Porsche Lays Out Future EV Plans, Talks Infrastructure, Mission E

1 month ago by Steven Loveday 36

Tesla

Prototype Porsche Mission E out testing with Teslas … despite looking like a Panamera (via Automedia)

Here’s what two top Porsche executives have to say about the Mission E, electrification of other models, future challenges, Formula E, and business in general.

Autoblog caught up with Porsche’s Michael Steiner and Klaus Zellmer at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show. Steiner is a board member for Research and Development and Zellmer is President of Porsche Cars North America. The talk was regarding the automaker’s future strategy surrounding electrification and other related topics.

First of all, the Mission E. The publication says Porsche still has a long way to go with its all-electric Tesla competitor (as we’ve seen from recent testing photos) but progress is forward and positive. It also seems as though the automotive world is beyond excited over the prospects of a four-door pure-electric Porsche to rival Tesla on almost every aspect, including price.

Porsche

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid

Let’s clear up one piece of information early on. The Mission E will be marketed as a product line, not just a singular vehicle. So, rather than the automaker electrifying current models — much like some legacy automakers are setting up to do — Porsche will release the Mission E with the intention of bringing new vehicles to market under its name. Dr. Steiner shared:

“The Mission E is a new product line, and if you add a new product line that sits somewhere between the 911 and the Panamera, the potential to win additional customers is higher than if you add an additional drivetrain to an existing platform. A new product line always brings more customers to the brand.”

Of course, this answers another frequently asked question. Will we see an electrified 911 at some point? Based on the above information, the obvious answer is “no”. However, this isn’t to say that there won’t someday be a Mission E variant along similar lines.

Electrifying the 911 just doesn’t really make sense to Porsche at this point. Steiner said weight is just too much of a factor for a small, agile vehicle like the 911, and right now these type of powertrains make more sense for vehicles where “power-to-weight ratio isn’t as critical”, like the Cayenne and Panamera. In essence, in the future, there will likely be enough advance in battery tech that an electric 911 could make sense, but it’s not on the automaker’s current radar.

Porsche

Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid

Zellmer believes that the Mission E’s “mission” is twofold. It can both attract Porsche owners to the electric configuration, as well as bring new customers to the Porsche brand. He believes that this is contingent upon the automaker getting it to market before the end of the decade. Zellmer is aware that being late could mean the Mission E would fail with what it’s set out to achieve. He also pointed out that many Porsche owners are the type of people that own several cars, and the Mission E could simply fit into their “fleet”. He told Autoblog:

“The average Porsche customer owns more than three cars, so adding another one to the car fleet, so to speak, is an option for us too in terms of potential.” 

In order for the automaker to assure success, there’s a lot that needs to happen sooner rather than later. Zellmer mentioned preparing dealers to sell and service the vehicles and getting charging infrastructure in place at dealerships ahead of time. This is not only for dealers to charge the cars but also for customer use. Not to mention a separate, nationwide charging network. He said:

“With battery technology, there are certain things you have to take into consideration when you work on those cars, or when you store the batteries or exchange them.”

“We have to work on our charging infrastructure [across] the nation, so that range anxiety — despite the fact that we have a bigger range than 300 miles — is not a barrier.”

Porsche

Porsche will use Formula E to showcase its success with electrification.

Steiner elaborated on the charging situation, mentioning building charging infrastructure in the U.S. (“Electrify America”) and in Europe, specifically on the Autobahn. He said the automaker needs to focus fast charging where it’s needed. Even once cars can achieve some 450-600 miles of range, there will still come a time when they need to be charged on the road, and it needs to be fast. Steiner explained:

“There is no need for super fast charging at home, because you have time overnight … For long-distance driving, we think the breakthrough will come with really short recharging time.”

In terms of home charging, Zellmer said that the automaker will have set plans for educating consumers. This could mean having a Porsche charging consultant come to the owner’s home and talk about what equipment is needed, how to get it properly installed, and how to use it correctly. Porsche is known for its customer service and it’s important that during this transition, the buyers see a seamless process from start to finish, complete with any necessary support.

