Half of all Porsches will plug in by 2025, showing importance of electric cars

Jan 05, 2018

Half of all Porsches will plug in by 2025, showing importance of electric cars

Its customers and employees know, but the rest of the world may not quite have realized that Porsche now sells six separate plug-in hybrid models. They span three different vehicles—the Porsche Panamera large sedan, the Panamera Sport Turismo shooting brake, and the Cayenne sport utility vehicle—and a pair of powertrains for each. In addition to the standard E-Hybrid system now paired with all-wheel drive, a more powerful Turbo S E-Hybrid model producing 680 horsepower tops the range for each vehicle.

The E-Hybrid versions have brought more new buyers to the Porsche brand than any other model, said Klaus Zellner, president and CEO of the sports-car company’s North American operations. He spoke to Green Car Reports in an interview during this week’s Los Angeles auto show media days. Those buyers are more interested in the latest technology, Zellner suggested, see the E-Hybrid as the most technically advanced of the Porsche range and are deeply interested in data on its fuel consumption and energy use.

But the expanding roster of plug-in hybrid Porsches is just the first step in a plan of converting its lineup over to plug-in electric vehicles that will proceed at a lightning-quick pace. The company, Zellner said, expects that by 2025—only a bit more than seven years hence—fully half of its global sales volume will have plugs. Plug-in hybrids will make up the majority of those cars, at perhaps 70 or 75 percent, he said. But “in our lifetime,” Zellner suggested, “battery-electric vehicles will take over.”

Audi, Porsche’s higher-volume VW Group sibling, said two years ago that 25 percent of its sales by 2025 would be plug-in cars—but Porsche’s plans are far more aggressive yet. The first entry will be the production version of the Porsche Mission E, the concept for an all-electric sport sedan smaller than the Panamera, that will debut in 2020. Work on that car is well underway, Zellner said, and it will offer two specifications that will reassure Porsche buyers that owning and driving an electric car won’t require any compromises.

The first is a range that will be at least 300 miles, probably around 320, he said, a number high enough to alleviate any range anxiety among buyers with long commutes and unpredictable daily travel patterns. The second is fast charging of a speed so far not seen in any production vehicle: an 800-volt system operating at up to 350 kilowatts that will recharge even the largest battery packs to 80 percent of capacity in less than 20 minutes. So where will such a network of public charging stations come from, given that many Porsche buyers likely know Tesla owners who’ve demonstrated the Supercharger network.

There will actually be three ways that Porsche electric-car drivers can charge on road trips, Zellner suggested. The first and earliest is likely to be the U.S. network of 189 Porsche dealers, all of which will have the 350-kw fast-charging stations by the time the production Mission E launches.
Second is the Electrify America project, VW Group’s $2 billion, 10-year project to build nationwide electric-car charging infrastructure, which will include a variety of charging speeds and be open to the public at large.

Third, and an element we hadn’t seen covered before, will be destination chargers at hotels, restaurants, and other venues Porsche owners are likely to travel to.
This is a case where it appears Porsche is learning from the upstart Tesla luxury-car brand. The Silicon Valley startup has long installed destination chargers, using the unique Tesla connector, to provide overnight charging at hotels, inns, and other venues where Tesla drivers are likely to spend a few hours or more. Zellner admitted, however, that Porsche hadn’t yet decided if its destination chargers would be limited to use by Porsche plug-in drivers or use a standard connector that would charge any electric car.