Next Generation Porsche 718 Set to Go Full Electric

By Sevan Shahijanian | September 23rd, 2021
Porsche 718 Cayman and Boxster in the Mountains
Porsche

Dropping in 2024

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Porsche has been a staunch and vocal supporter of the electrification movement for quite some time now. They’ve famously pushed back against Italy’s appeals to the EU’s emissions policies, stating that no exemptions should be made for specialty manufacturers such as Ferrari and Lamborghini, and continue to improve the Taycan as they battle with Tesla at the Nürburgring.

They’ve also shown us a glimpse at the future of motorsports with their reveal of the Mission R all-electric race car – further cementing their belief that the future lies in electric technologies. We noted that the Mission R bared resemblance in shape to what a future Cayman could look like, and it seems as though those thoughts echo developments within Porsche.

The next generation 718, in both Cayman and Boxster forms, will be Porsche’s first car to receive the electrification treatment. The 911 won’t be undergoing the same transformation, however, as there are no plans to electrify the icon this decade. 

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The upcoming 718 is set to have two drivetrain layouts: one with traditional rear-wheel drive and the other with all-wheel drive – a first for the 718. The entry-level rear-wheel drive model will use an electric motor in the rear and maintain a significant price gap with the 911. The higher trim all-wheel drive variant will utilize electric motors in both the front and rear and push more power to the ground. Unlike the two-speed drive found in the Taycan, both configurations of the next generation 718 will use a single-speed transmission similar to the Mission R. 

Although electric cars are notorious for their instant torque and neck-snapping acceleration, batteries bring along significant increases in the weight department. For comparison, the current 718 Cayman weighs around 3,000 lb. while the Taycan clocks in at a range of 4,500 to over 5,000 lb! The 718 is known for its agile handling and favorable vehicle dynamics, so keeping the weight down to maintain these driving characteristics will be key to the next generation’s success. Although shifting to batteries will inevitably increase weight, Porsche is working hard to keep their impact to a minimum. While still heavy by current sports car standards, Porsche’s internal target weight is under 3,650 lb. – a relative featherweight in the electric car segment. 

It’s been well known in the industry that Porsche doesn’t allow their Cayman line to eclipse the 911, so it’ll be interesting to see how the dual motor electric 718 fairs against its older brother. Regardless, Porsche isn’t worried about cannibalizing 911 sales with the top trim 718 as they’ll be using entirely different methods of propulsion and driving philosophy. For the time being, it looks as though the 911 will occupy the heritage sports car space in Porsche’s lineup. The newer 718 doesn’t have the same pedigree as the long-running 911, so there’s less chance of it offending purists with its shift to electric.

Using the 718 platform as a playground for new technologies will surely bring forth exciting developments for Porsche and the sports car segment as a whole. As fans of both new and old Porsches, we’re excited for what’s to come – even if it means losing that signature Porsche boxer sound.  

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