However, the next-generation 911, targeted for launch in 2019, is being developed with the availability of plug-in hybrid technology. That said, Porsche has yet to decide when to offer a plug-in hybrid 911 to market, if at all. Even if it does, the Mission E’s launch is likely to come first.
Steiner said the more an electric car has to perform as a sports car, the more weight comes into the equation. “The Mission E is the sweet spot of sports car performance that, size-wise, provides enough space for significant battery packages,” he said.
The J1’s architecture is a bespoke Porsche development and differs from other electric platforms being engineered within the VW Group. Audi is developing an architecture called C-BEV to be used first on its E-tron SUV next year. The J1 has its batteries much lower in the floor, while the C-BEV is better-suited to higher-riding SUVs. The two architectures use common lithium ion battery technology, though.
The J1 architecture is also set to underpin Bentley’s first electric model at the turn of the decade, using the Speed 6e concept as inspiration in style, if not in size. The Speed 6e is a shorter, two-door sports car.
As a four-door and dedicated electric car with no requirements for a combustion-engine version, the Mission E doesn’t suffer from any of the packaging problems that Porsche would get from converting an existing model to be purely electric-powered. The concept car used two electric motors – one on each axle – to produce a combined 600bhp and 663lb ft, drawing their power from lithium ion batteries mounted in the floor. The concept car was all-wheel drive, with the front wheels driven mainly to aid the acceleration and the handling remaining rear-biased, with torque vectoring controlling individual wheels.
The 0-62mph time was quoted at 3.5sec and 0-124mph at less than 12.0sec, despite the concept’s kerb weight of more than 2000kg. Porsche’s electric tech is being developed in-house due to the specific need for an electric Porsche to focus on performance above all else.
Its Zuffenhausen engineering centre is being expanded to support the new model and Porsche plans to sell around 20,000 Mission Es a year when production is ramped up.
The firm will offer the Mission E with a range of power outputs and chassis set-ups. “We will offer different levels of performance,” said Blume. “There will be sporty, high-performance versions and a lower-powered one.”
Q&A with Porsche boss Oliver Blume
Porsche plans to equip it with state-of-the-art electronics that permit over-the-air updates to key systems such as the driveline and autonomous driving functions. This means power outputs could be increased remotely.