Electric Porsche Boxster switched on in Stuttgart

Back off, early adopters, the all-electric Boxster E is just part of Porsche's ongoing R&D work, and one subject of a German government-supported program. It's the first of three such prototypes to go into field testing in Stuttgart this year.

The first Boxster E has two electric motors, each powering a separate axle, producing a total of 241 hp (180kW) with charge from a 29 kilowatt-hours battery. Performance specs are few, but the company says we can expect the Boxster E to compare with the standard S model. That means a 0-60 time in the five-second range and equally sure-footed road manners.

Does this mean a sea change for the company that turned a noisy flat-six gasoline engine into high art? Not exactly, considering state and local government support is leading the charge. But don't forget how many years Porsche engineers have spent defying physics (that engine-in-the-rear thing) so if anyone can trick electrons into powering an electric car viably, it could be them. Hedging? Maybe, but that's competition for you.