Fully electric versions of the Porsche 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman two-seaters are being developed for a 2022 debut, and Porsche is considering offering them alongside mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the current models, Autocar reports.

“We have prototypes of the 718 running in electric now, and a hybrid prototype is being built. If you look to the next generation of those cars it is possible, although it is not yet clear whether it would be plug-in hybrid or hybrid,” Porsche chairman Oliver Blume told the publication.

The revised direction of pursuing hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the 718 Boxster and Cayman is understood to have been taken following the German automakers’ internal engineering study’s revelation that lithium-ion battery technology has yet to become advanced enough to enable pure EV versions to attain more than 300 km in range without significant changes to the current mid-engined platform.

This approach for the two-seaters is mirrored by the Macan, which although will use the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) architecture, won’t do so exclusively. The SUV will continue to be produced on the existing MLB platform, albeit with new hybrid powertrains, and the pure electric driveline will be the domain of the new PPE foundations.

“For at least two to three years we will have both. At that point, we can decide whether to upgrade the combustion engines to the new Euro 7 standard or go full electric. The pace that countries are changing is different; China wants electric now, Russia is in less of a hurry, for instance,” Blume noted.

Sources tell Autocar that the new electrified powertrains for the mid-engined, 718 models are developments of those already designed for the 911, and the work is to allow Porsche’s current internal combustion engines to meet the upcoming EU7 emissions regulations. As future, electrified 911s will retain the flat-six, so it will be for the flat-fours of the 718 models.

Both mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid models will feature a 48-volt electrical system and a disc-shaped electric motor, which will be adapted to a modified version of the 718 Boxster and Cayman’s seven-speed dual-clutch transmissions. As the names hint, the mild-hybrid setup will offer performance and efficiency gains, though without pure EV capability, while the plug-in hybrid will have extra battery capacity for electric running.

While the aforementioned battery technology is a work in progress, it is progressing rapidly, according to Porsche insiders citing studies carried out by parent company Volkswagen, which predicts that lithium-ion cells will evolve to enable cell energy density to grow by 25% – both in volume and weight – between 2019 and 2025, the website reports.

Volkswagen also expects the adoption of solid-state batteries to bring a further 25% gain by 2025, which would enable Porsche to package more energy into the same space without further weight penalties. To that end, Volkswagen has invested £76 million (RM405,949,166) in Quantumscape which gives Porsche access to the latest developments in solid-state battery technology, the publication reported.