Porsche plans electric rival to Tesla in drive to move beyond VW scandal
Porsche has committed to making its first all-electric vehicle, taking on Tesla Motors with a model that's set to accelerate faster than the German company's 911 sports car and recharge in 15 minutes.
Porsche has green-lighted a €1bn project to produce the battery-powered sports car, which will be manufactured near division headquarters in Stuttgart and create 1,000 jobs, the Volkswagen unit said on Friday.
The model, based on the low-slung Mission E concept unveiled in September at the Frankfurt Motor Show, will enter showrooms at the end of the decade. "With Mission E, we are making a clear statement about the future of the brand," chairman Wolfgang Porsche said. "Even in a greatly changing motoring world, Porsche will maintain its front-row position with this fascinating sports car."
The step is part of efforts by Volkswagen, Europe's largest automaker, to move beyond a scandal over rigged car-emissions tests.
Chief executive Matthias Mueller, who ran Porsche until late September, has vowed to accelerate and widen development of electric cars amid a reorganisation to delegate more decision-making to the VW group's brands and regional units.
While global sales of all electric vehicles have yet to take off, manufacturers are positioning themselves for growth in demand stemming from tighter environmental rules. Tesla boss Elon Musk said in a presentation at a Paris conference on climate change last week that regulators need to take action to discourage carbon emissions.
Porsche caused a stir at the Frankfurt show with its four-seat Mission E electric sports-car concept, whose acceleration to 100km per hour in less than 3.5 seconds beats the 911's 4.2 seconds to reach that speed.
The new electric vehicle will complement a line-up comprising the 911, the smaller Cayman sports car, the Boxster roadster, the four-door Panamera coupe and the Cayenne and Macan sport utility vehicles. Porsche's high-performance 918 Spyder, a plug-in hybrid supercar, has been sold out, as production was limited to safeguard exclusivity.
The division is set to sell more than 200,000 vehicles for the first time this year, driven by demand for the $52,600 compact Macan. Tesla, maker of the battery-powered Model S sedan and Model X SUV, is targeting 50,000 to 55,000 deliveries in 2015. (Bloomberg)