Two electrically-powered Porsche Boxster sports cars sparked interest at Michelin Challenge Bibendum in Berlin, Germany from the assembled audience of politicians, academics and auto industry insiders. The cars weighed only 1,600kgs and were capable of reaching 100kph (62mph) in only 5.5 seconds for the twin-engined model, proving that Porsche dynamics needn’t be compromised by doing away with the fossil-fuelled engine.
Porsche demonstrated their Boxsters – two-wheel and four-wheel drive variants – around an off-road circuit. They are being used as part of the “Model Region Electro-Mobility Stuttgart” large-scale trial to explore the everyday practicality of all-electric vehicles, with particular attention being paid to driving range and battery charging, the two biggest obstacles to everyday use.
The Boxsters were extensively modified and were powered only by twin electrical motors in the case of the four-wheel drive model, with a single motor powering the rear-wheels of the two-wheel drive version; there was no additional combustion engine in either of them. The rest of the car’s cabin and luggage capacity remain unchanged, meaning that their practicality isn’t compromised by the use of an alternative energy source.
The Boxster E has a range of 170kms (107 miles) from the 440 individual cells, which are cooled – along with the motors – by two water cooling circuits, necessary because of the heat that they produce. The battery is secured to the car using the existing engine mounting points, helping to provide additional safety in the event of a collision as well as making battery replacement straightforward in the future. The battery is charged via dedicated cable, and can be taken from empty to fully-charged in nine hours via a domestic electricity supply, so could be done overnight in most cases. A rapid charging facility is also available.
Pedestrians are vulnerable as a result of the near-silent running of electric vehicles, so Porsche engineers designed an ‘Active Sound’ system that not only alerts other road users to the Boxster’s presence but also provides the driver with acoustic feedback.
The Michelin Challenge is a global forum to look at sustainable mobility funded as part of an €130 million project funded by the German Federal Government as part of their “Electro-Mobility in Model Regions” project.