Porsche aims to use Formula E as a significant way to bring global attention to the brand’s electrification. Making racing fans aware of the automaker’s successes with the technology is a huge leap in the right direction. Steiner shared:

“The only competitive series we were able to find is Formula E, and during several discussions we had with [Formula E CEO Alejandro] Agag and his people, we got the impression that the technical freedom we will have year by year in Formula E will give us some additional freedom to prove our technology in racing.”

“Besides being downtown, [Formula E] seems also to attract different people. There are more families, more younger people seen at Formula E races than we see at conventional, traditional racing.”

In the end, Zellmer considers the Mission E the automaker’s biggest future milestone. He said:

“In terms of milestones in the future of ­– from my point of view ­– of the battery electric vehicle, Mission E is the biggest one.”

He added that just like Porsche’s other models stand clearly above rivals’ offerings, the Mission E will follow suit. Zellmer concluded:

“I think you’re going to truly feel the Porsche-ness in that car … it’s got a different soul. So, that Porsche soul is something that we need to provide with the Mission E. And we are going to do so.”

Source: Autoblog

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36 responses to "Porsche Lays Out Future EV Plans, Talks Infrastructure, Mission E"

  1. L'amata says:

    1st 0ff…An Expensive car with No Place to re-fuel? What are they thinking ?…..NO THANKS !

    1. Lawrence says:

      Home, work and public stations …. no issues finding places to charge

    2. scott franco says:

      If Porsche were able to field about 100 350kW chargers, they could satisfy the small number of buyers of this car, and yes, put a dent back in Tesla premium sales. Porsches and other makers problem is that Tesla broke into the “fortress europe” model of luxury cars, a model the Europe makers took as a given. Its not going to be easy to get that ground back.

      Europe has done well for decades with the idea sold to high end customers that the Americans don’t know how to make high end/high performance cars. Now Tesla turned that upside down. European makers responded to Tesla that there was no way high end car buyers were going to accept anything but a Turbo tuned horsepower monster. Then that ended with a slew of youtube videos of their cars getting beat by a Tesla.

      1. twonius says:

        I guess the speed at which they need to roll out chargers depends on their yearly sales targets. Tesla was pushing for mass market, but Porsche can probably find buyers for the first year’s production of a few thousand cars even without any chargers.

  2. L'amata says:

    BTW.., I see 2 Tesla’s “following” this Un-fuelable & FUGLY “P O S” What are they insinuating?, that they have more nerve than a bad tooth?

    1. Lawrence says:

      Another Tesla fanboy post with lack of insight. Tesla isn’t the only one making EV’s and that’s a good thing.

      1. dinhh68 says:

        Lawrence – With 100+ years of design/manufacture experience, why copy a startup, Tesla?

    2. john Doe says:

      In countries were there are sold EVs there can not be any shortage on chargers.
      When there is a market, it will be filled. Either for money or for environmental goodwill. That is why companies offer free charging for customers and so on.

      Many companies are installing combo towers where I live, so people can use block heates on ICE cars or charge EVs while at work.
      One single company installed 120 at a single location. One for each parkingspace.

  3. pjwood1 says:

    Debunking the marketing, a bit:

    “Steiner said weight is just too much of a factor for…911, and right now [electric]..powertrains make more sense for vehicles where “power-to-weight ratio isn’t as critical”

    Then why is the 911 turbo over 3,500 lbs, with so much weight aft of the rear axle? The Model 3 is due to come in beneath 3,900, with a turbo-like 80KWh (400-500HP possible from the battery). I don’t think anyone yet appreciates the “whole notha leap” Tesla could pack before this Porsche ever sees North America. They just have to add Model 3’s front motor and let the dogs out, like they did when AWD was “Announced” on the ~4,700lb 3.0 second car.

    Before anyone muttered “electric”, Porsche has always handicapped its other models for the idiosyncratic 911. How little things change.

