By on February 25, 2010

Take One: The Ruf 911 Greenster EV. From AB Green’s report:

Last fall, Porsche high performance tuning specialist Ruf announced that it had built a prototype electric sports car called the eRuf which was essentially a lithium ion battery-powered 911. That was just the beginning of the story as the company has brought the Greenster here to Geneva. The Greenster is a targa top 911 in the old style with a chopped speedster type windshield. In the back sits a 270 kW Siemens electric motor with 695 lb-ft of torque. The battery pack system has been improved and is now 30 percent smaller in volume, restoring the front trunk space that was lost on the original. The battery pack now has greater power capacity allowing it to release and absorb power faster, enabling more regenerative braking capacity. The battery can apparently be charged in only one hour from a 400V outlet. The next iteration will switch to a twin motor setup and the company is planning a small series production run in 2010.

Porsche 911 have been a favorite target for EV conversions fir decades. Ruf’s version is almost series ready. It will probably have an EPA mpge rating similar to the Tesla’s 256 mpge. How many would Porsche have to sell to increase its fleet average to the amount necessary?

Take 2: The Audi e-tron

Audi plans to build at least 100 e-trons in 2012. After that, expanded series production will commence. This verifies that Audi, and by association Porsche, has the technical and production capabilities to build sufficient e-tron technology 911s by 2016 to average out Porsche’s fleet CAFE.

Take 3: The Mercedes SLS AMG EV

Mercedes has confirmed production of the SLS AMG electric. Zero to 100 km/h in around 4 seconds – putting it on the same high level as the SLS AMG with a 6.3-litre V8 engine developing 420 kW/571 hp. The Germans have embraced electric vehicle technology, and are using their high performance cars as their first production versions. Think Porsche will be the only one without one?

Take 4: BMW Vision EfficientDynamics Concept

Melding the performance of an M3 with exceptionally low fuel consumption, BMW claims a 0-62 mph time of 4.8 seconds while scoring 62.6 mpg (U.S.) on the EU combined test cycle. The power and performance are made possible by combining a fuel-efficient 3-cylinder turbodiesel with one electric motor on each axle. The intelligent combination of these units, together with precisely controlled energy management, simultaneously enhances the dynamic performance and the efficiency of the car. Overall system output is 356 horsepower, and peak torque is 590 lb-ft. The special arrangement of the two motors and diesel engine allows all-wheel drive when driving in all-electric mode. The result is minimum power loss and a harmonious transmission of the power available under all conditions.

Summary: All the major German premium brands are developing advanced electric and plug-in hybrids, and specifically are targeting their top line performance vehicles as the launching pad for production versions. It’s hard to imagine Porsche being left behind. Through weight reduction, engine downsizing and a standard mild hybrid system, current EPA numbers could readily be raise some 30% or more. The balance can be achieved through averaging out its fleet mix with EVs or plug-in hybrids.

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20 Comments on “Why Obama Won’t Take Your Porsche Away – Takes One, Two, Three And Four...”

  • avatar

    For those that like the speedster body of the Greenster but aren’t ready to take the EV plunge, Ruf will also sell you one with a conventional 911 powertrain.

  • avatar

    It would seem much easier to sell an electric 911 than an electric civic or camry. Our neighbors are, I assume, pretty typical 911 buyers the husband has a 911 cabrio and the wife has a Range Rover. Much like they deal with the limited capacity of the 911 by using the Range Rover (snow, extra passengers, costo runs, etc.) they would adjust to the limits of a e911 in the same way.

    • 0 avatar

      I suppose that compared to a Range Rover, a 911 would have “limited capacity,” but between the front trunk and the rear seat/package shelf, there’s room for a surprising amount of stuff, if not additional passengers.

  • avatar

    Now I’m incredulous!

    Seriously, though…I just read on wikipedia that CAFE calculations use the harmonic mean, rather than the arithmetic mean, of the fuel economy of each maker’s fleet. This decreases the effect of outliers such as EVs on the mean. The values are also sales weighted. I therefore have to ask: will the EVs described above actually help their respective makers meet CAFE requirements? Or are they just green halo cars?

  • avatar

    While I realize that even acknowledging an electric vehicle may somehow get you stigmatized by the whack jobs on neo-con talk radio, as an enthusiast, get used to them.

    Even with off the shelf tech, electrics simply. haul. ass. The flattest torque curve on the planet, with all of it available from a dead stop.

