Porsche's all-electric rival to the Tesla Model S is scheduled to go on sale in 2019 and will spawn multiple variants
21 May 2018

Porsche has released the first official drive footage of its upcoming Mission E showing the electric sports car being driven at pace by Mark Webber around the brand's Weissach test track.

The Formula 1 race winner and 2015 World Endurance Championship champion demonstrates the all-electric car's agility and traction on the technical layout, stating that it's a "game changer".

Webber also announces that the car has "600hp", which equates to 592bhp, confirming speculation that its lithium ion battery pack-powered dual electric motor architecture will rank the Mission E second only to the 911 GT2 RS for power.

This output should give the car, which Webber admits is "heavier" than a standard Porsche due to its electric powertrain, a 0-62mph time of around three and a half seconds.

Although it's not due for reveal until 2019, ahead of arriving in showrooms in 2020, Porsche has already racked up thousands of test miles in mules that appear to be further advanced than regular cars at this stage of their development process. 

With new so-called J1 architecture that will enable fast-charging to 80% in just 15 minutes, the Mission E will reach the market with one of the most high-tech powertrains used on an electric car yet. The brand's first EV will feature 800V charging technology that is intended to future-proof the car for several years after it hits the market.

The Mission E's four-seat interior suggests it will be more closely aligned, in terms of character, with the Panamera than pure sports cars such as the 911. But the Mission E's floor-mounted batteries should give it an extremely low centre of gravity to allow for hunkered-down handling that's comparable with more focused performance machines.

The central location of the batteries and twin-motor set-up will also give the car's technical architecture a better front-rear weight balance than combustion-engined cars, potentially allowing Porsche's engineers to soften the car's anti-roll bars to aid ride without hindering handling.

The most recently photographed test car was being towed by a Cayenne (breakdowns are common during early phases of testing). Some of the spotted cars have been wearing exhaust exit surrounds that were fake and fitted to conceal the car's identity. A panel of autonomous sensors has also been seen in the car's nose, nestled between what appear to be two sets of louvres in the lower grille. These can be opened to allow battery and brake cooling. 

The development for the car is headed by Stefan Weckbach, who previously led product strategy and more recently was responsible for the development of the Boxster.

The future Tesla Model S rival's J1 structure is one of three new electric car platforms being developed within Porsche's parent company, the Volkswagen Group. The J1 structure is described as being different in construction to the C-BEV platform planned to underpin sister brand Audi’s forthcoming E-tron SUV, which is due for reveal later this year.

​“The J1 has a low floor, while the C-BEV is constructed differently with a higher floor that suits an SUV,” said company chairman Oliver Blume.

Despite the differences in construction, Blume also confirmed that production versions of the Mission E and E-tron will feature similar lithium ion battery technology.

Details remain scarce, but Porsche is rumoured to be working with Japanese electronics company Hitachi on the system, which Blume describes as the key to providing the 15 minutes fast-charge capability. 

​Blume also confirmed that Porsche plans for the Mission E to have Level 4 autonomous driving technology (self-driving in nearly all situations, with driver attention not required), but denied that it would allow fully autonomous driving over longer distances. “There are situations in traffic jams where you will be able to read a newspaper, but our customers take pleasure from driving and this will remain,” he said.

Additionally, Porsche is working on providing the Mission E with software that will allow over-the-air updates such as those pioneered by Tesla with the Model S. “It will be possible to work with over-the-air options,” said Blume. “It isn’t decided yet, but it could be possible to charge up with more power. For example, when you have 400bhp, it could be possible to upgrade to 450bhp."

His comments suggest that Porsche is planning the Mission E as a line-up of models with differing performance levels similar to the strategy undertaken with its current 718 Boxster/Cayman911, Panamera, Macan and Cayenne ranges. The brand is using the Mission E to spearhead its growing investment, which has totalled £5.3 billion for EV technology. Part of this money has helped to develop a plug-in hybrid version of the next-generation 911.

Porsche revealed a more rugged version of the Mission E at the Geneva motor show. The Mission E Cross Turismo concept is based on the same platform but raises the ride height and adds an estate body. This version is expected to arrive on roads in 2021.

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Comments
19

9 February 2016
An electric Porsche will always be nothing more than a sop to the over-bearing regulators, crossed with a PR stunt. It exists only because the main range of ICE Porsches is profitable enough to subsidise it. However it is mildly interesting because it suggests VW think battery power might just be a medium-term possibility in the luxury sector. Unfortunately this would appear to have little significance for the mass-market, where it is unlikely to ever be a serious player. It's not just that it's too expensive, inflexible and non-scalable, it's that the "trickle down" effect tends to work in reverse for prime movers. Premium ones like the V8 generally cannot "trickle down" to the mass-market but common-or-garden diesel, for instance, has certainly risen up and conquered the premium sector.

9 February 2016
Norma, how quaint!

9 February 2016
It might be their best car ever but you'll put it down before even seeing one just because it's a plug-In. "It exists only because the main range of ICE Porsches is profitable enough to subsidise it" No, it exists because the Telsa, which has come from nowhere, is out-selling the Panamera in America.

As for ".... little significance for the mass-market, where it is unlikely to ever be a serious player. It's not just that it's too expensive" Nissan Leaf, 2p a mile expensive??

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

MrJ

9 February 2016
Norma, it takes one hard ride in a Tesla to prove that a future for electric cars exists - and for me at least, the prospect of an electric Porsche makes my mouth water.

9 February 2016
Porsche certainly have got their work cut out. As well as delivering a great car they also will have to deliver the corresponding infrastructure.

It's quite possible they'll use the 150kW charging infrastructure that BMW / VAG have been talking about. However the car manufacturers seem to be waiting for others to build this after they've agreed the standard. I suspect it might need them to take the lead (unless they can convince someone like Eon or ABB to take the lead).

Of course in 2020 Tesla will be far more advanced than they are now. Anyone who has driven an early model S and a current one will realise how far they've come in a few years.

9 February 2016
As a current Porsche owner I'm interested in this car, however it concerns me that the target specs (e.g. 0-60 time etc) are already inferior to the top spec Tesla.

Ok I'm sure the Porsche would handle better than the Tesla, but it still doesn't feel right that an expensive sporty Porsche would get beaten off the lights by a practical family car.

Hmmm, that does sound a bit childish I admit... but when it coems to it if you're going to spend a lot of money on a sports car then there is an element of Top Trumps about it.

9 February 2016
I get the feeling ludicrous mode is quite a long way from Porsche's engineering culture, with the need to pre heat the battery and use inconnel to cope with the extra power going through the system. In time though, they'll refine it and refine it until it's better. You wonder what the limiting factor will be though, as the tyres must be getting quite close to the limits of what they can handle in reducing the time down.

9 February 2016
But the Porsche estimate of 3.5s 0-60 isn't near 'Ludicrous' - it isn't even a match for 'Insane'.

10 February 2016

You're quite right, I should have checked more thoroughly.

Makes you wonder why, and I'm half thinking if it's the usual thing of choosing the performance to fit in with the model range. You can imagine the scenario now, with someone looking at a 911, and their partner pointing out that the more practical and similarly priced Mission E is quicker and the sale shifting that way. In the meantime the Porsche salesmen and top brass in Stuttgart are crestfallen that they're cannibalising sales from their higher margin 911.

11 January 2017
But these spy shots are not of the Mission E, but of a rumoured Cayenne Coupe, look at the ride height and overall height.

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