Such a move reflects an internal roadmap leaked last year, which identified an electric SUV-esque model as the second zero-emission car for the brand’s electric line-up.
While Autocar sources have confirmed there is no official greenlight for the project, the economies of scale achieved with the Mission E mean there is a strong chance it will get the go ahead – and shortly.
It is expected to make production early in the next decade, and we expect the recent images of the car testing will first manifest themselves publicly as a Mission E-SUV concept. However, that concept is unlikely until at least 2018.
While some reports have called it a Porsche Cayenne coupé, insiders say it is not necessarily linked to the popular SUV model, although it could share certain chassis components.
Design and engineering-wise, it’s thought to be a mixture of the Mission E and sibling firm Audi’s Q6 e-tron Quattro, which is due in 2018. While Porsche’s electric vehicles are set to use two electric motors, Audi is opting for three, which would be more commensurate with the Porsche SUV’s size.
The concept Q6 used power from three motors – one mounted up front, sending drive to the front wheels, and the remaining two sited at the rear, acting on the rear wheels – and a similar set-up is expected in the final model. However, both car maker’s platforms support four-wheel drive.
Porsche has already confirmed the production version of its Mission E concept, and a mule was recently spotted testing on the roads, suggesting it is on course for a 2020 launch.
The Stuttgart car maker faces tough competition in the electric SUV market, with Jaguar Land Rover rumoured to be building an electric SUV model, while the Volkswagen Group rivalry between Porsche and Audi means this car will directly compete with the Q6 e-tron quattro.
Additional reporting by Greg Kable