Porsche has been threatening to build an all-electric two-seat sports car for years, building electrified Boxster and Cayman prototypes on 987 and 981 platforms, but never quite making it to production. After 25 years of the entry-level mid-engine platform, it’s possible Porsche is about to tear up the script and rewrite it completely for the next generation. Heck, it’s possible that Porsche could even be planning an electric version as a send-off for the current 718-generation. According to Car and Driver, Porsche is currently testing battery-electric 718s with an eye toward releasing an all-electric concept in the near future. If I were a betting man, I’d say something like that would come at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, as surely the ideal market for an electric open-top sports car would be SoCal.
Way back a decade ago Porsche unveiled a dual-motor AWD and single-motor RWD Boxster electric concept family of cars, but electric cars were still fairly new to the mainstream market then, and battery technology was still in its early days. As the price of a kWh of battery has rapidly declined in the last 10 years, and companies like Porsche have gotten to grips with the world of electrification, the technology has progressed in leaps and bounds. Obviously Porsche has a couple of years of experience selling electric sedans with the highly successful Taycan, which is among the most fun and exciting Porsches ever sold, so an electric open-top roadster would surely be even better! Taking technology from the Taycan and fitting it into a lighter and smaller two-door drop-top sounds like a winning formula to me.
Obviously this potential future electric two-seater would not be based on any existing Volkswagen Group electric platform. The Taycan and Audi eTron GT share the J1 platform, which would be too large and expensive for this entry-level Porsche. The PPE architecture planned for the next-generation all-electric Macan would also be difficult to adapt to a sports car shape. Last year Porsche mentioned that any upcoming electric sports car projects would be built on a separate as-yet-unannounced architecture. Porsche currently builds the 718 in a few different flavors with a few different engines ranging from 300 to 414 horsepower. Those power levels would be incredibly easy to engineer into a rear-wheel drive sports car, but getting enough battery into the car to power it all would be the main challenge.
As Porsche continues to lean in to electric propulsion, don’t be surprised to see electric versions of every major Porsche model in the lineup. The electric Macan will surely come first, as we expect to see that within the next 6 months or so. An electric Boxster and Cayman are great jumping-off points for bridging the gap between electric and sports car. There is less contextual weight to the Boxster and Cayman than is currently found in the iconic 911 nameplate, so people won’t get quite as upset when they see an electric version of the mid-engine cars as fanatics might about the rear-engine model. Eventually, however, we can hope that an electric 911 is coming to totally reshape the world of electric cars. Porsche isn’t afraid of change, but some of its customers might be.