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Project Boxster Clubsport: Part 24 – The Electric Motor

We’re entering new territory here! Porsche has just introduced the first of likely many electric cars in its Taycan, and it probably won’t be long until we have a hybridized 911 in dealer showrooms. It’s time we got with the program and see how this electric propulsion stuff works first hand. We’ve had « Project Boxster Clubsport » for a few years, and it’s been dormant for the last two trips around the sun. I’ve done some work on the car, and it’s been driven a quick trip here and there, but it has mostly been laying in wait. Now I’m going all in on the Boxster that has been sitting for far too long. This month I’ve been working on sourcing the car’s eventual electric heart in the form of a used Nissan Leaf motor. We’re ready to start cutting and welding and mounting stuff.

In case you haven’t seen where the project has been in the past, here are links to every installment.
Part 1 – Introduction
Part 2 – GT3-Style Center Console Delete
Part 3 – LED license plate lights
Part 4 – Headlight Polishing
Part 5 – Tail Light Tinting
Part 6 – Emblem Delete and Paint Correction
Part 7 – Lightweight Battery
Part 8 – Short Shift Kit Installation
Part 9 – Lightweight Audio
Part 10 – Big Brakes, Spacers, and Wheel Studs
Part 11 – Wheels and Michelins
Part 12 – Parking Lot Damage
Part 13 – Flares and Paint
Part 14 – Interior Door Handle Update
Part 15 – Non-Smoker Kit
Part 16 – Stiffer Sway Bars
Part 17 – Momo Steering Wheel
Part 18 – H&R Sport Spring Installation
Part 19 – Adjustable Rear Toe Control Arms
Part 20 – Rear Suspension Braces
Part 21 – How Does It Drive?
Part 22 – Aborted Revival
Part 23 – Starting Again

Before we get started we would need to thank Michelin. As many of you know, Michelin is a long-time sponsor of FLATSIXES.com. Recently, they have generously offered to sponsor Project Boxster Clubsport as part of their involvement with our site. Please consider checking out what Michelin has to offer by clicking their banners on this page. Without Michelin’s support, and others like them, this site really wouldn’t be possible.

 
It’s about time that the Boxster platform started getting the respect it deserves. I hope to accomplish that by giving this car an AWD hybrid propulsion system, combining the greatness of a sonorous and rev-happy flat six with the instant-on torque of an electric motor. So here are the parts we’ve acquired for the project, along with the costs associated.
 

996 Carrera 4 front axle spindles – $159.98 for the pair on eBay

 

996 Carrera 4 front half shaft axles – $350 for the pair on eBay

 

Complete 2014 Nissan Leaf motor, gear box, inverter, harness, axles, and subframe – $2120.60 from autowrecking.com

 
 
After doing some digging around in Porsche’s PET diagrams for answers, I discovered that I wouldn’t even need a complete Carrera 4 front subframe to accomplish front driven wheels. As it so happens, the only thing different between the Carrera 4 front suspension and the Boxster front suspension is the spindle itself. I should be able to swap this AWD spindle in to the car and re-use the existing shocks, ball joints, control arms, and brake components. The brakes are already upgraded to Carrera calipers and rotors, but even then it should still have worked with a stock Boxster caliper.
 
We’ll only need the spindle side of the Carrera 4 axles, and the motor side of the leaf axles, cutting both down and merging the two together with a sleeve welded over the connection between the two halves. This will allow us to transmit electric power from the Leaf motor to the stock Porsche Carrera 4 uprights, spinning the front wheels. The idea is sound, now we just need to implement it!
 
I found the electric motor by searching around on carpart.com for a recently crashed car. I knew that I wanted a 2013 or newer motor unit, as Nissan improved the operation of the regenerative braking, and efficiency of the motor. The motor produces 107 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. I know a lot of Porsche owners who would pay a lot more than two grand for a 200 lb-ft improvement from their car. In the 3300 pound Nissan body, it can sprint from 0-60 in 9.9 seconds and run up to 93 miles per hour. With a lot less weight, a lot more power, and a smaller frontal area, our hope is that Project Boxster Clubsport Hybrid will have much better performance than that.
 
And in case you were wondering, a Nissan Leaf motor fits perfectly into the back of a 2018 Honda Odyssey minivan.
 
 
It’s not likely that this project will be the work of a moment, and knowing myself it’ll drag on for years. That said, the hope is to have a running and driving hybrid Boxster sometime in 2020, because what else could possibly be on our plate for the next year?
 
Follow along on the journey with us. Next time we’ll be shedding a few pounds from the Boxster in order to get it down to fighting weight. The hope is to strip it to less than 2000 pounds before putting the electric motor and battery weight back in.
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