Porsche is plotting a surprise entry into the electric car ranks with an all-new mid-sized liftback that aims to compete with the Tesla Model S.
Porsche is planning to enter the electric car segment with an all-new mid-sized five-door liftback. Currently in the formative stages of development at Porsche's Weissach R&D centre in Germany, the new car will form part of a new dedicated fifth model range set to slot beneath the Panamera, based on Porsche chairman, Matthias Müller's comments.
While the range will get conventional engines that will take on the established luxury class rivals such as the BMW 5-series, an advanced battery-powered variant will challenge the Tesla Model S, both on performance and range.
Details of Porsche’s first-ever series production electric car remain shrouded in secrecy, though our sister publication, Autocar UK understands it has been conceived around a second-generation version of the MSB platform that currently underpins the Panamera.
Set to employ a greater percentage of lightweight, hot-formed, high-strength steel and aluminium than today’s structure, it will boast a shorter wheelbase than that of the Panamera, and will aim to provide the new car with a kerb weight under the Model S’s 2190kg.
Power for the new five-seat Porsche is planned to come from a synchronous electric motor. It is likely to provide a similar output to the unit used by the Model S – which offers 416bhp and 443lb ft in its most powerful guise – in a bid to endow the new Porsche electric car with class-leading performance.
The electric motor will draw energy from a yet-to-be-specified battery. Likely to use a lithium-ion process, it is expected to be developed in partnership with Audi, which is currently in the throes of finalising its first-ever electric car, the R8 e-Tron. It is planned to provide the new car with an all-electric range of more than 250 miles.
Porsche has gained electric car expertise through the development of a number of prototypes in recent years, including the Boxster E – an all-electric version of the second-generation Boxster that used a 121bhp electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack.
The new Porsche model forms part of a two-pronged attack being readied by Volkswagen-owned companies against Tesla, whose solid sales growth in recent years has led many established car makers to fast track plans for their own battery-powered models.
While Porsche is targeting the Model S, Audi is set to challenge the soon-to-be-introduced Model X with an electric variant of its future range-topping Q8 SUV.