Porsche has taken a swing at American electric-vehicle dynamo Tesla, unveiling its hotly anticipated Mission E concept at this week’s Frankfurt motor show.
Billed as Stuttgart’s first-ever all-electric four-seat sports car, the 440kW Mission E follows the dramatic 918 Spyder hypercar as the latest step in Porsche’s plan to rapidly embrace future technologies for both performance and efficiency gains.
Porsche describes the styling of its new electrified four-door coupe as a sports saloon, comfortably slotting an extra pair of doors and seats into a stretched but unmistakably Porsche profile.
Massively pumped guards dominate the view from every angle, while a look at both ends could easily offer a first hint at future Porsche styling.
At the front end, there’s a compressed look to the sunken all-LED headlights, tucked away beneath the folds of the bonnet and huge wheel arches.
At the rear, a long C-pillar and window design extends out to the integrated wing, protruding beyond the slender tail lamps and tall, classically bulbous bumper and giant diffuser.
In the cabin, the Mission E builds on the 918 Spyder’s interior styling with a long and tall centre console extending into the dash.
A series of displays dominates the cabin, from the tall control panel in the centre console, through to the long screen reaching across the dash and to the broad instrument cluster that wraps behind the minimalist sports steering wheel.
Porsche says these systems are controlled by a series of gestures and eye movements, including grasping and pulling gestures designed to activate functions such as media, navigation, climate control, contacts and vehicle settings.
Power in the Mission E is provided by a new drive system “proven in motor racing”, utilising two permanent magnet synchronous motors (PMSM) that Porsche claims is similar to those featured in this year’s victorious Le Mans 919 Hybrid race car.
Delivering all-wheel-drive control, the motors produce over 440kW combined to propel the Mission E to 100km/h “in under” 3.5 seconds - making it an obvious performance rival to Tesla’s dual-motor Model S P85D. (See our P85D review here.)
With Porsche Torque Vectoring technology in play, the Mission E also claims a Nurburgring Nordschleife lap time “under the eight-minute mark”.
It’s not all about speed, though: Porsche is also trumpeting the magic of an 800-volt system - double the 400V design of other EVs - that allows the Mission E to charge faster and carry less weight, “because lighter, smaller gage copper cables are sufficient for energy transport”.
Porsche claims a driving range of greater than 500 kilometres on one charge, and the Mission E’s lithium-ion battery pack can achieve 80 percent of capacity in around 15 minutes of charging via an 800V port.
In lieu of access to an 800V port, the Mission E can also be connected to a 400V port, or charged by parking over an inductive coil in the garage floor.
A neat trick to the Mission E’s design is the moveable access panel in front of the driver’s door, which exposes both the charging port and a display for at-a-glance charge details.
Porsche has yet to confirm any specific production plans for the Mission E, although it has been open about its plans for plug-in hybrid and all-electric models in the future.
Buyers can likely expect the next-generation Panamera to take its styling cues from the Mission E - although, as with any concept, much of its more audacious elements will be toned down in the transition to production.
The Mission E could also hint at Porsche’s rumoured ‘Pajun’ (a press-christened portmanteau of ‘Panamera Junior’). At 4850mm in length, 1990mm wide and 1300mm tall, Porsche’s new concept is a full 165mm shorter than the Panamera, but a significant 60mm wider and 120mm lower.
Watch for more on the new Panamera, and the expected ‘Pajun’, to surface in the months ahead.