Remember Porsche’s Mission E?
The dazzling all-electric showstopper that made its debut at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show was always expected to spawn a battery-powered production Porsche, but the hacked-up test mule recently snapped by our spy photographers suggests Porsche’s electron-burner may look radically different from the sleek form that wowed the crowds at Frankfurt.
Captured during cold-weather testing north of the Arctic Circle, what initially appears to be a Porsche-ified riff on the BMW X6 is instead a Panamera body set roughly a foot further from the ground. Blanked-off front bumper air intakes are tip-offs that there’s no internal combustion engine powering this rig, while the extra height is necessitated by the Mission E’s under-floor battery array rather than any off-roading requirements.
Add-on wheelarches close the gap between the standard Porsche Panamera panels and the tyres, but it’s not clear whether this mule previews the Mission E’s final form – after all, prototypes such as these often use whatever bodywork is big enough to cloak the truly secret stuff underneath.
ButIt’s unlikely this is a fastback EV companion to the Cayenne, the modest ground clearance a key clue. Think of it as a rival to Tesla’s Model S, rather than the Model X.
The Mission E Frankfurt concept took the form of an elegant four-door not too dissimilar to the Panamera, and with the recently-launched second-generation Panamera now boasting larger dimensions there’s the potential for the Mission E’s production counterpart to slot in beneath it.
Slightly truncated doors indicate the Mission E’s wheelbase will be shorter than the Panamera too, lending credibility to the idea of a sub-Panamera electric sedan. That said, we can’t completely discount the idea of a fastbacked Cayenne-sized SUV either – after all, corporate cousin Audi is preparing the Audi Q8 plug-in hybrid SUV ’coupe’ for market, with a near-production concept car making its global debut at the Detroit motor show.
Whatever the case may be, Porsche’s electric car won’t be niche. Porsche CEO Oliver Blume is on the record as saying the Mission E’s production variant is expected to sell in the region of 20,000 cars per year – healthy volumes for an electric vehicle, let alone one with a premium pricetag.
And if the Mission E concept is any indication, it’ll be fast on the street and fast out of the showroom. The concept boasted 440kW of power and sported a zero-to-hundred of 3.5 seconds – and could sprint to 200km/h in just 12 seconds.
All should be revealed closer to 2019, when Porsche’s first all-electric model is expected to enter production.