By on November 23, 2009

the gold-plated porsche battery

Never one to shy away from expensive options, Porsche has announced that beginning in January 2010, a lithium-ion starter battery will be optional in the 911 GT3, GT 3 RS, and Boxster Spyder. Porsche is the first automaker to offer a li-ion SLI (starting, lighting ignition) battery, and given its cost, €1,904 (US$2,900), it may stay that way for a while. The new pack weighs 6 kg (13 lb), which is 10 kg or 22 (lb) lighter than a conventional 60 Ah lead battery.  That works out to $132 per pound saved, based on European pricing. US pricing has not yet been announced. That sounds like a bargain compared to some of Porsche’s other pricing shenanigans. Ask the fellas in the paint booth to leave off the masking tape on a certain number of exterior and interior pieces to make them body colored, and they’ll ask you a mighty $13,545 for their (non)effort. Only a company that has the cojones to do that would to try to take over VW. I digress. More battery lightness after the jump:

Green Car Congress offers these additional details:

The 12.8V, 18 Ah lithium iron-phosphate pack from Gaia is delivered as a separate unit together with the car and may subsequently be fitted as an alternative to the regular, conventional starter battery. The cars are delivered with both batteries; while the lightweight battery offers a very high standard of everyday driving qualities, Porsche says, its starting capacity is limited at temperatures below 0 °C (32 °F) due to its specific features.

So actually, your Porsche as delivered with both batteries will be 13 pounds heavier! Ok, I get it, you pop it in on warm days when you’re heading for the track. A cheaper option might be to pump 3.5 fewer gallons of gas. Or clean out the glove box. Or start going to the gym more often.

With its nominal capacity of 18 Ah, the lithium-ion battery, through its specific features, offers a level of practical output and performance not only comparable to that of a 60 Ah lead battery, but better in many cases, Porsche says.

On a conventional car battery only about 30% of the total capacity is actually available for practical use due to the configuration of the system, while this restriction does not apply to the lithium-ion battery. Delivery of power by the lithium-ion battery throughout its useful charge range is likewise significantly better, providing its full power, for example, when starting the engine almost independently of the current charge level.

After the engine has started, the new Porsche battery shows further benefits in the charge process, being able through its smaller internal resistance to take up more power than a conventional battery and thus re-charge more quickly.

Based on going rates for Li-ion battery, the price for Porsche’s latest addition to the option list looks right at home. And compared to the body colored trim pieces, it’s the bargain of the century.

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14 Comments on “The Cost Of Additional Porsche (Li-ion) Lightness: $132/lb....”

  • avatar

    Man, talk about a battery “charge”…

  • avatar

    the present for the one who has everything?
    how many Porsche owners are able to swap out batteries? And you have to reprogram the radio etc.
    And when you have to replace the battery (which is a maintenance item) you pay that amount again.
    I guess the same money spent on magnesium or aluminum hoods, roof etc. would have reduced weight by 40 kg, lowered the center of gravity, and would still start the car in cold weather. But Li-ion I guess is hip and Porsche posers need to have more technology (which consequently none of the shops is able to fix)

    • 0 avatar

      How many Porsche owners need to swap out their own batteries? And those buying a $3,000 battery to save 22 lbs. are probably able to purchase that in addition to the lightweight body panels, rims, etc. Additionally, they most likely have winter cars to drive when it’s too cold for the Li-ion battery to perform.

  • avatar
    Nick Danger

    Paul, kudos to your new position. Looking forward to more of your discourse and digressions. I wonder if a looming motivation to get these lithium cells into production (so their costs can eventually become rational) is the European lead-free initiative which really hit our electronics exports for a loop. Also, reminisced with your piece on the 122S. Learned to drive in that car and during the license exam drove the crowbar shifter into the examiner’s knee during the 3 point turn. Still passed though. 510 article still on the way?

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      Thanks, and yes, on the 510. I’m trying to space out the various manufacturers on CC, but let’s say before Xmas. Also found a nice 2 door to compliment the 4 door. Nice to hear from. I’ll be out your way in early April.

  • avatar

    You should eke out a tiny more engine power with the li-ion version, too, since due to the greater efficiency of li-ion vs lead-acid (~98% vs ~85%), you’ll be putting slightly less load on the alternator.  It should also last longer, since it’s LFP.
    But yeah, they’ll charge whatever they think you’ll pay for something, not what it’s worth.

    • 0 avatar

      …they’ll charge whatever they think you’ll pay for something, not what it’s worth.
      Worth to the end user is always an economic value judgment, and rarely has much to do with original cost of production.   But this does appear like a solution to a question no one is really asking.  I mean, has anyone, and I mean anyone, ever been driving down the avenue and had an occasion to think, “Man, if I only had a little lithium-ion under the hood, my juice would really be flowing!”?

  • avatar

    Most modern Porsche owners are probably pretty familiar with their batteries and entering radio codes. Most will drain their battery if you don’t leave it sitting without a tender on it.  Getting to the battery can be a pain when it is totally dead.  I have to..
    1. open the door with key fuse panel and and pull out positive post-this thing is so hard to pull out
    3.put jump box on fuse post and put negative on door hinge hood with key or interior hood release-usually they are too dead to use the interior release
    4.remove battery cover in cowl
    6. put everything back where it goes
    Speaking of expensive porsche options, porsche exclusive offers a leatehr covered fuse panel and door sills.  i’m sure they would get messed up pretty quick after a few jumps.

  • avatar

    Serious, serious error in the pricing, Paul. When you remove the VAT, the USA price drops to a screaming bargain $2400 and change. Or maybe they’ll just add it back in.
    Interesting that there is quite a bit of electronics devoted to keeping individual cells from charging/discharging too rapidly, an Achilles heel of Li-ion batteries that leads to fires and other unpleasantness, eg, the burning Dell laptop.
    Thanks, I’d rather put my money towards a set of lightweight Champion Monolite wheels.

  • avatar

    Or you could buy an Odyssey dry cell battery (weighing the same) for $150 all told, and leave that ridiculous box unchecked. I’d hope that anyone taking their GT3 RS to the track regularly would know better.

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    I think Lotus will be next on this breakthrough. Anything to shave some weight.
    “Simplify…then add Li-ion.”

  • avatar

    Performance not all that spectacular.

    Sounds like it should be standard in any 911.

  • avatar

    Maybe they should talk to the folks who supply lithium-manganese batteries to Torqeedo.  Looking at the Torqeedo Travel price list ( ), I see a 14.8 volt, 20 amp-hour lithium-manganese battery, weighing 7.7 pounds, at a price of $599.  While the power curve for an electric boat motor’s battery is going to be different from that of an auto’s starting battery, Porsche ought to be able to manage something that’s some combination of lighter and less expensive than their current (pun intended) Li-ion offering.

  • avatar

    Morning laxative for pilot and co-pilot would cost less and would save more weight.

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