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Frank-Steffen Walliser is Porsche’s head of motorsport was recently interviewed by Auto Motor und Sport and alluded to a battery-powered 718!

OK. But let's talk calmly about 911 and 718. Do I understand correctly that only a purely electric drive is an alternative to the combustion engine?

PHEVs work well in the upper-class segments, just with a Cayenne or Panamera, especially with regard to real consumption. With the entry-level sports car 718, not only the space speaks, but above all the costs, against this concept. Quite apart from the fact that electromobility will not make driving cheaper. Maybe maintenance, but certainly not the purchase. This prevents it from spreading quickly. A fully electric sports car would be easier to implement. Especially since it could be a very emotional product. The most important market for the 718 Spyder, for example, is China, where we sell the cars practically only in the eight megacities. A purely electrical variant could make sense. Yes, it would be harder, but I can imagine that it would go well.

Well, you can use a small battery, because in such a megacity the range plays a minor role, right?

Yes, that is right. But I need a certain tension. So let's take the 800 volts. For that I need so many cells that I have to install and if I have them in my car, I have the range automatically. Then there is the fact that such a sports car turns out to be smaller and somewhat lighter and has a smaller frontal area. In addition smaller wheels and I already have a kind of positive spiral in terms of range.

That almost sounds like 500 kilometers, doesn't it?

Well, it would have to go downhill for a long time. But according to WLTP you could get 420 or 430 kilometers. And customers should appreciate that, also because the car is usually not the main vehicle. This applies even more to the 911 than to the 718, which is more common because the customers are very young - in China, on average, 32 years, half of them women.

And with a purely electric 718 would the battery pack be in the place of the internal combustion engine?

That would offer itself. The situation is not that bad. I make the largest mass in the middle of the car.

Is one engine enough or could there be a variant with two electric units?

The general question is: Does a sports car need all-wheel drive and freely according to Walter Röhrl: A car without all-wheel drive is a compromise? Seriously: I can imagine both. But with a mid-engine concept, I get load on the rear axle due to the installation position of the batteries and the engine, so the recuperation works well. Similar to the 911 today: 63 percent of the weight rests on the rear axle, which brings traction and the car does not lever when braking. With a clever wheelbase and reasonable axle geometry, I get a decent recuperation potential.

So you have to see the four-wheel drive not primarily from a traction perspective but also from a recuperation point of view. But if I have a reasonable axle load distribution, a second engine is not absolutely necessary. This in turn reduces weight and costs.

How heavy would such a sports car be?

If I priced the car out of a certain window, I could make it five kilograms lighter in the end, but it would be so expensive that nobody would buy it anymore. If I take this aspect into account, the result would be a realistic weight of around 1,700 kilograms. Compared to a four-cylinder 718, that's certainly a lot, compared to a four-liter 718 not so much anymore, maybe 200 kilograms. Add to that the great responsiveness of an electric motor. This can then be a very complete package.

And such a car would have more than 350 hp rather than less ...

To be honest, I'm not trying to think in horsepower or kW anymore. The pure driving performance is the more reliable benchmark and decisive for the driving experience: What I feel subjectively in terms of performance depends very much on the throttle response. How does the car hang on the gas. What is the use of 700 HP at 6,000 revolutions if nothing happens around the bottom? And such an e-sports car without a clutch and actuators simply sticks to the accelerator pedal. The focus must be on directness and linearity.

In terms of performance, such a sports car is on par with the 718 Cayman GT4, right?

We are moving in dimensions that we sold a few years ago in a 911 Turbo. But with all acceleration, the overall package simply decides. Do I do this with a fixed translation? Do I use a two-speed gearbox? And then: The classic sports car virtues, how it steers, how it brakes, what is the self-steering behavior, all of this has to be done excellently. I can very well imagine the packages there. And then it is very exciting to drive open electrically. That is a completely different dimension.
 
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