Porsche now plans to offer hybrid versions of all its models according to Porsche Chief Executive Oliver Blume. Blume told a German newspaper that in 2018, the first Porsche Hybrid would hit the market, a plug-in hybrid of the Porsche 911. The 911 will have a range of 50 kilometers (31.1 miles). Porsche had already made big news last month when it announced the carmaker would spend around 1 billion euros (over $1.08 billion in US dollars) to build a production facility in its largest plant in order make the first all-electric sports car. Porsche’s plans are in line with its parent company Volkswagen’s increasing commitment to add more electric models after it became embroiled in an emissions scandal.
The electric sports car will be called the Mission E model. It will have more than 600 horsepower and a range of over 500 km and will come to market by the end of the decade.
CEO Blume has not been enticed by the driverless car boom. Blume said he doubted that driverless cars were in Porsche’s future, saying “an iPhone belongs in your pocket, not on the road.” He also stated that Porsche did not need to team up with any big technology companies. “Partnerships are generally not a bad idea if one’s own competencies are insufficient. But we are on the one hand part of a strong company and on the other hand have no plans to lead the charge in this area. We’ll leave that to others.”
Autonomous or self-driving vehicles are gaining popularity. Boston Consulting Group is expected to reach 13 percent of the market by 2025, which is equivalent to a market of roughly $42 billion.
Blume’s comments display a bit of a misunderstanding about the nature of driverless cars, since it’s a much more complicated process than letting one’s mobile smartphone do the driving for them. However, it is also sensible for Porsche to let others do the innovating in this area, since buyers of luxury sports cars are purchasing a driving experience, not buying a sensible vehicle that will dutifully help them with their daily commute. Or as Blume put it, “One wants to drive a Porsche by oneself.”
VW’s other high-end brand, Lamborghini, has also expressed reservations about the trend towards autonomous driving.
The Model E
The concept for the Model E was revealed last fall. Its specifications include:
- Four doors and four single seats.
- Over 600 hp (440 kW) system power and over 500 km driving range.
- All-wheel drive.
- All-wheel steering.
- The capability of zero to 100 km/h acceleration in under 3.5 seconds.
- A charging time of around 15 minutes to reach an 80 percent charge of electrical energy.
- Instruments operated by eye-tracking and gesture control.
- Some instrumentation operated by holograms – highly oriented toward the driver by automatically adjusting the displays to the driver’s position.
The drive system is new, yet still drawn from Porsche racing. The car features two permanent magnet synchronous motors (known as PMSM) which are quite similar to the ones used by this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans victor, a 919 hybrid. This means Porsche will not sacrifice any of its speed and performance handling in order to go hybrid.