Porsche's all-electric rival to the Tesla Model S is scheduled to go on sale in 2019; it'll spawn multiple variants
12 March 2018

Porsche is pushing hard to ensure its Mission E electric sports car makes it into showrooms in 2020 with technology to enable fast-charging to 80% in just 15mins.

The brand's first EV model, recently spotted testing in Scandinavia and due for reveal at the end of 2019, will feature 800V charging technology that is intended to future-proof it for several years after it hits the market. The car will use a lithium ion battery pack that powers two electric motors, which form part of new electric architecture called J1.

Power from the Mission E's powertrain is expected to at least match that of the Mission E concept, which produced a combined 590bhp to enable a 3.5sec 0-62mph time. Porsche's engineers are working to ensure this straight-line pace is matched by handling worthy of the brand.

Before the winter cold set in, Stuttgart's engineers were based at the Nürburgring to develop and test the car's chassis and suspension settings. Although the four-seater Mission E will be more closely aligned, in terms of character, with the Panamera than pure sports car models like the 911, the Mission E's floor-mounted batteries will give it an extremely low centre of gravity to give it handling more comparable with focused performance machines.

The centrally-located batteries and twin-motor setup will also give the car's technical architecture a better weight balance than combustion engine cars, potentially allowing Porsche's engineers to soften the car's anti-roll bars, aiding ride without hindering handling.

The most recently photographed car is being towed by a Cayenne - breakdowns are common during early phases of testing - and is wearing less camouflage than other development models. Earlier cars were disguised with exhaust tailpipes, which 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. 

Porsche has been testing its Mission E underpinnings for at least 18 months. The earliest sightings (see gallery) were of a Panamera-based chassis mule testing in the Arctic Circle back in 2016. The development for the car is being 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 company 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 their construction, Blume also confirmed that the 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 batteries of the production Mission E with an 80% charge in just 15 minutes.

​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 its 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."

Blume’s comments indicated that Porsche is planning the Mission E as a complete 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 electrified vehicle technology. Part of this money has helped to develop a plug-in hybrid version of the next-generation 911.

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

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Join the debate


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


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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