Porsche already has experience building one of the most capable hybrid supercars of all time in the 918 Spyder, and now it's moving on to an all-electric car. The Mission E concept that it revealed at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show has been given the go-ahead for production and will launch before decade's end.
"We are resolutely taking on the challenge of electric mobility," says Dr. Oliver Blume, chairman of Porsche's executive board. "Even with solely battery-powered sports cars, Porsche is remaining true to its philosophy and offering our customers the sportiest and technologically most sophisticated model in this market segment."
At Frankfurt, the Mission E concept was powered by a pair of permanent magnet synchronous motors teaming up for about 590 hp (440 kW). That power number and the acceleration estimate of 3.5 seconds for the 0-62 mph (100 km/h) sprint aren't quite in the same league as the world class 918, but they're nothing to scoff at and sound about right for an all-electric Porsche four-seater.
Porsche's production confirmation restates those power and acceleration specs, along with the 500+ km (311+ mile) range and accompanying 800-volt charging system that Porsche says can bring the floor-integrated lithium-ion battery up to 80 percent in 15 minutes. Porsche also reiterates the concept car's wireless charging capabilities.
When we looked at the concept back in September, we declared it a leading candidate for best-looking car of 2015, and now that the year's almost over, we can say that it's still up near the top. It was among the first cars to earn a spot on our our forthcoming "top concept cars of the year" list. Stuttgart has injected just the right amount of Porsche DNA into a greater aesthetic that's fresh enough for the face of a brand-new all-electric model. We especially like the new matrix LED headlight design and arched front fenders.
Concept components and pieces like the white-and-black wheels and (hopefully) emoticon-generating interior camera system might get left behind, but Porsche is clear that the "highly emotional design" was the most talked about part of the Frankfurt show car, an early indication that it won't change the car's look too drastically when moving from concept to production.
The Mission E may be the first electric car from the entity we know as Porsche, but it's not the first electric from the Porsche namesake. Long before he started Porsche in 1948, Ferdinand Porsche worked as an auto designer for other entities, including Austrian coachbuilder Ludwig Lohner. The very first car he designed was the 1898 Egger-Lohner electric vehicle, C.2 Phaeton model, nicknamed P1.
The carriage-like P1 may look like it got its horsepower from actual horses, but it had a 3-hp electric motor mounted transversely between the front and rear wheels. As the story goes, the model spent more than a century in storage before Porsche recovered it and brought it to the Porsche Museum just last year, calling it the "very first Porsche."
Nearly a century and a quarter after that first electric "Porsche" made its debut, Porsche will bring its new all-electric car to the streets. It says the production Mission E will appear at the end of the decade. It will be investing €700 million (approx. US$758.5 million) over the next few years into improvements on its Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen production center, which will include building a new assembly plant and paint shop, adding electric motor production capabilities and expanding the body shop. It will also be investing in its Weissach development center.