Porsche injected new spirit into our imagination with the unveiling of the rather stunning Mission E concept, an all-electric sports saloon, during the 2015 Frankfurt Motor show just a few months past.
Since then, it has been labelled many things: Tesla Model S fighter, next-gen Panamera, or even a rethinking of the smaller prospective model, the Porsche Pajun sedan.
While clarification from Porsche as to who guessed correctly hasn’t been forthcoming in settling that debate, the Stuttgart automaker has announced it will put the Mission E into production and will be on the road by “the end of the decade.”
That is a rather vague assertion, and perhaps even not an entirely gleeful one, because the Mission E concept is very much a car (as it was seen a few months ago) of today. By 2020, the landscape of the electric car might have changed drastically, leaving the Mission E as we know it a late arrival. Fortunately, Porsche has proven it can lead the way time and time again.
By the standards of today, the Porsche Mission E’s 600-plus horsepower motor that yields a 3.5 second century sprint time and 500-plus kilometre claimed range sounds only marginally improved over the cutting edge of fast electric cars. Who knows what innovations will reshape the industry in five years time.
Perhaps, then, Porsche will look elsewhere to outclass the competition. During its unveil, it was said that the Mission E will feature an advanced battery that’s capable of a rapid charge to bring the car’s battery from depleted to 80 percent capacity in just 15 minutes.
That seems, if they pull it off, to be a very real game changer for the industry. After all, improvements in speed and power will have to reach a plateau soon - nobody needs a saloon car (electric or not ) that can reach 100k/h from standstill in sub-3.0 seconds.
The real strides in the electric car revolution would have to come from battery technology - decreasing charge times, decreasing battery degradation, increasing power retention over time, bringing down the cost of production, as well making charging stations more widespread and universally compatible to allow smooth mass adoption regardless of make and model.
The Volkswagen Group, Porsche’s parent company, is right to look toward the future of personal transport in the form of alternative energy and propulsion. It is still in the throws of a huge diesel emissions scandal that not only calls into question Volkswagen’s (as well as other manufacturers of diesel engines) transparency, but also raises concern about the viability of diesel and petrol against the increasing demands of international emissions regulation.