PORSCHE CAYMAN 718 TO GO FULLY ELECTRIC

26th Feb 2020

There are more and more car companies bringing out hybrid or all electric vehicles. We don’t rave about each one because it’s becoming such a normal occurrence now. However, when a car company with a rich road car and motorsport history develop and release, not just a hybrid, but an all electric vehicle, it’s a totally different matter.

Porsche were one of the first performance car companies to develop and release a high performance hybrid, in the form of the 918 Spyder. At the time, Porsche met competition from Ferrari and McLaren who had developed and released their own hybrid hypercars; the LaFerrari from the former and P1 from the latter. This is a big deal as vehicles from these brands are typically emotional purchases that are designed to send shivers down the spine’s of their occupants, not just from their raw pace, but also the feedback and sound (both from the engine and exhaust). Despite performance brands now having their hands forced towards electrification, it’s still a leap of faith for them as electric cars have historically been, well, uninspiring (the antithesis of their mission statements).

0FC144FC-F13A-44F8-A5B0-63C9E39AF4F6.jpegPorsche have a slight development advantage as they have a significantly broader range of models for sale, formed from the staple 2-door coupe’s and cabriolet’s, but is also comprised of SUVs and estates. This gives the Stuttgart based manufacturer more of a justification to step outside of the driver ‘purity’ found in petroleum powered engines and develop more sustainable power-trains.And they have done exactly that. Not content with the market share Telsa are currently taking (what is essentially a monopoly) with their Model S P100d Ludicrous (and upcoming Plaid update) Porsche have developed their very own high performance saloon, called Taycan. If you follow us closely you may know that we recently announced we have locked in our spec for a Porsche Taycan Turbo S (currently the highest output version available) for self self drive hire in London. Our Director Daryl has always had a keen interest in Porsche, but also EV’s, so naturally couldn’t wait to order a Taycan hire for the EVHIRE fleet. For further information about Taycan you can read our blog post on it here.

Since signing the forms we have been glued to all the Porsche related information we can find and what we have found recently is very intriguing. As we all move closer to the UK ban on manufacturer’s selling petrol and diesel based power-trains and the general international consensus for ‘clean’ vehicles strengthens, manufacturer’s are ramping up the development of their hybrid and all electric vehicles. As noted, Porsche are clearly ahead of the performance pack with Taycan, but word has recently got out they’re further developing their battery technology to be rolled out on even more models in the coming years and it won’t be resigned to their SUVs, saloons and estates. The ‘intriguing’ Porsche news we have recently learnt is that the replacements to the 718 Cayman and Boxster line will be electrified. Before we explore this news in more detail, let’s have a quick history lesson. 

The Boxster came before the cayman and was first introduced in 1996. It features strong inspiration from the 1993 concept and get’s it’s name from a combination of Boxer (engine layout) and Roadster (body type). Boxster went through an entire generation and update before being joined by the fixed roof Cayman for the 987 generation (alongside the 997 911). Departing from Porsche'slong history of rear-engined cars, Boxster and Cayman are mid-engined and at this point came with naturally aspirated 2.7l and 3.4l flat 6 engines. There have since been 2 further generations (981 and 718) and in each of these several special editions. The most notable started in the 987 generation with the lightweight, track focused Cayman R and Boxster Spyder. The successors to these had clearly been on a strict exercise and diet regime as they introduced genuine muscularity and potency to Porsche’s ‘lesser’ performance line, in the form of the GT4 and Boxster Spyder. These changes were brought in by the motorsport gurus in Porsche’s GT division and, thanks to it’s divine balance and 3.8l naturally engine, made the Cayman GT4 arguably the most attractive proposition in Porsche’s arsenal, despite the higher performance offered by the 911 GT models. However, there is also general appeal for the lesser models in the Cayman and Boxster line as even these offer superb build quality, balance and sound. Shortly after the 981 line ended and the 718 generation was born. The base models lost their naturally aspirated, 6-cylinder engines and were instead powered by 2l and 2.5l turbocharged units, that many feel stripped the Cayman and Boxster of their emotive appeal and therefore their character. Moreover, even though the new 718 GT4 has addressed the minor flaws in it’s predecessor and comes with a naturally aspirated 4l engine, it has been criticised for not being as emotive due to it’s new regulation exhaust particle filter. That’s probably enough of  re-fresh, let’s now focus on what we’ve recently learnt.

In an interview with Top Gear magazine last year the deputy chairman of the board at Porsche outlined the brand’s plan to electrify Boxster and Cayman. This news has since been built on by ‘Car’ magazine who suggest these EV versions will be powered by dual motors that will facilitate AWD. If accurate, this system will surely come with drive modes that can alter the front to rear wheel drive bias, presumably towards the rear, so the rwd dynamic character won’t be lost entirely. This power-train is supposedly going to produce 400bhp. That’s below the 718 GT4, but electric car’s typically offer immense torque, so it could offer more performance. Car magazine go on to suggest it will be based around a lightweight aluminium monocoque chassis and will go on sale in 2023. 

With the recent criticism Porsche have taken regarding the smaller, turbocharged power-trains in the 718 models, and subsequent re-release of the GTS variants with a lower output version of the GT4 and Spyder’s naturally aspirated flat 6, it seems accurate to suggest they will get even more criticism for this move. However, the Taycan has already been hailed as the best electric car currently on sale thanks to Porsche embedding their dyanamic chassis DNA deep into it and Porsche are steadily increasing their charging infrastructure. Let’s hope they can continue to develop their battery technology to offer heightened range and decreased charging times andcontinue to expand their charging stations so these 2023 models can be highly usable. Just as with all manufactures they must comply with legislation and we can only hope that this move will allow Porsche to preserve the naturally aspirated Cayman, Boxster and 911 GT lines into the future.

In addition to exploring a new product in the electrification race we also wanted to garner interest. Despite it’s rumoured production date of 2023, would you like to see a high specification electric Cayman for self-drive hire in London or Boxster for self-drive hire in London? Let us know!

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