Porsche's been playing with all-electric prototypes of the Boxster and Cayman since 2011. In 2011 the Boxster E concept packed a 121-horsepower electric motor and a 106-mile range. In 2017 the Cayman E-volution concept upped that to a 120-mile range using a 38-kWh battery, and sprinted to 62 miles per hour faster than the current Cayman GTS. While working on the Cayman E-volution, development engineers realized current battery technology limits range to 300 kilometers (186 miles) without major changes to the PPE platform.
Brand boss Oliver Blume told Autocar, "We have prototypes of the 718 running in electric now, and a hybrid prototype is being built. If you look to the next generation of those cars it is possible, although it is not clear whether it would be plug-in hybrid or hybrid."
This would put the 718 models onto the same dual platform strategy as the coming Macan. The current Macan will continue on the MLB platform with hybrid powertrains, while an all-electric Macan sitting on the PPE platform sells at the same time. The current 982-series Cayman and Boxster could step up to a 982.2 generation as PHEVs, for instance, while EV variants employ the PPE. The same hybrid systems being developed for the 992-series Porsche 911 will go to work in the 718, but on the smaller car's four-cylinder engines.
As to how long the various drivetrains would sell together, Blume said, "For at least two to three years we will have both. At that point, we can decide whether to upgrade the combustion engines to the new Euro 7 standard or go full electric. The pace that countries are changing is different — China wants electric now, Russia is in less of a hurry, for instance."
Those Euro 7 standards are the other factor in this drivetrain jumble. Brand sports car boss August Achleitner said the current 718 platform will need to serve until 2023 because Porsche had to focus and spend so much on emissions regulations that it couldn't do what it might have wanted with the platform. However, during the 2020 Porsche 911 Deep Dive we were told that the next-gen 718 twins would move to the modular MMB platform. We don't know where that detail fits into this latest news.
Come 2025, better lithium-ion battery technology and solid state batteries are supposed to change the game entirely. In a perfect world, solid state batteries will deliver 50 percent more performance in the same packaging space. They will power the coming electric Porsche hypercar to succeed the 918 Spyder, and get the electric 718 twins the range they need to stand on their own.