Porsche execs on 2020 Mission E, more electric cars to follow

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Porsche Mission E concept, 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show

Porsche Mission E concept, 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show

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Auto journalists often relish interviews and roundtable sessions with German executives and engineers.

They usually haven't been beaten into submission and forced to stick to scripted talking points, as have too many of their U.S. counterparts.

Most German auto executives also speak excellent English, so fewer translators are involved, removing a buffer.

DON'T MISS: Porsche Mission E electric sedan buyers want, expect fast "Turbo Charging"

In other words, execs from German makers may actually answer questions and provide journalists with new information.

Two weeks ago, at the media preview days that preceded the Geneva auto show, we sat down with Porsche executives to discuss their future plans for a large number of plug-in electric Porsche models.

What follows is a summary of points from several interviews, along with previously issued press material on preparations for production of the Porsche Mission E electric sport sedan, anticipated to go on sale as a 2020 model.

Porsche Mission E Concept - 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show live photos

Porsche Mission E Concept - 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show live photos

Enlarge Photo
Porsche Mission E Concept - 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show live photos

Porsche Mission E Concept - 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show live photos

Enlarge Photo
Porsche Mission E Concept - 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show live photos

Porsche Mission E Concept - 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show live photos

Enlarge Photo
Porsche Mission E concept, 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show

Porsche Mission E concept, 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show

Enlarge Photo

Porsche Mission E: The Basics

The Porsche Mission E was unveiled at the 2016 Frankfurt auto show as a concept for the brand's first battery-electric sport sedan, receiving rave reviews for its low, sleek design.

Its range was described as roughly 300 miles, with output of at least 400 horsepower, and Porsche promised a 15-minute recharge to 80 percent of battery capacity from ultra-fast DC charging operating at 350 kilowatts and 800 volts, a system later dubbed "Turbo Charging."

The Mission E will go into production in 2019 on a new assembly line now being built at Porsche's headquarters factory in Zuffenhausen, outside Stuttgart. Its model name isn't yet known.

Initial equipment will be brought into the renovated assembly-plant buildings early this year, and pilot production cars will follow the prototypes already built.

Factory capacity for the car is said to be 20,000 units a year, with some capacity to boost that volume slightly if required.

WATCH THIS: Porsche Mission E electric car concept design video (Apr 2016)

Porsche's customers want plugs

One of the more remarkable statistics that emerged from our discussions was this: Almost 60 percent of Panamera sedans Porsche now sells in Europe are the plug-in E-Hybrid version, said Klaus Zellmer, CEO of Porsche North America.

In the U.S., moreover, 20 percent of its Cayenne sport-utility sales are the E-Hybrid, and that's before the new generation of Cayenne E-Hybrid goes on sale.

In future, the company will offer two variants of its plug-in hybrid models, a standard version and a higher-performance "Turbo S E-Hybrid"—one that is presently the most powerful and fastest model in the new Panamera lineup.

Performance always appeals to Porsche buyers, but as interest in its diesel variants wanes, plug-in Porsches are clearly seen as desirable because they offer extra acceleration over gasoline-only versions.

Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo concept

Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo concept

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The Mission E has unique underpinnings ...

The platform, or architecture, to be used for the Mission E is known within Porsche as J1.

It is not shared with any other vehicle outside the brand, though the Mission E Cross Turismo all-electric crossover concept shown at Geneva is clearly a derivative using the same underpinnings.

That derivative seems likely to go into production as an electric counterpart to the Sport Turismo "shooting brake" version of the Panamera sedan.

CHECK OUT: Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo concept: second electric model previewed

Those are the only two versions of J1 "up to now," said Stefan Weckbach, Porsche's head of battery-electric vehicles, though he suggested "a couple of others" might be possible, specifically mentioning a "two-door" vehicle as one candidate.

Those could come from Porsche, he said, possibly even other makes within the VW Group. While the brand guards its image zealously, Porsche already sells V-8 engines to other parts of VW Group, so precedent exists.

Still, J1 isn't likely to last as long as most architectures, either within Porsche or in the sprawling array of VW Group vehicles and brands globally.


 
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