Porsche "Tesla Killer" Gets Green Light
The Mission E, Porsche's first pure electric car, will compete directly with Tesla's Model S when introduced in 2020.
Increasing the competitive pressure on Tesla Motors, Porsche announced Thursday that its Mission E concept ― a pure electric sedan with a projected 300-mile range ― will enter production and be on sale by the end of the decade.
Porsche claims the 600 horsepower, all-wheel drive Mission E will go from zero to 60 in less than 3.5 seconds, have a range of 312 miles and charge to 80 percent power in 15 minutes ― performance comparable to Tesla's Model S sedan, which currently has the long-range electric luxury car market, a segment Tesla invented, to itself.
But Porsche, Mercedes, BMW and Audi ― badly rattled by Tesla's left-field success with the Model S and the introduction of the Model X, an electric crossover SUV that went on sale in October with more than 20,000 advance orders ― are readying so-called Tesla killers.
"With the MIssion E, we are making a clear statement about the future of the brand," Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, chairman of Porsche AG's supervisory board, said in a statement. "Even in a greatly changing motoring world, Porsche will maintain its front-row position with this fascinating sports car."
The Mission E is one of several long-range electric luxury cars and SUVs in development that will provide the first real competition to Tesla, which became the Hollywood status carmaker du jour when it introduced the Model S in 2012 ― Don Cheadle, Steven Spielberg and Jon Favreau were among the car's early adopters.
German carmakers, accustomed to holding the status and technological high ground, have been particularly aggressive about developing electric cars that can compete with Tesla.
Mercedes revealed in September that it is developing a luxury electric sedan with a 300-mile range, and BMW is reportedly developing a new model for its electric "i" division that would compete with the Model S. Audi, meanwhile, displayed its electric etron Quattro concept SUV at the Los Angeles Auto show in November, a future competitor for Tesla's Model X.
Despite the competition from far larger and better-funded companies, Tesla for now has time on its side. By the time Porsche's Mission E and Audi's etron Quattro reach the market, Tesla's Model X will have been in full production for several years and the $35,000 Model 3, Tesla's bid to build an affordable electric sedan, will be in the wings.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has pledged to build 500,00 cars annually by 2020. Tesla delivered a record 11,603 vehicles and posted a $230 million loss for the third quarter of 2015.