Porsche just unveiled a new concept car called the Porsche Mission E. An all electric with the first 800 volt battery pack.
Automotive: Electric Cars
Automotive: New Cars
Porsche just lifted the iron curtain on what could be their most important car ever. It's the Porsche Mission E. Why so important? It's the first four-seat sports car they've ever made that's completely battery powered.
Battery TechThey're making a big deal out of this car and there's good reason for that. It's powered by an 800-volt battery pack when other electric cars are powered by 400 volt system. While voltage isn't a direct representation of power (though voltage x amperage is), a higher voltage means less charging time. In the case of the Mission E, we're talking about a 15 minute charge time which is about half that of a Tesla Supercharger Station.
Of course, that 15 minute claim isn't real world yet. You see, this car isn't something you can buy yet. If you could you wouldn't have an infrastructure that could actually charge it in that time. It took Tesla years to get the over 500 Supercharger stations they have worldwide today. But that's why this is a concept. Also, that 15 minutes only achieves an 80% charge, but it's still impressive.
And let's forget about plugging in to charge, this thing has inductive coil technology. Just park over a charging coil and you'll get charged up, just like your Sonicare Toothbrush. Of course, my smartphone has this tech and it's a much slower charge than a direct plug so it's good to know an "old school" plug is standard too.
Mission E SpecsPorsche claims that the Mission E can travel over 310 miles (500 km) on a charge. It has all wheel drive, complete with Porsche Torque Vectoring, all wheel steering, and a ton of tech like instruments that are operated by eye-tracking and gesture control. Apparently, there are even holograms involved. Holograms people! Anyone else thinking of the Star Wars scene with R2-D2 and the Princess Leia hologram...
"General Kenobi. Years ago, you served my father in the Clone Wars. Now he begs you to help him in his struggle against the Empire. I regret that I am unable to present my father's request to you in person, but my ship has fallen under attack and I'm afraid my mission to bring you to Alderaan has failed."
...I assume the car will be just like that, only for giving you directions to the nearest burger joint and to remind you to put your seat-belt on.
Let's talk horsepower. The Mission E offers up 600 hp and can go from zero to sixty in under 3.5 seconds. We don't need to split hairs and compare it to the faster Telsa Model S P85D (see Tesla Model S P85D Scores 103 Out Of 100), 3.5 seconds is super quick. It's run by two permanent magnet motors that are said to be similar to those in the 919 hybrid.
Less Is MoreI'm not talking about Porsche's usual "less is more" approach. You know, the one where they offer that special edition Porsche Anything GTSi9000Pro GT4 model that removes stuff like radios, speakers, GPS, and air conditioning but somehow costs $20,000 more than a similar model with all that stuff.
No, in this case it's about making the Mission E as lightweight as possible. Battery powered cars are super heavy because batteries weight a lot. Making the car as light as possible is the key to getting good range. This includes cool stuff like making the wheels (21 inch in front, 22 inch in back) out of carbon. Cool.
On top of that, the car rides with a very low center of gravity. This is because the battery (which is super heavy) is at the bottom of the car. Tesla vehicles benefit from this as well and it's a big reason they are able to make such a heavy car handle so well.
DesignIt wouldn't be a Porsche without a wicked cool design to wrap all that tech in. Looking at the photos, I would say that Porsche isn't disappointing us with the Mission E. It's a great looking car, very futuristic, but also recognizable as a Porsche. How much of that design will make it into production? Who knows. Will any of this car ever become a reality? Who knows.
The front doors open like a normal car while the rear doors open backwards, like suicide doors. So there's no B-pillar and it sure looks like it would make getting in and out easier. This type of stuff is classic concept car but probably one of the first things to get cut out of a production design.
And what about the missing side mirrors? Well, it uses cameras instead and you can see what they see on displays inside the car. This makes the car more aerodynamic and improves range. The Tesla Model X concept tried this too but the production version has classic side view mirrors like any other car. Why? It's a government regulation situation. We have the technology for mirror-less cars but the government mandated laws can't keep pace. Clearly this is the future, but is it the future in the next couple of years or 10+ years out? Nobody knows.
Should Tesla Be Worried?I see stuff like this all the time in the media. So and so unveils an all electric whatchyamacallit, Tesla Motors and CEO Elon Musk panic, sell your Tesla stock now! It's all non-sense. Is Mr. Musk and Tesla worried about Porsche unveiling a competing product? I don't think so.
First off, this is a concept. It's not a production model and there has been no announcement from Porsche that says when they'll build the Mission E. Or if they'll ever build it. Stuff like this is more of a showcase to show the type of tech that might land in a future model.
Of course Porsche will offer an all electric vehicle at some point, every serious automaker on the planet will eventually. Electric vehicles are the future, that's a given. It's a fact in my opinion (see what I did there?). Petroleum powered vehicles will go the way of the dinosaurs. And hydrogen or natural gas? Come on people, don't be gullible and buy into that non-sense. Electric is the only one that makes actual sense.
But will the all electric car that Porsche does build be the Mission E? Or will it be something more like a Boxster E or 911 E? If it is an all new model called the Mission E, will it even resemble the concept? If the project got the green light today how long would it take to show up at your Porsche dealer? Three years or longer? See how these concepts aren't a threat to a company, like Tesla Motors, that's been producing real world electric cars for years.
Now, in five years will Tesla still be around? Hard to say. Porsche is owned by Volkswagen and VW is quickly working it's way up the global corporate ladder to become the the world's largest automaker. Even if it isn't number one, being in the top few spots gaurantees it has the money to buy up or put a Tesla out of business when it wants to. Well, at least until Apple decides to buy Tesla, or VW for that matter. Should we hold our breath for a Mission E? I don't think so. I think most automakers are years off from offering real competitors to Tesla vehicles. But who knows, maybe the Mission E will be the new Boxster in 2020. Either way, I'll keep my fingers crossed that we see the Mission E sooner rather than later.
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