Our first tantalising glimpse at all-electric Porsche sports car serves up more questions than answers
Porsche has already confirmed that the junior members of its sports car line-up – the 718 Boxster and Cayman will go all-electric for their next generation. And now, the first spy shots of what looks like a development mule for an all-electric Boxster replacement have surfaced.
Porsche’s timeline for the new electric Boxster and Cayman is to have them in production by the middle of the 2020s, and this early prototype certainly reveals that we can expect the newcomers no sooner than that.
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Following on from the Taycan and the forthcoming Macan EV set to launch next year, the future electric Cayman and Boxster will join the brand’s other full EVs. However, the new sports coupe and cabriolet will be based on a new bespoke electric-car platform adapted from Porsche’s Mission R concept.
Few styling details can be discerned from the heavily camouflaged Boxster EV mule, but the slimmer, more horizontal headlights point to the Mission R also being the starting point for the brand’s first electric sports car design language. Similarly, the tall rear bumper feeds into a new full-width LED lighting bar, similar to the styling concept used on the Mission R prototype.
Speaking at Porsche’s business update earlier this year, CEO Oliver Blume, said “Mission R will be an inspiration for the series of our 718 mid-engined sports car. In the middle of the decade, we want to electrify this series. We want to make the 718 series exclusively electric.”
When it comes to the 718 model line’s new architecture, Blume added: “We’re going to have one platform for our two-door sports cars and the platform for our four-door sports cars.” He also confirmed that production of the Boxster and Cayman will continue at the Zuffenhausen plant in Germany.
The Mission R features an 82kWh battery pack supported by a dual electric motor setup developing 1,073bhp. This setup enables 0-62mph in just 2.5 seconds, and a top speed of 180mph.
It’s far too early to speculate on the specification being readied for the next-generation car’s launch, but looking at the spy shots does at least point to the changes necessary to equip a car of the Boxster’s segment with a battery providing a usable and competitive range in the real world.
The spy shots hint at a much elongated wheelbase, with surprisingly long overhangs front and rear. These overhangs could be red herrings created by extra cladding, designed to obscure the true proportions of the production vehicle. The exhaust tip protruding from the rear bumper almost certainly is. However, the additional bodywork running from behind the door to the rear axle reveals the longer wheelbase necessary to fit a battery pack similar in size and layout to the Mission R’s 82kWh unit.
Unlike many contemporary EVs – which utilise an underfloor battery – the Mission R has been developed with a battery stack behind the passenger cell, creating a similar layout and weight distribution to a mid-engined sports car using an internal combustion engine. This also means that the seating position remains low-slung, as is traditional in the class.
Lotus has confirmed it is developing a similar concept for its future electric sports cars, and the extra length between the doors and rear axle, along with the extra volume of body work beyond the car’s B-pillar, are tell-tale signs that this idea has been carried through from the Mission R to the production Boxster model.
Porsche could look to offer a high-performance, track-honed version of the car with a similar power output and dual-motor setup to the Mission R, but single-motor variants driving the rear axle only, and providing fast road car levels of performance with decent usable range will be the priority for engineers.
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