    1. mx says:

      Why the rear weight. Porsche likes cars that spin, and the technical challenge to cancel it out?

    2. mx says:

      Very good analysis.
      It looks like the Germans are going to wait for their suppliers to produce the batteries they need. Soon, the supplier may be Tesla.

      1. I says:

        Panasonic produces batteries, not Tesla.

        1. ffbj says:

          Au contraire mon frère.

          1. Jeff says:

            No, Panasonic makes the battery cells.

          2. Doggydogworld says:

            Panasonic leases space in the Gigafactory and manufactures battery cells using Panasonic equipment and employees. Tesla buys the cells and makes battery packs for the Model 3, Power Wall, etc.

            Tesla filed a redacted version of the lease with the SEC.

        2. dinhh68 says:

          You probably didn’t know this… Pana manufactures batteries that Tesla designed. This is where the traditional car companies are trying to catch up.

      2. john Doe says:

        Batteries are a commodity.
        Like all the German brands they will get their batteries from Samsung or LG.

        As you know, there might be a battery cell manufacturing cooperation in Europe.. if that is important.

        As battery chemistry changes, and head towards solid state batteries, it may be wice to just assemble batteries at the moments, and buy cells from others. Time will tell.

        As for Tesla, I think it is the right thing for them to do. First of all, they had no other option – since they could not buy all the cells they needed to begin with, at at least not at a price they wanted to pay.
        For the less then a thousand Roadsters they made, it was OK to just buy the cells.
        For large scale EV production, and power storage business – it is probably wice to just make the cells themselves.

        I was a bit surpriced that Nissan sold they battery business. They sell a lot of EVs, and when they first invested in the factories.. I think they must have some insight in what’s profitable for them.

        There are 2-3 big names in batteries that says they will deliver solid state batteries soon. If that checks out, and if the price is right – and the energy density is equal or better then what’s in use now. . . I think it would be wice to just assemble batteries at the moment.
        Later, when solid state batteries are more common.. they may want to invest in their own cell production.
        Unless Samsung, LG, Panasonic and others can produce so high volumes that they can deliver to a price that makes smaller scale production useless (economy wice).

        1. dinhh68 says:

          John Doe – you are clueless about battery industry and technology.

    3. unlucky says:

      Yeah, the 911 hasn’t been small for a long time now.

      The Model 3 is no competition for a 911. Even if it can zoom down onramps no Tesla yet made can sustain a high level of performance because it doesn’t have enough cooling to do so for more than a bit over a minute of time. And while Tesla certainly could make a car that rectifies this it certainly won’t be their budget model which does so.

      You want to blast past people on onramps silently then a P-version Model S is a fantastic way to do it.

      But if you want to do trackwork no Tesla can touch a Cayman S, let alone a 911.

  4. JasonMcAllister says:

    Porsche soul in electric car will be a huge success!

  5. Chris O says:

    What’s exciting about Porsche’s EV program is that quick charging (like 80% in 15 minutes quick) and the infrastructure that goes with that are an integral part of its strategy.

    It’s nothing new, Tesla did the same, but not all carmakers (GM…)got the memo that a compelling answer to the question: “what are my options when the juice runs low?” is what sells EVs.

  6. Lawrence says:

    Hopefully someone resolves the weight issue of batteries so that EV’s sports cars have the same/better handling than ICE. Fortunately 99.999999% Of drivers won’t notice the inferior handling all that weight causes. Hence the popularity of SUV’s.

    1. Mint says:

      If weight is put in the right places, handling can get better.

      Weight increases traction, but if it’s away from the center, it increases moment of inertia even more (e.g. the Tesla Roadster and all those batteries in the back). If the weight is near the center, moment of inertia will increase less than the traction increase. Then it’s just a matter of getting the other details right.

      Anyway, the Model 3 appears to be a huge step in the right direction when it comes to handling, at least from the early reviews.

      We’ll see what the future brings…

      1. Lawrence says:

        Yes, those can help mitigate the issue, but mass no matter how properly placed will always work against handling. Lighter will always handle better.

