Porsche North America CEO admits the company's "love affair" with California and respect for Tesla.
Though CEO, Klaus Zellmer, calls California a country (some would agree that the state surely functions in its own unique way), he realizes the state's importance in terms of innovation and more specifically, e-mobility and electric vehicles. He hopes that as his automaker moves forward, Tesla will not be the only name associated with luxury all-electric vehicles. Zellmer shared:
"Porsche and California has always been a love affair. California is also the origin of lots of disruptions – when we talk about e-mobility, when we talk about companies like, Google and Apple and Facebook – it's also a country where people look for an edge."
For now, however, Zellmer admits that legacy automakers may be losing customers to Tesla. He recently spoke on CNBC's "Closing Bell." The CEO said:
"We have lots of respect for Tesla – and, yes, I'm sure there are some Porsche customers, that in terms of connectivity, digital stuff in the car and electric battery in the vehicles, didn't find the car that they wanted with Porsche so they bought somewhere else."
Porsche, like Tesla, was present at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show. The Silicon Valley automaker surprised onlookers with its Model 3. Sadly, there was no Mission E at the event (Porsche's upcoming pure-electric Tesla Model S competitor). The automaker has delved into hybrids and plug-ins in the past, but never an all-electric car. Hopefully, the Mission E will come to market in 2019 and provide real competition for Tesla.
Zellmer never specifically admitted that Tesla is a primary inspiration, although he did say that California and the companies there definitely inspire the brand and its future aspirations.