictions eager to make ownership of gas-burning cars a hardship. Naturally, sending the E-Hybrid models to China was a must. The model went on sale in the Far East in October.
The E-Hybrid line encompasses the full second-generation Panamera lineup, including the Turbo and fetching new Sport Turismo wagon variant. Power output ranges from 462 to 680 hp.