It’s official – Porsche plans to join the electric car market with a sports car that’s expected to compete on Tesla’s turf by 2020. The Mission E, as it is currently called, originally debuted as a concept car at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The plan is to go head to head with Tesla’s Model S and hopefully grab a major part of the consumer market.
The sports car maker may first have a substantial hurdle to clear given the Volkswagen Group, Porsche’s parent company, is in the midst of a diesel scandal, involving deliberate cheating on pollution tests that has caused Volkswagen’s sales to plummet, not only in the U.S., but also globally. Funds in the millions of dollars have been diverted from research and development to deal with potential fines and the costs of refitting an estimated 11 million diesel cars worldwide to meet emissions standards, with 500,000 of those in the U.S. alone.
Still, the board of Volkswagen Group remains confident they can fulfill their plans to proceed with the Mission E, which has already been approved for factory production. But, while the car may be Volkswagen Group’s flagship model, it is only part of what VW hopes to be the introduction of 20 new electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids by the end of the decade.
Performance-wise, Porsche executives boast the Mission E will “combine outstanding driving performance with trendsetting day-to-day practicality.” Resembling a futuristic version of the four-door Porsche Panamera, the car will produce 592 horsepower from twin electric motors, one for each axle. Even with a 0-60 mph time of 3.2 seconds, the Mission E is expected to have a range of 310 miles on a single charge.
Many of the numbers are comparable to the Tesla Model S, although the 0-60 mark has been beaten by some versions of the S, with elapsed times under three seconds. But, the Mission E is only in pre-production and all numbers could change dramatically between now and 2020.
According to Porsche, one of the car’s most attractive selling-points maybe it’s charging time. They claim an 80% recharge – allowing the car a range of up to 264 miles – can be achieved in only 15 minutes, virtually three times faster than its potential future rival, the Tesla Model S.
The end of the decade is expected to be a dog fight between a slew of electric car companies, not just Porsche and Tesla. Actually, both Google and Apple are big players who have also set 2020 as a target date. But, Tesla will probably be selling its cheapest and smallest electric car by then, the Model 3, due to be marketed as early as 2017.
Furthermore, another California upstart developing an electric, autonomous car, Faraday Future, has set its sights on Tesla and 2020 as well.
While electric car companies begin jockeying for position for 2020, they have all neglected to mention one important thing – price.