► New Porsche electric sports car
► Mission E first of several e-Porsches
► On sale 2019, priced like Panamera
Porsche is plugging in: the Porsche Mission E, the all-electric four-door sports car concept that caused such a stir at the 2015 Frankfurt motor show, is entering the latter stages of development before sales start in 2019.
And now we've spied the first prototypes out on test in Germany - benchmarking against a fleet of Tesla Model S and Model X electric cars. Hardly a surprise that, but proof of just how disruptive the Silicon Valley start-up has become.
These early prototypes are the first tangible evidence of the Model E inching closer to production. Clad in black camouflage, it's hard to make out much of the style but we're promised the finished cars will look more concept car than Panamera.
The boss speaks: Porsche boss gives details on the Mission E
Chairman Oliver Blume updated CAR on many of the key details of the project, including plenty of new nuggets:
- On sale by end of 2019
- Designed to plug gap between Panamera and 911
- Electric-only powertrain, no combustion engines
- Different power output motors will be offered
- Badges 'likely' to follow conventional Porsche hierarchy (S, GTS etc)
- Porsche Mission E 'priced like entry-level Panamera'
- Different bodystyles possible in longer run
Speaking at the 2017 Frankfurt show, Blume said the project was on schedule and prototypes would be heading out on public tests soon. 'We are in series engineering phase,' he confirmed to CAR. Expect to see it pop up before too long in our Spyshots section, then...
Porsche Mission E: the background
Porsche’s supervisory board confirmed in 2015 that the production version of the Mission E would be launched ‘by the end of the decade.’ This is the first fully electric Porsche – and it won't be the last. ‘With Mission E, we are making a clear statement about the future of the brand,’ said Porsche board chairman Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, speaking in 2015. ‘Even in a greatly changing motoring world, Porsche will maintain its front-row position with this fascinating sports car.’
The Mission E production project is expected to create more than 1000 new jobs at Porsche’s Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen base. Around €700m are being invested in the site, with a new assembly plant on the way and the engine factory being expanded for the production of electric motors.
In the wake of the ongoing emissions scandal rocking Porsche’s parent company VW, electric drivetrain technology is being fast-tracked throughout the Volkswagen empire.
Nightmare on Tesla Street? Read our feature for an in-depth exploration of the Mission E and Porsche's future electric plans.
Mission E concept debut at the 2015 Frankfurt motor show
If the original 600bhp, 800-volt Mission E concept is anything to go by, the production car should be worth waiting for. The Mission E concept is a four-door sports car - a bit like a squashed Panamera, but with a stealthy swagger that turns heads. Especially in its matt white paint job with white and black alloys and neat detailing such as a full-width LED lighting bar for rear lights.
Those rear doors are suicide hatches, revealing a 2+2 cabin. But don't go mistaking this for a 911 (despite that echo in the rear window line)... this is an entirely new kind of Porsche, one to challenge Tesla and other EV upstarts. What's more, Porsche claims it'll lap the Nurburgring in less than eight minutes.
How quick is the Porsche Mission E?
Porsche claims the Mission E will pass 62mph in 'less than 3.5 seconds', dashing past 124mph in just a dozen seconds. Top speed meanwhile will be 'more than 155mph'. The dual-motor layout delivers four-wheel drive and the 911's four-wheel steering features for agility that would surprise most four-seaters. The batteries are mounted as low as possible within the composite construction for a ground-hugging centre of gravity.
Time to recharge? Less than quarter of an hour for 80% charge with a new type of rapid-charge, claims Porsche. Then-Porsche chief (and now VW group boss) Matthias Mueller referred to refuelling as being like 'fast pit stops,' a reference to the Le Mans 919 hybrid sports car's experience at La Sarthe where Porsche won in 2015, 2016 and 2017. ‘We wouldn’t have been able to develop this car so quickly without the 919,’ he added.
Blume, who replaced Mueller as the chairman of Porsche, tells CAR that this quarter-hour recharge will be offered at launch in 2019. 'With 350kW fast-charging, this will be a reality. It will be enough for a 400km (250-mile) range on an 80% charge.' Total range with a full battery stands at 500km (300 miles).
Will the Mission E look like this concept?
For sure. Over to Blume the boss: 'The design is fixed,' he told CAR. 'It is very close to what you saw two years ago at Frankfurt. It will be exciting but a bit different from the concept.'
Take a peek inside the Porsche Mission E's cabin: there are clever new holograms for certain instrument functions - and you control them using 2015's most popular new trend, gesture control. Expect to see this tech in production...
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