Porsche has Tesla in its sights with a 600 horsepower all-electric car which has a range of 330 miles, charges to 80% in just 15 minutes, and is said to be as important to the brand as the original 911 was 50 years ago. Called the Mission E, the new car is hoped to go on sale by the end of the decade.
Revealed at the Frankfurt motor show, the Porsche Mission E is a four-door, four-seater which shares a passing resemblance to the company's Panamera saloon car and the Carmen sports car. The latter section of the market is where Porsche hopes the Mission E will appear, as unlike Tesla, the company is keen to show off the car's handling as well as its straight line performance.
Porsche claims the Mission E can, according to computer simulations, lap the 14-mile Nurburgring in under eight minutes, a similar time to the Caymen S. With an electric motor powering each axle, the two-tonne car can sprint to 60mph in 3.5 seconds – only 0.1 shy of the company's flagship 911 Turbo – and to 125mph in less than 12 seconds. The Mission E is slightly shorter and less tall than the Tesla Model S, but is wider.
The car delivers most of its power to the rear wheels and only brings the front axle into play under hard acceleration or slippery conditions. Torque vectoring splits power between the two rear wheels, helping to eliminate slip and improve mid-corner balance. Porsche says the Mission E will be a "typically rear biased" car, but hasn't said exactly how power will be split between the two motors.
'We are deadly serious...this is not just a concept'
Wolfgang Hatz, head of research and development at Porsche, said the company is "deadly serious about this car". He explained: "It is not just a concept, but a clear look at the future of Porsche. The implications to the brand are as important as those when the 911 was created over 50 years ago."
But despite the headline performance figures and numerous links to technology used by the 2015 Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid, the Mission E's claimed charging time is perhaps Porsche's most impressive claim. It says the car will recharge by 80% – giving a range of 264 miles – in just 15 minutes, almost three times faster than the Tesla Model S.
Porsche is using an 800 volt recharge system, twice that of Tesla's Supercharger network, plus the Mission E can be charged by 400 volt systems and domestic chargers installed in owners' homes. Better still, Porsche says the Mission E can be charged wirelessly on home chargers, with the driver simply parking over a coil installed in the floor of their garage.
An interior as futuristic as the exterior
Inside, Porsche has installed an OLED instrument cluster behind the steering wheel, with each dial appearing in a different place depending on how the owner wants to drive – a speedo and lap timer would appear front and centre when driving on track, for example. The Mission E borrows a visual trick from the iPhone's home screen called parallax effect – where the app icons float around in front of your wallpaper when you move the phone. This means the 3D instrument display moves to follow the driver's stance and seating position, eliminating occasions when instruments are blocked by the steering wheel.
An eye-tracking camera knows which dial or instrument panel the driver is looking at. When they press a button on the steering wheel the car knows to open up a sub-menu relevant to the dial the driver was looking at when he pressed the button. In a move which follows the new BMW 7-Series, the E Mission's secondary functions can be controlled with hand gestures. A grasp of the hand means select, for example. Other gestures will likely be used to control the music volume and what song is playing.
Porsche has not mentioned a price for the Mission E, but we can expect it to cost around the same as the Tesla Model S, which tops out at just over £100,000.