Porsche unveiled the next iteration of its Mission E pure battery-powered electric-vehicle platform in Geneva this week. But instead of being a low-slung sport sedan like the original Mission E introduced in Frankfurt in fall 2015, this Cross Turismo is more of a high-riding, long-roofed vehicle — not exactly an electric Cayenne, but more like a jacked-up version of a battery-powered Panamera Sport Turismo.
This makes sense. Even in the short period of time since the first reveal, the global market (and particularly the American and Chinese markets) for vehicles has shifted from sedans to crossovers at a rather astonishing rate. If Porsche is going to launch an EV, it makes sense to have ready a vehicle that fits where the market is.
"This signifies that the Porsche Mission E sedan is not the end in terms of pure EVs for Porsche," says Joe Lawrence, COO of Porsche North America. "It is clear that the U.S. market is trending toward crossovers, so though the sedan is the only one we've confirmed, we recognize that Americans want the utility and function of a SUV."
The larger question is what this means for the Porsche brand. Porsche has offered one of the broadest varieties of plug-in hybrid vehicles of any manufacturer, including a supercar (918), an SUV (Cayenne) and an executive sport sedan (Panamera). But it has shied away from electrifying any of its core sports cars, and has outright given up on previous plans to insert batteries into foundational vehicles such as the 911.
"There are no plans now for electrifying the 911, but that doesn't mean that one day we might or might not," says Lawrence.
Because such vehicles also generally imply the utilization of shared mobility or high-level driver assistance technologies, manufacturers such as Volvo (Polestar), BMW (i) or Mercedes-Benz (EQ) have experimented with spinning off their electric vehicles into separate sub-brands, seemingly to protect the ur-brand from impingement or dilution. Porsche seems to have considered this tactic and decided on integration.
"We are big believers that pure electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids can be real Porsche cars like those with an internal-combustion engine," says Lawrence. "They can achieve incredible performance and dynamism, so it does fit very well with what Porsches are about. So there is no need to differentiate with a separate sub-brand."
Porsche has also said that it is committed to assisting with the charging infrastructure required to make electric vehicles viable. It plans an 800-volt, super-fast charging setup, one that the brand claims will allow a 250-mile charge in about 20 minutes. It has already announced plans to install these chargers at all of the locations that make up its U.S. dealer network. But for the initiative to be a success, it needs to exist at more than 189 locations nationally.
"Our studies show that 80 percent of charging happens at home, and an additional percentage at work," Lawrence says. "Nevertheless, a nationwide infrastructure is important for further EV adoption. Fortunately, there are private companies supporting that. We are going to look at some convenience or destination charging at sites like high-end hotels, resorts and shopping centers where we might brand some charging ports as well. But other than the dealers and that — and our two experience centers in Atlanta and L.A. — we have no plans for further infrastructure rollouts."
Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo: How Porsche shifted with the market originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 07 Mar 2018 18:35:00 EST.