By Robert Zebney, International Business Writer
The German automaker, Porsche unveiled the “Mission E Cross Turismo” concept this week at the Geneva Motor Show, an off-road take on the already planned electric sedan, which will challenge the dominant Tesla. Porsche also promised ultra-fast battery charging that would rival Tesla’s supercharger network of charging stations around the world.
The Mission E electric sedan has emerged as a direct challenge to the Tesla Model S and the crossover concept revealed recently appears to be competing with the Tesla Model X SUV. Both sedan and crossover mount the large, long-range battery packs in the floor to create a low center of gravity. This, in turn, leads to better handling and increased legroom for all passengers.
The Mission E performance numbers are very impressive. With more than 600 horsepower on tap and a claimed 0-60 mph time in under 3.5 seconds, the performance would be very close to Tesla. As for range, both the Mission E and Mission E Cross Turismo claim a range of over 400 miles. Tesla has a huge head start with its own infrastructure. The company has 2,800 Superchargers in the U.S. and it is creating Tesla-focused rest stops, with cafes for replenishing drivers while their cars recharge. Porsche plans to build its charging network starting with its 189 dealership locations in the United States and then spread to highway stations in the near future.
The transition from high-performance gasoline sports cars to all-electric machines of the future should be of no surprise to anyone. Porsche’s parent company, Volkswagen was recently fined billions for falsifying emissions data on their diesel vehicles. In an attempt to make of up for this, all Volkswagen and subsidiaries have begun the transition into sustainable fuels for powering their vehicles.
In addition, Porsche in the past has used hybrid powertrains to power their Cayenne SUV, Panamera sedan and 918 Spyder hyper car. Porsche used the development they did for the 918 to research the benefits of electric power on a racetrack and used that technology for the road. This technology is being surfaced in the new Mission E Concepts.
Although the Cross Turismo is officially a concept vehicle, it is expected to be an accurate preview of what buyers will see from Porsche after the Mission E vehicles go into production next year. While no pricing has been announced, the sedan version could run close to the existing Panamera, which begins at $85,000, compared with the $74,500 base price of a Tesla Model S 75D.
Tesla has become a model and benchmark for many automotive manufacturers in the electric car market. A few years ago, Tesla was the only major manufacturer of practical, long-range electric vehicles. With Tesla’s successes and the growing need for sustainable transportation, many manufacturers are taking advantage of the growing electric car market. As for Porsche, the Mission E will serve as their flagship luxury sedan with its technology and features trickling down to lower models in the future. Many enthusiasts claim that electric cars will ruin the automotive community and the joy of driving. Porsche, however, believes that electric technology can enhance driving for the future.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 10th print edition.
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