Green Update–>Porsche Tests Electric Boxsters; GM to Build All-Electric Cars; Volt Price Announced

July 27th, 2010

2009

For some time now, Porsche has announced its intention to seriously explore pure electric (battery-only power) technology. Yesterday, Porsche CEO Michael Macht said that the company “will definitely be offering an electric sports car in future. But such a concept only makes sense if it offers product qualities typical of a Porsche.”

To that end, it has been field-testing three electric Boxsters to see what is feasible for a true electric sports car. It’s also known that Porsche purchased a Tesla Roadster a while ago, and you can guess what that means.

The 918 Spyder, while promised, is still a concept; the 911 GT3R Hybrid has been a real success; and the Cayenne Hybrid S has gotten great reviews. And, says the Porsche press release, “The hybrid technology from the Cayenne S Hybrid will also be featured in the Panamera S Hybrid, which will enter the market next year.”

On a more mundane but perhaps more important note, General Motors let it be known that it will build a small number of battery-powered (no booster motor à la Volt) cars for testing. These will be the first all-electrics since the EV1 (right), which the company built a decade ago and then killed in 2002.

There is a pretty thorough history of that program here. Perhaps the biggest problem GM had was that battery technology simply wasn’t there yet. But the company learned a lot, and one of its engineers now

wishes GM hadn’t killed the plug-in hybrid EV1 prototype his engineers had on the road a decade ago: ‘If we could turn back the hands of time,’ says [GM R&D chief Larry] Burns, ‘we could have had the Chevy Volt 10 years earlier.’

Speaking of which, Volt prices are being announced today, and we just got word that the base price will be $41,000 (including destination charge) before federal and state tax breaks. GM will encourage leasing the car by offering a 36-month lease at $350 per. That will put them in the same ballpark as the Nissan Leaf (for leasing).

Is the Volt priced right for you? Or are you going to wait for the electric Boxster?

—jgoods

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  1. AutoOfficionado
    July 27th, 2010 at 14:15 | #1

    These developments are exciting and very encouraging. No matter how many things are going wrong in the world, the growing focus on green vehicle building reminds me that there are still reasons to be optimistic about the future. And, on a more childish note, how great is it to know that there could be a real future for sporty electrics now that Porsche has serious EV plans. There is hope!

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