New Porsche Cayman to be electric? The 718’s next steps

Porsche’s mid-engined sports cars could be in for a major shake-up as electric powertrains continues to spread across the range

Porsche is currently in the process of deciding if its new Cayman and Boxster will be offered with electric powertrains, but has confirmed it will continue with its 718 model line regardless of the power source. This latest update comes after a long period of uncertainty in regards to the replacement of the current mid-engined roadster and coupe, which is now entering its ninth year of production.

The next 718 was initially confirmed to be built on Porsche’s own Modular Mid-Engined Platform (MMB), which currently underpins the 992-generation 911. But if the new Boxster and Cayman do indeed make the switch to electric powertrains, this could lead to big technical changes in order to support them. Although the 992 was initially designed to accommodate a hybrid-powertrain, it’s not thought this will be further adapted to accommodate the 718’s hybrid or electric requirements.

Porsche’s widespread adoption of expensive bespoke platforms for its electric models, such as the J1 architecture that underpins the Taycan and the new PPE platform soon to be introduced for its new all-electric replacement for the Macan, it might suggest the initial plan for the next Boxster/Cayman is under threat. While the MMB platform was designed from its inception to include hybridisation, fully-electric models that require more space for batteries and less space for motors are unlikely to be compatible with the architecture as it stands. 

However, the MMB and J1 platforms do share similar front subframes, axles and steering systems, which means a hybrid of the two architectures could be a more realistic short-term solution than an entirely new platform.

Beyond technical specifics, the question of whether the effort and expense of turning the new 718 into an electric sports car will be worth it ultimately depends on the bottom line. Given the shrinking market for traditional sports cars and the enthusiastic uptake in high power electric cars, Porsche’s investment to transform the next Boxster and Cayman into electric only models could pay off, especially if combustion models continue to be squeezed by government legislation. 

Such a move could also allow Porsche to continue with internal combustion engines in the 911, possibly mixed with a hybrid option – especially so if the synthetic fuel market continues to receive investment and develop – putting less pressure on EV sales to keep its CO2 fleet average down. Porsche has confirmed that a decision on the 718’s future will be made by the summer, and regardless of the outcome its existence will result in the sports car living on one way or the other.

Recommended

Car pictures of the week
McLaren 720S Spider v Porsche 911 Turbo S Cab – static
Porsche

Car pictures of the week

Convertible supercars are nothing but a compromise, right? Maybe not...
16 Jul 2021
Marc Philipp Gemballa Marsien revealed – contemporary take on Porsche 959 Paris Dakar icon
Gemballa Marsien – rear quarter
Porsche

Marc Philipp Gemballa Marsien revealed – contemporary take on Porsche 959 Paris Dakar icon

Porsche’s Paris Dakar-winning 959 Safari has been reimagined by Marc Philipp Gemballa
14 Jul 2021
Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition makes UK debut
Ford Mustang Mach-E GT
Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition makes UK debut

Flagship 480bhp Ford Mustang Mach-E GT priced from nearly £70k to rival Kia EV6 GT
10 Jul 2021
Vauxhall to go full electric by 2028
Opel Manta GSe restomod
Vauxhall

Vauxhall to go full electric by 2028

EV push to be headlined by new all-electric take on the iconic Opel Manta
9 Jul 2021

Most Popular

Mercedes S-class 2021 review – the ‘best car in the world’ just got better
Mercedes S-class – front tracking
Mercedes

Mercedes S-class 2021 review – the ‘best car in the world’ just got better

It may be slipping out of fashion, but the institution that is Mercedes’ S-class is only getting stronger
22 Jul 2021
Lotus Emira makes world debut – all-new coupe to rival Alpine A110
Lotus Emira
Lotus

Lotus Emira makes world debut – all-new coupe to rival Alpine A110

Lotus's first all-new car for a quarter of a century comes AMG power and sub-£60,000 price tag
13 Jul 2021
New Audi RS3 revealed – AMG’s A45 S rival returns fitter and faster
2021 Audi RS3 Sportback – front tracking
Audi RS3

New Audi RS3 revealed – AMG’s A45 S rival returns fitter and faster

After months of tech insights, we now finally get to see the all-new Audi RS3 in its finished form
19 Jul 2021