The future of Porsche is electric – that was the clear message from company chief Oliver Blume at the 2016 Detroit auto show.
Blume addressed the media with the presentation of the flagship 911 Turbo and 911 Turbo S models, but while those cars would usually be enough to justify minutes of endless specifications and salesman-like rhetoric, it appeared clear that the topic on his mind was not the cars on show, but what could be parked in a well-heeled Porsche owner’s garage in the coming years.
Blume steered his presentation towards the future, openly letting those present know that electric models – such as the show-stopping Porsche Mission E concept car unveiled at the 2015 Frankfurt motor show and now confirmed for production by 2020 – are set to form a critical part of the company’s future.
“Back in September at the Frankfurt auto show we revealed our Mission E concept car and its capabilities: 0-60 miles per hour (96km/h) in less than 3.5 seconds; more than 600 horsepower (440kW); a range of 300-plus miles (500km+); a charging capacity of 80 per cent of the battery in under 15 minutes; an innovative 800-volt system; and what many have called stunning design,” he said.
“Porsche will continue to develop and make premium, emotionally appealing sports cars, even if they are no longer powered by conventional combustion engines,” Blume stated.
“You may recall that Porsche was the first luxury car maker to offer plug-in hybrid systems in three different model series: the Cayenne; the Panamera; and the 918 Spyder. That was the first signal to the market,” he said, clearly indicating that hybrids are part of a complex powertrain puzzle that the folks at Porsche, and across the industry in general, are currently piecing together.
“Our Mission E project clearly shows where we are heading. We have set aside well over one billion dollars to launch our first, all-electric sports car by the end of the decade. This will not be just another electrically-powered vehicle, but a sports car for a new era: a car that drives, smells and feels like a Porsche,” he said, which may be an admission of sorts that some of those middle ground hybrids – which we’ve scored well below the Porsche average on numerous occasions – aren’t living up to the brand’s promise.
“Our goal for 2016 and the next years is to create sustainable growth, and it’s not a contradiction. Porsche will stay a very exclusive brand, you can be sure of that,” he said.
“The first steps are made, and I’m looking forward to the future of our fascinating brand. And regardless of whether the 911 Turbo S or the Mission E, our fundamental commitment to all our fans, customers and prospects will never change. Porsche will continue to make superb sports cars, the best and most exciting in the segment, and provide a unique ownership experience.”
Tell us what you think – will Porsche still resonate as a performance brand when more models come with a plug?