Ask most consumers to describe a Porsche and they’ll describe the classic Porsche Boxster: a rear-wheel drive, mid or rear-engined car designed for the driving enthusiast rather than the casual commuter.  Large, noisy engines have always been a prerequisite. 

Until now. We heard last summer that Porsche had plans to test an electric incarnation of its classic Boxster this year, combining legendary looks with zero tailpipe emissions. 

But the exotic electric Boxsters won’t be for sale at your local dealer just yet. The three fully electric prototypes unveiled yesterday in Stuttgart, Germany are part of an ongoing testing program to let engineers examine the practicality of electric cars in everyday situations. 

Electric cars aren’t typically Porsche’s thing, but the automaker has dabbled in hybrid electric drivetrains previously with its 911 GT3 R Hybrid race car and its Hybrid Cayenne SUV. 

2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

The e-Boxster is the first pure-electric vehicle, however. 

CEO Matthais Müller referred to electric vehicles as “one of porsche’s central challenges in the coming years”, commenting that he felt that the team at Porsche were “ready to meet the challenge with their usual high standards.”

Volkswagen, who took over Porsche recently, provide the twin electric motors used to provide 240 horsepower of power to the rear wheels.  The sportscar maker has yet to detail exact specifications but expect the e-Boxster to perform on a similar level to Porsche’s gasoline-powered version. 

2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

2011 Porsche Boxster Spyder

Will we see the e-Boxter on sale in a few years? At the moment its tough to say, since Porsche maintains that the three electric cars taking part into the Stuttgart electric vehicle study are nothing more than ‘rolling laboratories.’ 

With more and more luxury and sportscar manufacturers stepping into the electric car arena though we’re sure Porsche will want to have at least a plug-in hybrid version of the Boxster within the next five years. 

If you want an electric porsche of your own in the meantime however, you may find it quicker to build your own