Is Porsche Planning An All-Electric Boxster/Cayman Variant?
Buried deep in a seemingly unrelated press release, Porsche published a photograph of an apparently production-ready electric Boxster.
Yesterday Porsche published a rather innocuous press release regarding a local outreach program aimed at working with young engineers in the University of Stuttgart's GreenTeam program to develop an electric race car. The university then brings the car they've engineered to a competition with other universities called "Formula Student Electric". We have a similar program stateside called Formula SAE. FSE is a great opportunity for up-and-coming engineering students to get some hands-on experience with suspension development, aerodynamics, materials, and construction, as well as electric storage and power deployment systems. University of Stuttgart's program didn't win the competition this year, in fact finishing third at the competition this year at Germany's Hockenheimring.
While the release itself was meant somewhat as a puff piece to get folks like us to promote Porsche's ties to the program, there was something that grabbed our attention near the very bottom of the piece. The very last item on the page was a photograph featuring the UofS GreanTeam posing with their electric racing car and a 981 Porsche Boxster. We thought it was a slightly strange juxtaposition, placing a regular open-top sports car next to this be-winged electric racer, but then we looked a bit closer. The Boxster in question features prominent script along the rocker panel proudly proclaiming "Porsche E-Mobility" and instead of a fuel door, the car features an oval door on the Driver's side with a plug pictogram printed on it. Aside from those minor details, the car shows off a set of Acid Green brake calipers, and Acid Green piping on the interior (Acid Green is the signifier in Porsche construction identifying a car with electric or hybrid propulsion.)
Back in 2011, Porsche produced a pair of electric Boxster sports cars as a demonstration of the capabilities of the almighty E. Each prototype featured a different propulsion system, one with a single rear-wheel-drive electric motor, and the other with a pair of electric motors (one front and one rear). Based on the then-current 987 platform, the Boxster E was never really destined for production. It was, however, capable of nearly 250 horsepower and nearly 400 lb-ft of torque, producing acceleration from 0-60 in just 5.5 seconds. In the last handful of years lithium-iron-phosphate (LiFePO4 or Lithium Ferrous) battery technology has advanced at an alarming rate, and Porsche has been working to lead that charge. It is possible that a new 982-chassis based Boxster E would be significantly quicker, faster, and go farther on a charge than the old model.
The 981 platform car pictured here has surprisingly little information regarding its construction, power output, or even purpose anywhere. We have put in a request for more information from Porsche, but being that it is New Years Day, we don't expect a response for a bit. As soon as we know more, we'll follow through on relaying that information to our readers. In the meantime, frantic searches for more info have revealed a limited run of official Porsche 1:43 scale models (individually numbered to 2000 pieces each) of the electric sports car, available in either "Boxster e" or "Cayman e" versions. These models are numbered with genuine Porsche dealership numbers, and are produced by Spark Models in Porsche's packaging for distribution to dealerships. Is it possible that this was a planned production car that had its schedule pushed back? If so, when can we expect a full-electric sports car from Porsche?