        What helps the Model 3 is that it ICE equivalent are heavy. Fortunately for EV’s this segment has been adding a lot of weight over the years.

        Sports cars are small and light by design. Look at how much weight the battery of the Model S P100 needs to be in order to have a battery that can provide that much instantaneous power.

        The goal would be for them is to essentially reduce the weight and size of that pack.

    2. EVShopper says:

      Weight is not as big of factor in EVs as some would imply. In a proper design, the weight is all down low and provides a great feel.

      1. Lawrence says:

        Great feel, but not great performance. It feels nice not to have body roll due to low CG, but the inertia is still the same. Mass affects the change of direction.

  7. ffbj says:

    “Progress is forward and positive”? Well that’s good, progress that is backward and negative is usually not good, nor is it progress.

    I suppose progress could be made in fits and starts, but perhaps just saying they are making steady progress would have been better.

  8. jim stack says:

    so far all automakers are making some electrics. Many hybrids too.

    BUT only TESLA has the Nationwide and Worldwide DC Super Charging Network every 60-100 miles on all major highways. It’s twice as fast as any other.

    The other Electrics will be local in town vehicles until they get a DC Fast Charging Network that will take years.

    1. Lawrence says:

      Truth be told, I rent ICE vehicles for long trips and have always rented even before I had an EV.

      Even with charge times down to 30 minutes, that’s still a hassle. And if you have to wait in line on a holiday weekend, you may be waiting for hours (and it does happen) versus a 5 minute fillup of gas.

      My point is that the whole touting of Superchargers is counter productive to wide EV adoption. There are gas stations everywhere, Superchargers will not beat that in our lifetime.

      1. pjwood1 says:

        I still take a 14 y/o SUV, instead of the Tesla, for long trips. More because of mileage and depreciation, than charging.

        “Unlucky” postulated, the other day, that Mission E was going LiPo, and that helped explain higher charge/discharge. An 800v Cayman, reported to get 124 miles of range, explains a possible approach to dealing with inertia. -A low-weight ~40KWh battery?

        Superchargers will never have to beat gas stations, in number. There’s no value-added to offering something so many people won’t use. As 200, then 300, mile EV offerings become common, fast highway charging and urban (no home garage) solutions will be all that’s needed (accept for some 350KW pit-lane units 😉 ).

  9. James says:

    Lexus sales are up 171% in Germany through the first 6 months of this year. Traditionally, Germans are uber nationalistic on buying premium models.

    Perhaps Porsche is banking upon that fact, hoping to at least break even on Mission E and showing Europe that no American upstart can take sales away from them.

    It begs one to wonder what a 2nd generation Model S will be like. Hopefully S 2.0 will be on the drawing board when Mission E debuts. Competition is a good good thing.

    Sales growth seems largest in the SUV area. So a Miision E crossover should be in their plans. Model Y should be near production in late 2019, and those Superchargers keep turning up also.

    Germany’s population is diversifying. Will that play an even larger factor as Lexus sales seem to be indicating?

  10. Goofcat says:

    As a Porsche owner I am excited. Having Porsche quality in a highend EV will raise the bar for all. So sick and tired looking at poorly fitted body panels of Teslas with uneven gaps all over.

  11. Hart Ed says:

    Two questions:
    1. Is Porsche about to set up a new, direct distribution approach, ala Tesla?
    2. Is a Home Charging Specialist really needed to hook up a simple charger??

    1. unlucky says:

      No, I don’t think they’ll go direct. I don’t think they need to either.

      A specialist surely isn’t necessary. The idea here would be to make things more frictionless. If you can manage getting an EVSE installed, then great. If you can’t then Porsche will send someone to take care of it.

      This way you shouldn’t be able to use “getting an EVSE installed would be a hassle” as an excuse to not get one. No hassle.

  12. dinhh68 says:

    YAWN. another Vapor2012TeslaKillerWare from the petrolheads

    1. Clive says:

      You are telling yourself stories.

      Porsche is not playing.

      They will bring it.

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