Could Porsche introduce an electric 911?
Speculation mounts that the Mission E may foreshadow electric power across the range
On Friday, Porsche announced that the [A]Mission E, the all-electric four-door sports saloon concept it introduced at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor show, will be in production by 2020.
The announcement that the near 600-bhp Tesla rival will move from show stand to showroom comes as parent company Volkswagen is determined to get over the constant stream of bad news from the recent emissions scandal and re-affirm its environmental credentials.
The first fully-electric Porsche has sparked intense press speculation and coverage. One of the most interesting angles is not the Mission E itself - but what it could mean for the rest of the Porsche range.
American magazine Road and Track (R&T) says Porsche's €700bn investment in the Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen plant for the project is revealing. The Stuttgart plant handles 911, Cayman, Boxter and 918 manufacturing duties, in comparison to the Lepzig plant where Porsche's two existing SUVs are made.
According to R&T, Porsche's decision to make the electric car where it produces its sports cars is a giveaway.
"If this were going to foreshadow the future of Porsche sedans and SUVs, you'd expect that the facilities for full electric power-trains would be added to Leipzig," says the magazine.
R&T also points to Porsche's mission statement for the Mission E, which claims the car is a "clear statement about the future of the brand". It would seem, according to R&T, that a lot of that future is to be electric.
The timing of the introduction of the car may also suggest electrified 911s are on the way. Porsche's commitment to introduce the Mission E in production form "around 2020" would fit nicely with the release of the next 911 which, according to Autocar, we can expect in 2018.
Other sources have already said a partly-electric 911 Hybrid could be on the cards in 2020. The Tech Times said in June that it would arrive in 2020 and Auto Express claimed in 2013 that it will be introduced at some point during the 2018 911's lifetime.
Car magazine speculated in February that Porsche was in the process of making a four door EV, possibly named the Porsche 717. Like Road and Track, the magazine expects the first electric Porsche to be a standalone model, smaller than current four door sports saloon, the Panamera.
At the very least, the Mission E project supports what has been said in the past about Porsche's immediate future. While an all-electric 911 remains a rumour, a hybrid 911 now seems quite plausible.