Porsche’s all-electric rival to the Tesla Model S is scheduled to go on sale in less than three years; new spy shots suggest development is on track
The Porsche Mission E has been spotted again wearing near-production bodywork – and it suggests the final car will look largely unchanged from the concept it is inspired by, and receive autonomous technology and active aerodynamics.
Photographed on the Nürburgring, the car can be seen sporting exhaust tailpipes, but these are fake and fitted to conceal the car’s identity. More notable is the panel of autonomous sensors in the nose, nestled between what appear to be two sets of louvres in the lower grille. Although in the closed position, it’s clear that these can be opened to allow battery and brake cooling.
Previous Mission E sightings, shown in the gallery, were of a Panamera-based chassis mule testing in the Arctic Circle. 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 sits on one of three new electric car platforms being developed within Porsche’s parent company, the Volkswagen Group. This J1 structure is described as being different in construction to the C-BEV platform planned to underpin sister company Audi’s forthcoming production version of its E-tron quattro SUV concept.
“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.
The Mission E’s battery pack is capable of providing the car with a range of more than 330 miles. In combination with two electric motors, the sleek four-door promises 590bhp and a 0-62mph time of just 3.5sec. The production car will stick with the 800V charging system used on the Mission E concept.
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 indicate 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/Cayman, 911, Panamera, Macan and Cayenne ranges.