Porsche To Invest Over 1 Billion Euros To Launch First Electric Car By 2020

Today Porsche announced that it will bring its Tesla-challenging Mission E to market by “the end of the decade.”

The production version will be based on a 600-horsepower, all-wheel-drive electric concept unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September.

That car with four-wheel steering, and boundary expanding technologies was immediately praised for its beauty as well as top-drawer Nurburgring-worthy specifications, and it now has the green light for production.

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“With Mission E, we are making a clear statement about the future of the brand. Even in a greatly changing motoring world,” said Wolfgang Porsche, the brand’s supervisory board chairmen. “Porsche will maintain its front-row position with this fascinating sports car.”

SEE ALSO: Porsche Puts Tesla on Notice With Mission E Concept

The Mission E concept boasts a 0-62 mph time of under 3.5 seconds, and range on the European NEDC cycle around 310 miles. According to Porsche, a specially developed – and doubly powerful compared to today’s quickest chargers – 800-volt charging system will allow the vehicle to replenish its battery 80 percent in just 15 minutes.

Also possible are 400-volt charging, as well as 208-240-volt level two, and even level one charging, via inductive technology.

According to Porsche, approximately 700 million euros ($760 million) will be invested to building a new assembly plant and paint shop, with another 300 million euros ($326 million) being invested for development costs.

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The Mission E is considered to be a challenger to the widely-acclaimed Tesla Model S, which currently has no rivals in the luxury all-electric car segment, though another VW Group division, Audi, is also developing an all-electric crossover to vye against the Model X.

As for Porsche, among plug-in competitors, it has until now only offered a Panamera S E-Hybrid that loosely compares to the Model S, but true of the deeply profitable brand, Porsche’s design criteria is to not alienate its owner base.

This means it will likely seek to develop the Mission E into a truly competitive electric car – assuming the name sticks through to 2020 – that will be street and track capable.

“We are resolutely taking on the challenge of electric mobility. Even with solely battery-powered sports cars, Porsche is remaining true to its philosophy and offering our customers the sportiest and technologically most sophisticated model in this market segment,” said Chairman of the Porsche Executive Board, Dr. Oliver Blume.

Blume commented also on the symbolic importance of the Mission E project with Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen as a production site, Baden-Württemberg as a center of technology “and of the whole German automotive industry,” said the automaker.

With a projected timeline four years hence, Porsche is aiming at a moving target, and Tesla fans may say Tesla will have surpassed the present Mision E’s specifications at a far lower price. By then also, Tesla’s own supercar – a follow-up to its Roadster – may also be here or well underway.

This may be true, but with battery costs coming down, technology accelerating, and Porsche’s standards in engineering, it is a sure bet that it knows it will have to be competitive by 2020 standards.

Given its history of producing driver’s cars, and all the forward-looking statements, it might be premature for anyone to speculate that though a little late to the EV party, it will be disappointing when it gets here.

SEE ALSO: Why Europe Has Passed the US As Number One In Plug-in Electrified Vehicles

Actually, Porsche is exultant even now as it embarks on the Mission E project.

“A day to celebrate! Yes, we did it! We brought Mission E to Zuffenhausen and Weissach where the future has tradition. The workers’ side made the employer’s side an offer that they couldn’t refuse,” said Uwe Hück, Chairman of the Central Works Council and Deputy Chairman of the Porsche AG Supervisory Board. “This heralds the dawn of a new age in Zuffenhausen and Weissach. Digitalization will be growing up with us. And Factory 4.0 will be a major challenge for the workforce, trade union and employer. We will be taking new approaches but not giving up on the social aspects. With today’s decision, Porsche is driving flat out with no speed restrictions into the automotive and industrial future.”

We’ll keep you posted as more developments occur.