Porsche pulled one of the biggest surprises at the Geneva motor show with the unveiling of a new 590bhp electric-powered crossover vehicle based on its upcoming Mission E.
Called the Mission E Cross Turismo concept, it is described by the German car maker’s chairman, Oliver Blume, as a feasibility study created by a team of designers and engineers to examine if a market exists for such an outwardly sporting zero-emission ‘cross utility vehicle’.
He said it "fuses Mission E design with Panamera Sport Turismo off-road touches" and it is "a unique concept that has instant appeal".
Unofficially, it is a rolling blueprint for Porsche’s second electric model, which is set to follow the production version of next year’s Mission E four-door sedan to showrooms in 2021 with the sort of performance that, according to Blume, will not disappoint.
“The Mission E Cross Turismo is an expression of how we envision the all-electric future,” said Blume. “It combines sportiness and everyday practicality in a unique style. It will be fast to drive, but also quick to recharge and able to replicate its performance time after time.”
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Powered by two permanent magnet synchronous electric motors - one mounted up front and another at the rear – the four-wheel-drive Mission E Cross Turismo is claimed to boast a combined 590bhp, some 76bhp more than the facelifted version of the Porsche 911 GT3 RS that also made its public debut in Geneva.
Porsche said the power characteristics of the two electric motors provide a "level of continuous power that is unmatched by any other electric vehicle" on sale today.
“Multiple acceleration runs are possible in direct succession without loss of performance,” said Blume.
Porsche hasn’t revealed any details about the weight of the 4950mm Mission E Cross Turismo long concept, but computer simulations suggest it will accelerate to 62mph in less than 3.5sec and reach 124mph in less than 12.0sec.
The new Porsche has been engineered with the same 800V charging system as the Mission E, with an 80% recharge claimed to be possible in less than 15 minutes.
Alternatively, the Mission E Cross Turismo can be charged inductively.
Stylistically, the second of Porsche’s electric models adopts the smooth body surfacing of the Mission E sedan together with characteristic off-road cues such as wheel arch cladding and underbody protection.
Inside, it previews a new curved touchscreen display coupled with an eye-tracking control system used to operate its infotainment system.
The Mission E models are the clearest illustration of Porsche's increasing focus on eletrification, but the brand is also quietly working on an electrified variant of its 992-generation 911, which is due out in 2019. It will mate an electric powertrain to a turbocharged flat-six engine to become the first hybrid 911.
The use of electric power in Porsches reflects changes in demand from the brand's customers, who in recent months have begun to demand hybrid models in significantly larger numbers. Sales of the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, for example, accounted for 50% of global Panamera demand last year.
Q&A: Oliver Blume, Porsche CEO:
Have you decided how many Mission Es will be produced?
“We will finalise the numbers in the middle of this year when we have a global distributors conference. Then we will evaluate the volume and demand.”
Has the Mission E Cross Turismo bodystyle been approved for production?
“We are still waiting for feedback, but we think the 30mm higher ride height is a good concept for this type of vehicle.”
Can you clarify Porsche’s position on whether diesel engines have a future?
“Diesel has never had the importance at Porsche as at other brands. Last year, it accounted for just 12% of our sales mix. Today, we have no diesel offering, but the new Cayenne has been prepared for [a] diesel [powertrain], but we haven’t decided yet for production. We will have the eight-cylinder and plug- in hybrid for the Cayenne, and maybe diesel. Diesel is good for long-range driving, so it may have a future.”