With the increasing concern over Climate Change, and the increasing viability of Wind, Solar and other renewable technologies to deliver electricity with limited carbon emissions, “electrifying everything” is being touted as a strong component of Climate Change mitigation efforts. In a recent Electrification Futures Study by the US National Renewable Energy Lab, a particular sector of the economy – transportation – was noted as having the most transformational potential by 2050. Billions of Euros are already being poured into Electric Vehicle (EV) development. And while Tesla may have had an earlier start, both new startups and traditional manufacturers are gaining ground.
Enter Porsche, the German sports car manufacturer, with its Study Concept Mission E. The difference is that Porsche refuses to lose the luxury sports car moniker as it electrifies. Performance remains key to converting what are sometimes dubbed “petrolheads” to electricity. Production for two fully-electric cars have already been announced, the Taycan and the Cross Turismo. The Taycan, with two electric motors, one at each axle, is expected to have top speeds of 250 km/h. Acceleration will be 0-100 km/h in less than 3.5 seconds, and 0-200 km/h in less than 12 seconds.
Porsche’s efforts are not without a significant cost. 6 Billion Euros will be spent by 2022 on the electrification project. The Taycan alone, to be manufactured out of the Porsche Zuffenhausen facility (near Stuttgart, Germany) will accommodate 1,200 new employees and new training facilities, production and assembly lines. As well as electrifying the cars, the production process itself is expected to be carbon-neutral, with the longer-term goal of zero-impact on the earth in terms of materials, processes and, importantly, carbon emissions.
Besides the vehicle itself, Porsche is also spending big on the batteries to gain an advantage on the competition, particularly the charging system and car’s powertrain, which will have the ability to use an inductive plate or traditional charging facility. Range is a long-standing problem with EVs, with the Taycan to be built to travel up to 500 km on a full charge, and a fast-charging capability that will allow for 80% to be charged in 15 minutes. Porsche will build out its own network of charging stations, partially leveraging their dealer network, and associated software that will allow customers to reserve charging spots in advance. Porsche is also trying to solve a significant performance problem with EVs to date, the loss of power after multiple accelerations and at top speeds due to heavy demands on the battery.
For Porsche, electrification is a significant shift in strategy, with the stated goal of 50% of its production to be Electric Vehicles (and Hybrids) by 2025, and with diesel fuel falling away completely from the Porsche propulsion line-up. All the while, Porsche intends to retain its brand heritage, creating a look and feel that Porsche enthusiasts recognize, even if the car is far more silent than the raucous noise of past combustion engines.
Featured Photos: Belay Station (at a “Scopes, driven by Porsche” Event, Oct 30, 2018, Berlin); Porsche Media Images