Porsche is one of the most renowned sports car makers, with a rich history and significant contribution to the automotive industry. From the curvy body lines of the 356 model up to the distinctive body shape of the 911, Porsche always managed to make its cars stand out from the crowd, and not only due to their aesthetics – the rear-mounted engines and their aggressive roar are also emblematic elements of the brand. However, it appears that the latter might not make it to an upcoming Porsche model. Before you start freaking out, no, it’s not a Porsche minivan, so no need to worry about Porsche going soft; however, the company is building an all-electric sports car, which is set to be a game-changer. It might not have the sound of a Porsche, but the upcoming all-electric sports car will still pack in the unique sportiveness of Porsche cars, combined with breathtaking aesthetics and futuristic technologies.
Meet the Mission E
Porsche’s Mission E was first announced at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show, but at the time it seemed as the company was just testing the waters and teasing the public by unveiling a concept car that would supposedly compete directly with the crown-holder of the electric-vehicles industry – Tesla, and beat them at their own game. Even though the announcement was focused around a concept car, Porsche wasn’t shy on throwing some daring figures to the table: 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, 350 miles on a single charge and a total power of roughly 600 horsepower, which made it abundantly clear that they’re going after Tesla.
The centerpiece of the upcoming Porsche Mission E, though, will be its fast-charging system, which will supposedly allow the Mission E to reach an 80-percent charge in just 15 minutes. If Porsche pulls it off and stands up to its claims, Tesla might be facing some serious competition, and if history taught us anything, it’s that Porsche is a company that doesn’t really joke around when it comes to its cars.
Porsche’s plans for the Mission E may seem a bit far-fetched at first, but it’s important to note that Porsche is not exactly new to electric cars. While there are no all-electric cars in Porsche’s portfolio just yet, the company does have some hybrid cars that have been doing quite well, such as the Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, the Porsche 918 Spyder or the Porsche 919 Hybrid that will compete in the Le Mans race. All of these cars are living proof that Porsche does know a thing or two about electric engines, thus making it highly likely that the upcoming Mission E will be a success.
An interesting aspect about Porsche’s hybrids is the approach the company used for making the most out of the electric motors. Most auto makers that opted for electric motors in their vehicles designed the vehicles so the electric motor is used when the car is set in motion, with the combustion engine taking over once the car is on the move, thus reducing the fuel consumption associated with starting from a standstill. Porsche, on the other hand, was not looking to create competitors for the Toyota Prius, so reduced fuel consumption was not its main priority, but rather raw performance. With this idea in mind, Porsche opted to give the electric motors in its cars a dual purpose – to help set the car in motion from a standstill, and to give the car an extra performance boost when needed.
To better illustrate the idea, let’s have a look at the Porsche 918 Spyder, a super car that’s powered by a combustion engine assisted by two electric engines. The combustion engine, a 4.6 liter V8 engine, delivers roughly 608 horsepower, but thanks to the powerful electric motors, the total power output of the car amounts to a whopping 887 horsepower. This gives the Porsche 918 Spyder some pretty impressive performance specs: 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds, 0-120 mph in 7.2 seconds and 0-190 mph in 19.9 seconds. The 918’s predecessor, the Carrera GT, clocked 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds and 0-120 mph in 10.8 seconds, all this with a 5.7 liter V10 engine. As you can easily see, the electric motors in the 918 Spyder do make a tremendous difference, so we can only expect the refined electric motors in the Porsche Mission E to live up to the hype.
Mission E – A Closer Look
Despite the fact that the Mission E is still a few years away from actually seeing the light of day, with the model being scheduled to be available somewhere in 2020, Porsche seems to have a lot of the car’s highlights all figured out already. The company also set a budget of $1 billion for bringing the car to life, so even though there will be some challenges along the way, one thing is pretty sure at this point – the Mission E is coming, and it will pack a lot of goodies.
Let’s start from the outside: the Mission E concept showcased at the Frankfurt Motor Show looks like a sibling from the future of the Porsche 918 Spyder, keeping the same distinctive lines shared by the Spyder and the Carrera GT, with some fine touches here and there that give it a bit of an exquisite look. A notable difference lies in the LED headlights, which aside from providing a futuristic touch for the car, will also house sensors for the assistive technologies the car will pack in. The rear side appears to be a slightly redesigned rear of a Panamera, coming with a continuous light strip combined with black glass instead of regular taillights. What really makes the car different from everything else Porsche ever designed so far are the doors – the Mission E is a four-door car, with the suicide-style rear doors and the absence of a B pillar providing a generous embarking space for all passengers.
In the performance department, the Mission E will boast two electrical motors, capable of a combined power output of roughly 600 horsepower. Keeping the engines running will be an underbody battery that will stretch from the front of the car all the way to its back. The battery will also play a key role in stability by providing the car with a very low center of gravity. One of the most hyped performance aspects of the Mission E is its quick-charge feature, which should allow the car’s battery to be recharged up to 80-percent in just 15 minutes. Porsche wants to achieve this by using a high-voltage electric system operating at 800 volts, which is double the usual voltage used by other electric car manufacturers. This, paired with the inductive charging feature, should make the Porsche Mission E quite impressive charging-wise.
Porsche didn’t overlook one of the key elements of its cars either – the driving experience, so the Porsche Mission E will come with an impressive interior to match its performance. The instrument panel will feature five virtually-displayed round instruments that will provide all the relevant information the driver will need. Interaction with the instruments will be done via eye-tracking technology, so the driver won’t need to take his eyes of the road. Also in the spirit of staying focused on the road is the approach used for the side mirrors, which are completely absent in the Mission E. Instead of distracting mirrors, the Mission E will rely on rear-facing cameras that will provide a live video feed of what’s happening behind directly in the lower corners of the windshield.
These are just the features and technologies that have been confirmed by Porsche so far, but by the time the Mission E is ready to roll out the factory doors, the car is bound to incorporate a whole lot more tech.
While it is obvious that the Porsche Mission E is the company’s official declaration of war on Tesla and other electric car manufacturers, it’s not all about the competition. The Mission E might sound very good on paper at this time, especially the quick-charge technology, but it’s important to remember that it’s still a concept at this point, the end-product being a few years away, whereas Tesla and other manufacturers have all-electric vehicles that are ready here and now. This means that Porsche is still far from having an actual swing at its competition.
Be that as it may, should the Porsche Mission E come to life in its currently projected form, it will still mean a great leap forward for the company, and possibly for the whole electric car industry. Unlike Tesla, Porsche doesn’t rely solely on the success of its electric vehicle, so it’s not mandatory that it makes it the ultimate electric vehicle, although it is still important for the company to succeed in creating a competitive car in order to ensure Porsche a spot in the race for the sports cars of the future.
Whether the Porsche Mission E comes to life with the rumored specifications or not is yet to be seen, but one thing is already clear – Porsche choice to focus on an all-electric sports car was a wise one.
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