Porsche Takes Aim at Tesla With a Stunning Electric Concept
Daaaaamn. You’re surely thinking the same thing as you look at Porsche’s latest concept: An all-electric sports sedan aimed squarely at dethroning the Tesla Model S as the king of battery-powered cool.
The Mission E concept, unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show today, combines stunning lines with superlative range and performance in a package that should make Elon Musk very nervous. Porsche says the car has a range of 310 miles and will blitz from 0 to 62 mph in under 3.5 seconds. The Tesla Model S is the only electric car with those kinds of numbers: Its range-topping P90D model has a range of nearly 300 miles, and hits 60 in 2.8 seconds.
What’s more, Porsche says the Mission E battery can reach 80 percent charge in just 15 minutes, which beats the Model S. But the Tesla does have one significant advantage over the Porsche: It actually exists.
The Mission E is but a concept, a sexy body on a drivetrain that may or may not be real and may or may not deliver the numbers cited. But the company has an incentive to offer a mass-market battery electric: It must meet increasingly strict fuel emission standards from US and European authorities. Porsche already offers plug-in hybrid versions of the Panamera and Cayenne, it’s seen some success racing a 911 hybrid, and the gas-electric 918 Spyder is flat-out amazing. And then there was the 919 Hybrid that won at Le Mans. A full EV is the next logical step.
This being a concept, Porsche can be selective about what elements of the car it explains, and which it posits as faits accomplis. So it’s no surprise the details are thin. The automaker reveals nothing about the battery beyond saying it uses “the fastest lithium-ion technology” and extends from the front axle to the rear (like the Model S).
The propulsion system is derived from that of the 919. Two motors generate 600 horsepower and drive all four wheels. The car’s got all-wheel steering, a system used in the 918 Spyder, 911 GT3, and 911 Turbo to improve stability at speed.
One thing’s clear from the renderings: The Mission E is damn sexy. It’s just 4 feet, 3 inches tall, with a low sweeping roofline that’ll slice through wind and inconvenience any moderately tall backseat passengers. It’s not far from the Model S, but it roundly beats Elon’s ride for sleek looks. It’s hauntingly similar to the stillborn Fisker Atlantic (whatever his business acumen, Henrik Fisker can draw a beautiful car), and looks like what the Panamera should’ve been all along.
Inside, the Mission E is mostly conceptual silliness. Porsche talks about a 3-D display that moves as the driver shifts position, eye-tracking and gesture control, and holograms. A camera in the rearview mirror can tell if the driver’s in a good mood, and display a matching emoticon in the dashboard. Because of course the Germans think you need to be alerted to the fact that you’re having fun.
Not that it doesn’t sound like a good time. Now, Porsche just has to take the challenge to Tesla in real life.