Porsche will start tests of a pure electric sports car in 2011, with a view to eventually adding a battery-powered model to its range.
The electric Boxster will begin testing next year to help Porsche better understand the behaviour of electric car drivers and the infrastructure required to support them.
It will join other development programmes within Porsche, such as the 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid concept.
Porsche boss Michael Macht said: 'We will definitely be offering an electric sports car in the future. Such a concept only makes sense if it offers performance and a cruising range comparable to that of a sports car today.'
Porsche's Cayenne hybrid already offers buyers the chance to drive on electric power alone, albeit for short distances. The hybrid system will become an option on the Panamera range next year.