When the electric 2024 Porsche Macan finally hits dealers later this year, held back after a series of software delays largely pinned on the Volkswagen Group's troubled Cariad division, it'll mark something of a departure for Porsche and its path to electrification.
With this new Macan, Porsche integrates an all-electric drivetrain into one of its existing models (and its existing model nomenclatures) for the first time. The company's first EV, the Taycan, was granted a wholly new name, while Porsche's previous electrified cars have largely worn some variation of E-Hybrid identifier, often with Acid Green calipers and highlights to match.
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An uneasy transition to EVs
Every automaker has a different approach to "transitioning" to EVs. Some do all-new models, like Hyundai's Ioniq 5 and Ioniq 6; others have more awkward appellations like Audi's "e-tron" badge. But by giving the electric Macan the same name as the gas model—effectively replacing it—Porsche takes a huge step.
Not so, here. The electric Macan will simply be the new Macan, specifically a Macan 4 and Macan Turbo to start, filling two notable gaps within the current model's lineup. The existing internally combusted Macan, plus the T, S, and GTS flavors, will all live on, sitting right next to the new, emissions-free flavor of Porsche's littlest SUV.
Why the change in branding strategy? Why not split the electric Macan off like the Taycan to be its own thing, or apply some sort of electrified identifier like on the Panamera E-Hybrid?
Gallery: 2024 Porsche Macan Electric USA Photo Gallery
Porsche Cars North America's new CEO, Timo Resch, told me it's time to ditch the EV identifiers, both in name and style. "I'm personally convinced that the direction to not create offers that are distinguished by design or naming is the way forward," he said. In other words, it's time to stop distinguishing EVs either via special designs or names. "I think we will see this direction also in the rest of the industry," he continued.
We've certainly seen hints from others, including Mercedes's apparent decision to eventually remove the EQ branding from its EVs. Audi, however, seems set to keep the e-tron moniker around, at least for now.
Audi, Porsche's corporate cousin, is actually a significant player in the new Macan story, just like it was for the Taycan. The electric Macan rides the PPE platform that will also underpin a next-generation Audi Q6 e-tron. The two may have a slightly competing relationship, just as the Taycan and Audi e-tron GT do.
Is Resch concerned about competition from across the boardroom? "I think there's no worry at all," he told me. He said that Audi's reputation is strong, but said: "The cars are very much differentiated to be true to the brand's identity... If you get into a Macan electric and you drive, it immediately makes you feel like this is a true Porsche." Resch says that Porsche had "the majority of the responsibility" for developing the PPE platform, resulting in an electric Macan that feels right and was developed with learnings from Taycan owners.
"There are some learning curves where we understand that's what our customers really need and some other customer things that we have thought about that are not really that mandatory," Resch said. He gave charging as an example, stating that 90 percent of American Taycan owners charge exclusively at home at low speed, perhaps meaning Porsche's prized 800-volt charging isn't a huge selling point here.
While Taycan sales are strong, setting a new record of 12,744 in the final quarter of 2023, Resch says that the trend in the U.S. EV market is softer than he would like.
"We see there's demand," he told me. "But at the same time, we see the overall curve, the increase curve, might be a little bit flatter than some people might have expected it to be. I think it will be very important for us, the Porsche brand, to carefully monitor that."
Resch says U.S. Porsche customers, especially those shopping for a model with four doors, typically want to buy from the lot. The American need for instant gratification is strong, and Resch says that scratching that itch is particularly important for EVs.
Last year's gradual easing of global supply chain woes helped Porsche satisfy that. "We were able to be in a better position to have some cars that our dealers can actually get our customers to try and to test drive... As soon as they get into a Taycan and drive it then they're convinced," he said. "And the same thing is going to happen also with a Macan electric."
An increasingly restrictive set of federal financial incentives also complicates the U.S. market. In 2024, those incentives are no longer dependent on your tax burden, but they still carry such strict qualifications and rules that only a handful of vehicles qualify.
Resch confirmed that the cheapest electric Macan, the Macan 4, will be priced under the $80,000 eligibility ceiling for federal incentives. However, since that SUV is not built in the U.S., to get that rebate, you'll need to use the lease loophole.
Macan electric production will happen in Leipzig, right alongside the other Macans. Would Porsche consider U.S. production to make the car eligible for the full U.S. federal rebate? For now, at least, the answer is no: "The demand that we see can be perfectly produced out of the existing plants that we have in our Porsche production network," Resch said.
However, Resch told me that federal rebates are significant to Porsche and the broader EV landscape in the U.S. "I think these programs are fantastic, and they are doing exactly the right thing from the point of view of the United States government," he said. "We are very positively applauding this, but in the end, taking volume from an existing plant of ours and just putting it somewhere else, it's not a smart business idea."
Regarding actual sales targets for the electric Macan, or even the percentage of BEV vs. ICE sales for the SUV, Resch declined to give any indication of Porsche's expectations – except that they'll be big: "I feel very positive about the start of 2024,” he said.
He also sees good things ahead for the Taycan, shooting down any fears that its days might be numbered as Porsche begins to integrate BEV drivetrains into existing models. Porsche's first EV still has a "bright future," he said. "Today is all about Macan, but there are cool things up in the pipeline for Taycan as well."