Not our words, but the headline on Porsche’s own official news website. Porsche axed diesel models from its existing line up back in February. Now it has confirmed that diesel models won’t be offered in future.
PORSCHE DROPS DIESEL The future is hybrid and electric
Porsche says demand for diesel is falling off rapidly and notes that diesel models made up just 12 per cent of Porsches sold worldwide in 2017. Meanwhile, Porsche says demand for hybrid technology is rising rapidly. Over 60 per cent of Panameras sold in Europe, Porsche says, are hybrid.
The elephant in the press conference, of course, is the ongoing Dieselgate emissions cheating scandal, though Porsche has been careful not to bad mouth all diesel cars. After all, many of Porsche’s VW Group sibling brands will continue to sell diesel models in big numbers in the coming years. What’s more, while some commentators speculate whether Porsche has left the door open for future diesel models, the official statement was unequivocal.
“Porsche is not demonising diesel. It is, and will remain, an important propulsion technology. We as a sports car manufacturer, however, for whom diesel has always played a secondary role, have come to the conclusion that we would like our future to be diesel-free. Naturally we will continue to look after our existing diesel customers with the professionalism they expect,” says Oliver Blume, CEO of Porsche AG.
The corollary to dropping diesel, of course, is an increased emphasis on what Porsche calls e-mobility. By 2022, Porsche will have invested more than six billion euros in e-mobility which broadly encapsulates hybrid and pure electric cars. With the Taycan electric car, Porsche will bring its first purely electric sports car to the market in 2019. Critically, Porsche says the manufacturing process associated with the Taycan will be entirely CO2 neutral. Porsche also says the Taycan will be supplied with green electricity via an ultra-fast charging infrastructure spread over Europe. Moreover, it’s said every second new Porsche vehicle could have an electric drive – either hybrid or purely electric – by 2025.
Part of that mix is expected to be an upcoming hybrid version of the next 911, codenamed 992 and expected to launch at the LA Auto Show in November. Although the first iteration of the 992 is not expected to offer hybrid drive, the facelift model due around 2023 will become the first 911 to come in hybrid format, most likely with a lithium battery pack up front and driving the forward axle.
Porsche has said the hybrid 911 will be the most powerful variant offered, just as the most powerful second-gen Panamera is a hybrid model. Indeed, Porsche has indicated that there’s a fair bit of life yet in ye olde combustion engine. “Optimised internal combustion engines” delivering “purist, emotional and powerful sports cars” will continue to play an important role in the Porsche product portfolio, the company said as part of its announcement that diesel was gone for good.
End of the road for Porsche and diesel after a reluctant partnership, driven by market forces and killed by actions from within the VW group.
Below: Engine installation on the first diesel Porsche a decade ago...
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