“A Tesla is a fine car, but you cannot drive it enthusiastically without losing range or performance too quickly.”
Thus says Wolfgang Hatz, development chief of Porsche in response to rumors that the prestige brand is working on an all-electric variation of the new 2016 Porsche Panamera to cross-shop against the Tesla Model S.
That’s according to British magazine Autocar, which reports that Porsche’s development boss is happy with Porsche’s current plug-in hybrid offerings but skeptical that an all-electric drivetrain is ready for market yet.
“We are a sports car firm, and that brings with it certain expectations,” he said. “Until the technology offers such a solution to these problems we will not be looking at launching such a car.”
Despite working with various public and private groups on building an all-electric Porsche Boxster prototype, the German automaker says for now it wants to focus on the benefits of plug-in hybrids rather than fully-electric vehicles.
Those familiar with Tesla’s recently-unveiled Model S P85D will likely argue at this point that Porsche is delusional, especially since the Tesla Model S P85D is the fastest-accelerating production sedan in the world in the 0-62 mph dash.
But while the Tesla Model S P85 D — which also manages more than 250 miles on a charge — is capable of range and super-fast acceleration, it appears Porsche is preoccupied by something else: autobahn performance.
For many years Porsche, like so many other german automakers, has been keen to built cars that perform at high speeds in excess of 100 mph on the 60 percent or so of German Autobahns with no official speed limit.
Despite the reality of these roads — which are becoming increasingly difficult to navigate at high speed due to increased traffic — Porsche, like other automakers, focuses on building cars that can travel more than twice the legal speed limit of most countries.
The faster you go, the more energy you need to push the car through the air. Travelling at 140 mph for half an hour requires eight times the power needed to travel at 70 mph for an hour.
For Porsche to build a car that would be truly capable of handling Autobahn trips at the kind of speeds it thinks its customers expect, it would need to build a battery pack that would be far more energy dense than even Tesla’s Model S battery pack.
That’s not out of the realms of possibility, but it would represent a massive investment for Porsche, something that it seems reticent to do.
Given the actual amount of time that any car actually spends at speeds in excess of 80 or 100 mph however, we can’t help but wonder if Porsche is being a little short-sighted.
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