Like its parent company Volkswagen, German performance marque Porsche is keen to distance itself from the horrors of dieselgate with a renewed interest in cleaner, greener cars. Just as Volkswagen’s other brands have renewed their commitment in plug-in and electric cars as part of a massive push from Volkswagen to bring twenty new plug-in models to its brands in just four years, Porsche is working hard to bring a brand-new electric car to market.
Called the Porsche Mission E, the sleek sports sedan was debuted last fall at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The concept car offered a claimed 500 kilometers (310 miles) of range on the overly-optimistic NEDC test cycle, a 3.5-second 0-60 mph time, and the ability to charge its battery pack from empty to 80 percent full in fifteen minutes from a brand-new, next-generation CCS quick charging station.
On paper, that puts the Mission E within shooting distance of the world-famous Tesla Model S electric sports sedan. But with the Mission E not due to enter production for a few more years, Porsche is having to double down to ensure it doesn’t lose out completely to the Californian upstart.
Consequently, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume announced earlier today that Porsche’s profits will take a big hit as the automaker invests a massive €1 billion ($1.12 billion) in ensuring the Mission E is a car worthy of the Porsche badge. The announcement, made at Porsche’s headquarters in Stuttgart, was part of a larger press conference ahead of the release of the brand’s official 2015 earnings report on March 11.
Some of that investment will come in the form of 1,000 new jobs at Porsche’s Zuffenhausen facility, a facility where staff have already agreed to take a pay cut and change shift patterns in order to ensure Porsche can produce the Mission E both on budget and on time. Other parts of Porsche’s massive $1.12 billion investment will go towards research and development of the technologies underpinning the Mission E, as well as the new, higher-power CCS quick charging technology that will give the car its claimed 15-minute DC quick charging time.
The rest? That will go towards the actual development of the unique platform on which the Mission E is rumored to be based. You see, we — and other news outlets — had expected the Mission E to be based on the same Volkswagen MEB platform as the BUDD-e electric microbus concept we saw in Las Vegas, Audi’s upcoming Q6 e-tron electric SUV and the next-generation 2019 Volkswagen e-Golf. But, says Autocar, the Mission E will use a brand-new platform designed specifically with high-performance in mind.
Developing that platform and heading all Porsche zero-emissions vehicle development will be Stephan Weckbach. Previously in charge of Porsche product strategy, Weckback was also heavily involved in the development of the Porsche Boxster.
In 2014, before the scandal of dieslgate and buoyed by ravenous appetite in China and the U.S. for luxury SUVs, Porsche had experienced one of its best years ever, securing itself a massive €2.72 billion operating profit. Now, while some of that profit will be needed to help the automaker survive into a new, cleaner era of high-performance sports car manufacturing, it seems Porsche is more ready to begin a new chapter than some had previously thought.
Alongside the Mission E sports sedan, Blume confirmed that the Porsche brand had “many new products in the pipeline” to help it continue to grow in a new, more environmentally-conscious era.
While that won’t happen overnight, it does at least suggest that contrary to previous reports, Porsche isn’t about to become a remnant of a bygone age.
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