It is possible that the first fully-electric Porsche, the production version of the Porsche Mission E concept shown at last year’s Frankfurt motor show, will spawn a range of EV models.
The production version of the Porsche Mission E — real name as yet unknown — is still some time away, perhaps as much as two years.
The company has confirmed that Mission E is go, with a member of the Porsche executive board for research and development, Michael Steiner, saying: “Serial development has started already, we are just in the phase where we are at the end of the virtual development process, and are testing hardware performance in mule cars and things like that. Sometime in the future we will build the first prototypes for testing.”
The chances of just one car being built using the same Volkswagen Group-sourced underpinnings is unlikely, even under the Porsche brand banner. Steiner says the underpinnings are capable of more than one body style.
“The conceptual design of the Mission E gives us the potential to do more with this platform,” he says.
The company is also keeping an eye on the electric vehicle battery business, which it thinks will grow fast and change EV manufacture. “[The Porsche Mission E] should not be the only battery electric car,” Steiner says.
So, what could join the Mission E production car? And what will that car look like when it makes its real-world debut?
“Mission E will be as close as possible to what you saw in Frankfurt,” Steiner says. “We think it resembles a sporty four-door coupe.”
“If you look back, when we have done a new segment, we have always started with one variant and then, depending on how this develops, how the sales are moving on, and how the segment is developing as a whole, decided whether we add variants or not,” he says.
“But technically our platforms are designed in a way that you could do more.”
“With some modifications there is the potential for an all-electric SUV,” says Steiner.
“Usually it’s technically not so complicated to devise a higher vehicle than the other way around.
“It could be one step, but on the other hand, within the Volkswagen Group, we also have potential to use components of that platform for the basis of development for the next vehicle,” he says of the upcoming Audi Q6 EV.
“So this is really, completely, a white sheet of paper, where we have some ideas but we are far from deciding the next steps, and there is good reason we don’t do this now.
“You should have as much knowledge as possible of the acceptance of the first battery-driven electric vehicles, and some feedback from your first customers before you do the next step.”
“Otherwise it would be really risky. So usually we try to be prepared, but decide as late as possible. The probability that you have the right decision is higher.” The benefits of spawning different models off the same architecture, particularly with electric cars, is that there’s less complexity in design and engineering and therefore lower costs compared with conventionally-powered cars or SUVs.
“There are good reasons that it should be, cost-wise, a little bit easier and also faster to do derivatives of battery-driven vehicles,” Steiner says. “But the main advantage is its cost to stay in line with emissions regulations you have with combustion engines.
And, in a final hint as to when the first production electric car will be on sale from Porsche, Steiner says: “Ask me maybe in two years or three years, then maybe I’ll know a little bit more. It’s also brand new for us.”