Porsche Mission E provides all-electric glimpse at the future of supercars
The Frankfurt Motor Show hasn't even started yet, but already Porsche has revealed its contender for best in show. The Mission E Concept is a drop-dead gorgeous, fast-charging, all-electric supercar that Porsche says can clock the Nürburgring Nordschleife in under eight minutes.
Hiding underneath the Mission E's shapely bodywork are two permanent magnet synchronous motors, which draw on the tech used in this year's Le Mans winning 919 Spyder. The two motors combine for a total of 447 kW (600 hp), enough to punt it to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 3.5 seconds and on to 200 km/h (124 mph) in under 12 seconds.
While power is one thing, electric motors are known for making big torque figures from zero revs. Strangely, Porsche hasn't quoted a torque figure for the Mission E – we can only assume that the headline 447 kW figure is backed up by an equally impressive torque output, but we may have to wait until the Frankfurt reveal before we know for sure.
Taking full advantage of all this performance is, as you'd expect, hard on the battery. To make sure you're not waiting around while the car charges, Porsche says it has developed an 800-volt charging system that will give you 85 percent of the car's 500 km (311 mile) range in just 15 minutes. The car is also fitted with an inductive charging coil, opening the door for wireless charging if it actually makes production.
Because the Mission E is just a concept, there's no details about where or how owners would be able to take advantage of the 800-volt Turbo Charging system, although Porsche does say the car can be charged using more conventional charging stations, albeit more slowly.
When it comes to handling, the Mission E has a number of advantages over petrol-powered supercars. Just like Tesla, Porsche has mounted the car's batteries low in the underbody, making for a low center of gravity and quick direction changes. Because the batteries stretch the length of the car and there's a motor on each axle, the car also has an even weight distribution.
Though no weight figures have yet been quoted, Porsche says it has worked hard to keep the Mission E as light as possible by using a mix of aluminum, steel and carbon fiber in the body.
It might be light but the car's body is also absolutely gorgeous – it's as if Emmett Brown replaced his DeLorean with a fusion of 911, 918 Spyder and 919 Le Mans racer and set it for 2020. Up front, the LED matrix headlamps meld into a 911-style bonnet and front fenders, while the car's hips and wide tail lights make it look instantly familiar.
This is becoming a bit of a habit, but we're willing to go out on a limb and say the Mission E is in with a chance at taking out the gong for best looking car of 2015. Sorry for getting your hopes up, Mercedes C-Class Coupe.
The interior makes the most of the space that going electric creates. Because electric cars don't need a transmission tunnel or driveshaft, designers are able to make the car feel lighter and more open, as well as opening up more space to put phones, wallets and sunglasses – boring, practical considerations, but relevant nonetheless.
The Mission E seats four people in individual, lightweight bucket seats while the driver is treated to a curved display that tracks their eyes to know which instrument they're looking at. Drivers can then swap through different modes on the instrument they're watching by pressing a button on the steering wheel.
If you're the type of person who feels the need to share their every mood swing online, the Mission E will also use a small camera to recognize your face and display it as an emoticon in the dashboard, before offering an option for you to share it on social media along with information about your speed and route.
The center console has been given a similar set of high-tech tricks, allowing users to control infotainment and air conditioning with gestures.
The Mission E is, for now at least, just a concept, but it's also an exciting look at whats to come for speed freaks. Here's hoping Porsche takes the Mission E and turns it into an electric reality.
Have a flick through our gallery to see more pictures of the stunning Mission E, and stay tuned for all the news from Frankfurt, where Gizmag is on the ground covering the action.
Below is Porsche's launch film for the Mission E.