Porsche to decide on 911 plug-in hybrid this year

Porsche may not seem like an obvious proponent of plug-in hybrids, but its record speaks for itself.

The German carmaker known for track-terrorizing sports cars demonstrated the technology to great effect with the 918 Spyder supercar, and it currently offers plug-in versions of both the Panamera and Cayenne.

But what about Porsche’s most iconic model, the 911? Could that sports car get the plug-in hybrid treatment, too?

Porsche will make a decision on that matter before the end of the year, CEO Matthias Mueller said in a recent interview with Automotive News (subscription required). He said it would be feasible for Porsche to offer a plug-in version of everything it makes.

The 911 could “possibly” be the next production Porsche plug-in hybrid, although a final decision hasn’t been made yet, Mueller said.

His comments echo remarks made by Porsche sales and marketing executive Bernhard Maier back in January. He said the company was “investigating” the idea of a 911 hybrid, but also stressed that the model hasn’t been green lighted.

Porsche officials are convinced that plug-in hybrids offer the best balance between performance and increased fuel efficiency currently available. It’s apparently not bad for sales either; about 15 percent of Panameras sold in the U.S. are S E-Hybrid plug-in models.

However, making a plug-in version of the 911 would present its own challenges.

Larger luxury cars like the Panamera or Cayenne can better hide the increased weight of a battery pack, but that would be more apparent in a sports car like the 911.

Porsche Motorsports public relations manager Dave Engelman previously told Digital Trends that the company believes current battery technology won’t work with a sports car, saying that, “you can’t very well add 500 or 600 pounds of battery to the 911.”

Still, if Porsche does decide to take drastic measures to raise the 911’s fuel economy, a plug-in hybrid powertrain will probably be how it does that. Despite rumors to the contrary, Porsche has repeatedly said that it won’t build an electric car, owing to concerns about range and lack of available charging stations.

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