PORSCHE once famously pledged it would never build a diesel car — then went on to sell thousands of diesel-powered Cayenne SUVs.
Indeed, diesel cars accounted for 12 per cent of all Porsches sold last year alone.
But times have changed.
After almost 10 years of using engines once deemed to be unbecoming for a Porsche, the performance brand is set to drop diesels forever.
A diesel option was conspicuous by its absence when the new, third-generation Cayenne went on sale earlier this year.
Last year the company initially said a new diesel Cayenne was in the works but didn’t provide any details.
It was rumoured Porsche was doing its own emissions work on a new engine rather than relying on parent company and diesel engine supplier Volkswagen in the wake of the “dieselgate” scandal.
But in an apparent U-turn some time in the past few months diesel is now off the cards for Porsche.
“Porsche is not demonising diesel. It is, and will remain, an important propulsion technology,” Porsche Chief Executive Oliver Blume said in a statement issued over the weekend.
“We as a sports car manufacturer, however, for whom diesel has always played a secondary role, have come to the conclusion that we would like our future to be diesel-free.”
The company assured owners of existing diesel vehicles they will continue to be supported with parts and service.
Porsche says demand for diesels is dropping globally and it will instead invest more than 6 billion euros ($9.9 billion) in hybrid and electric technology by 2022.
“We have never developed and produced diesel engines ourselves. Still, Porsche’s image has suffered. The diesel crisis has caused us a lot of trouble,” Blume was quoted as saying in an interview with German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
Porsche’s announcement came the same day as a meeting was held by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to investigate whether the car industry should pay for costly hardware upgrades for older diesel vehicles.
Next year, Porsche will launch its first fully electric car the Taycan. It already has a plug-in hybrid versions of the Panamera sedan and Cayenne SUV.
The next generation Porsche 911 will also be available with plug-in hybrid power, although it is unclear if it will arrive with the new model next year or be introduced later in the model cycle.
Porsche has promised the plug-in hybrid 911 will be “the most powerful 911 we’ve ever had; 700 horsepower might be possible.”
It will also have a “special button for the electric punch”, similar to a ‘push to pass’ button in Formula One.
Porsche drops diesel engines, switches to hybrid and electric power for alternative energy, by Joshua Dowling, News.com.au, September 24, 2018.