    Yes the range isn’t there yet (of course what mileage you gettin’ with your 600HP blowered, dual carbed 396 Chevelle runnin’ a 4.55 rear end? Thought so…).

    I like cars that are fast and quick. Isn’t that what sports cars are about?

    The best part will be the first bunch of nerds that run a 1/4 mile in the 3’s with an electric drag car.

    • 0 avatar
      Ken Magalnik

      Electrics high torque lets them take off quick, but the horsepower tends to be low, so top speed is limited. Which is why you mainly see them in drag racing, rather than doing laps around laguna seca. Tesla’s top end is around what, 150-160mph? More than enough for a commuter, but rather slow by sportcar standards. A blown 600HP IC may not get the greatest mileage, but it only takes 10 minutes to refuel.

      Don’t get me wrong, I think electrics are great, and progressed considerably lately. But the tech in nowhere near ready for a serious sports car, can you imagine what an all electric 24 hour endurance race would look like? Or even an 8 hour one?
      The only way to get around the range problem nowdays is to do a battery swap, which is, well, somewhat crude.

    • 0 avatar


      2 years ago, shortly after I finished assembling my homemade bike, I pulled up next to an over the hill type at a red light in a ‘vette who winked at me and revved.

      “Whoever gets to the other side of the intersection first wins.” I hollered into his window.

      It was me, my Raleigh cruiser, and 65 lbs of lead on the other side of the 5 lane intersection, by a good half a length. Of course, once at 20 mph it was all him, but hey, my bike cost me about $70k less…

      I don’t have easy access to a racetrack & commute by myself ~50 miles round trip each day. Consequently, I am waiting with baited breath for an affordable non-ICE vehicle that can make it 60-70 miles on one charge at highway speeds…

    • 0 avatar

      That’s BATED breath, cackalacka. More correctly ‘bated breath, as in abated, or paused breath. Baited breath is simply very unpleasant!

    • 0 avatar

      Does it being a “serious sports car” really matter?

      For the driving *most* people who buy a six figure sporty car do, is it really going to matter that it tops out at 150-160? Unless you’re going to be putting serious track time in on it, the fact that it’s fast as hell off the line is going to mean much more to the driving experience than it being able to do merely double the speed limit on the highway.

  • avatar

    And one more thing.

    Those CAFE standards were a BUSH era creation – not Obama.

    The accurate headline would either reference the EPA or Bush-era regulations taking away your ability to by a new Porsche.

    But I guess Rush Limbaugh alarmist-revisionist-history-truthiness is becoming par for the course around here.

  • avatar

    While I realize that even acknowledging an electric vehicle may somehow get you stigmatized by the whack jobs on neo-con talk radio, as an enthusiast, get used to them.

    As I recall from other TTAC posts about EVs the biggest objections were something to the effect that, “Since you can’t take your wife and 4 kids and tow your snow mobiles 1200 miles to your mountain cabin – no one will ever buy one.”

    When you start talking about high end sports cars the higher you go the more likely the owners have a number of different cars and the fact that the car is electric begins to matter much less. Is a Palo Alto software executive with a GL550 an A8 and a e911 really going to care that his e911 has a 180 mile range and only when it’s warm? I doubt it. If wants to head up to Tahoe he’ll take the GL or the A8.

  • avatar

    While CAFE is absurd, if it manages to kill the Cayenne and refocus Porsche on lighter sports cars then it will at least have served a purpose.

    • 0 avatar

      Ahh, but you see: The way CAFE Standards seem to be build up they are easier to achieve with a Hybrid or Diesel Cayenne then with small sport cars…

      So its more likely that these would actually keep the Cayenne (and Panamera probably) alive while killing of the Boxter, Cayman and 911…

  • avatar

    This pretty much tells me the previous TTAC articles about the untimely demise of Porsche in USA due to CAFE regulations is pretty much bull. As I pointed out then, the electricx2 + diesel BMW is proof that Germany leads in fuel efficiency too and, if anything, new CAFE regulation will accelerate the extinction of Michigan Motors, not give them a leg up.

  • avatar

    The bad news is that early experimenters like Tesla and Aptera will probably get pushed aside and the good news, because of CAFE rules, is that we will see very exciting cars from companies (Porsche, MB, Nissan) that have a lot of money to spend on research and engineering.

    The unintended consequences are funny. Because of our U.S. Cafe rules we could be forcing car manufacturers to build cars that will be ideal in Denmark, Israel, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Finally, an article on Porsche / Obama that makes an effort, that does not just rehash Porsche PR. Thank you.

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