Porsche future-proofs its eighth-generation 911 with a series of engineering measures that will allow it to support both mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid drivetrains during its planned 7-year lifecycle.
The new 992-series 911 initially will be offered with an updated version (below, left) of the old model’s twin-turbocharged 3.0L horizontally opposed 6-cyl. gasoline engine, delivering 444 hp in both rear-wheel-drive Carrera S and all-wheel-drive Carrera 4S models.
But August Achleitner, the German automaker’s head of sportscar development, confirms work is progressing on a hybrid version of the powerplant that will provide the new 911 with the capability to run exclusively on electric power for limited distances.
“We’ve taken the experience we gained with hybrid versions of the Cayenne and Panamera, as well as the 918 Spyder, and applied it to the new 911,” he says. “In the future, this will allow us to offer it with pure-electric capability.”
Despite its famously tight mechanical packaging, Porsche has modified the 911’s rear-mounted drivetrain to allow the housing of a disc-shaped electric motor within the rear section of its optional 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
Key among the changes enabling this is a gearset like that already used by the second-generation Panamera and Cayenne.
Achleitner says the new gearset is almost 3.9 ins. (100 mm) shorter than before.
The ZF-engineered 8-speed PDK also boasts a higher torque rating than its predecessor at over 590 lb.-ft. (800 Nm) in a move Achleitner says is necessary to allow the 911 Hybrid to handle the strong torque loading of the electric motor.
The 911’s all-wheel-drive system also has been reworked to apportion 50% of drive to the front wheels. A further change is the new 911’s brake booster. Similar to that used by the discontinued 918 Spyder, it forgoes the electromechanical operation of the previous 911 for a fully electric function. This allows a much more significant recuperation of energy, both under braking and on the overrun, Porsche says.
Achleitner won’t discuss specifications of the gasoline-electric-hybrid-powered 911, though he cites the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid as a performance reference.
The more powerful of two hybrid Panamera models, the Turbo S E-Hybrid uses an electric motor developing 134 hp and 400 lb.-ft. (295 Nm) of torque. This is combined with the 542 hp and 568 lb.-ft. (419 Nm) of its twin-turbocharged 4.0L V-8 gasoline engine to provide an overall system output of 671 hp and 626 lb.-ft. (462 Nm) of torque.
Applying the 134 hp and 400 lb.-ft. developed by the Panamera S E -Hybrid’s electric motor to the new 911 Carrera S would provide it with a theoretical system output of 578 hp and 686 lb.-ft. (506 Nm) – some 21 hp less but a significant 133 lb.-ft. (98 Nm) of torque more than the 911 Turbo S, which boasts a claimed 0-62 mph (100 km/h) time of 2.9 seconds and 205 mph (330 km/h) top speed.
However, indications are the 911 will get its own uniquely tuned electric motor.
The battery used to power the electric motor in the 911 hybrid is expected to be housed in the front. Despite bringing added weight, it is expected to greatly improve the weight distribution of standard gasoline-engine versions of the new 911, which is put at 39:61 in the initial 3,340-lb. (1,516 kg) Carrera S model with the new 8-speed PDK gearbox.
Significantly, the battery used by the Panamera S E-Hybrid boasts an overall capacity of 14.1 kWh, sufficient to provide the big 5-door liftback with an electric range of up to 31 miles (50 km) on the recently superseded NEDC driving cycle test procedure.
Another advantage of placing the battery pack in the front of the 911 is a reduction in the center of gravity. Nothing is official at this stage, though insiders suggest early 911 Hybrid prototype mules feature a smaller fuel tank than standard 911 models, allowing the battery to be mounted low down within the front end.
In an indication of how much the hybrid system could increase the new 911’s curb weight, the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid weights 694 lbs. (315 kg) more than the Panamera Turbo, with which it shares a turbocharged 4.0L V-8 gasoline engine, at 5,093 lbs. (2,311 kg).