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The Porsche 911 hybrid will come when we ask for it

CNET logo CNET 3/19/2019 Andrew Krok

a car driving on a road: A little extra torque never hurts.

A little extra torque never hurts.

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Porsche hasn't been afraid to point out that the new (992) generation of its 911 is capable of spawning a hybrid variant. But it appears that while Porsche is ready to make this happen, it won't become a reality until the market demands it.

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A future hybrid variant of the 911 will depend on when buyers want it. "It has not been decided yet, and the one who will decide will be our customers, but we are ready for that," said Detlev von Platen, Porsche's board member responsible for sales and marketing, in a roundtable interview with Roadshow. "We could imagine having [an electrified] 911 in the course of the lifecycle."

Previous reports have been all over the map, with some reports claiming a possible launch date of 2022, while others back up von Platen's comments about there not being a specific timetable in place. That sort of "nobody knows" situation could actually be a metaphor for the market's current whims. Some fans are more willing to embrace the idea of an electrified 911 than others, just as some countries are more willing to embrace electrification as a whole.

Although, when Porsche does see fit to slap an electric motor in its hallowed Neunelfer, some people will likely grab for their closest set of clutchin' pearls. But that's not new to Porsche: "We decided for efficiency reasons to introduce turbo technology in each and every six-cylinder boxer engine. [There were] big reactions," von Platen said. "Six months later, everybody understood. I think we have this reaction all the time when we touch the 911, and it's normal. It's a good sign."

When it does arrive, it would be safe to assume that it wouldn't become a new type of base model, but it will rather exist as an option for buyers, just the same as upgrading to a Turbo variant over a base Carrera. Porsche hopes that flexibility, which it intends to maintain across other parts of its lineup as well, will not only appeal to more buyers, but also make sure that everybody has something they like. "People might say, '[Electrification] is not for me yet.' Therefore, we'll have parallels," von Platen said. "I think it's important to have this insurance policy in place."

As much as parts of the 911 feel immutable, the car has been no stranger to change, whether it's the introduction of fuel injection, water-cooled engines or all-wheel drive. Yet, at the same time, those changes tend to come on slowly, with a sort of measured approach that doesn't fall prey to trends. Thus, if you have any concern about the 911 going entirely electric in the remotely near future, fear not, because von Platen said it's "much too early" to discuss that.

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