In its bold debut in the electric car market, Porsche threw an aggressive Deutsch left-hook at the California-based Tesla model S with its conformation of the Mission E concept. As with any concept, the images that Porsche presented don’t necessarily promise the production of a new age, electric hyper-saloon. What it does imply, though, is Porsche’s future dedication to this ever expanding market.
Porsches “permanently excited synchronous motor” sans exhaust note should be quite a trip under heavy acceleration. The AWD system purportedly produces 590hp at the wheels, with one motor excitedly driving each axle. The near 600hp combined with the electric motors’ outstanding torque will take the car from a standstill to 100 km/h in 3.5 seconds, according to Porsche’s Stuttgart based mad scientists. Provided that you use an iota of the cars potential, the system will power the car for up to 500km – almost identical to the highest reported ranges from the Model S. Traditional cable-charging is one option, while inductive charging provides a useful substitute for the cable and a way to avoid dirtying those precious hands of yours. Some type of complicated Porsche physics and engineering can also provide an 80% charge in only 15 minutes, one of the more important achievements that the Mission E project brings to the table.
Being a Porsche, the driving dynamics should be top notch. Much like the Model S, battery pack placement will provide a low center of gravity, and the dual motors, along with some good German engineering, should provide well balanced weight distribution. A carbon Fiber monocoque will eliminate pesky B-pillars and suicide doors will take place of traditionally hinged doors. No announcement of chassis design was made, but with over fifty years of obsessive 911 perfection backing it, the Mission E’s chassis and suspension setup should be one to make Ferdinand smile.
New systems that Porsche hopes to employ point toward technological advancement over the coming years. Eye-tracking capabilities and gesture control are two of these new implementations that will hopefully be refined by 2020. A well rounded gesture control system would seek to decrease distracted driving and allow for system management via hand gestures, keeping drivers eyes on the road. How four Italians – or otherwise expressive individuals – will manage to carry a conversation is something that Porsche will hopefully investigate in the years leading up to its release of the Mission E.
With the Mission E concept Porsche has gone to great lengths to combine essential design elements of their past with their current hyper-modern approach to car design. The Mission E concept stands only 1300mm tall – a subtle similarity that its shares with its sibling, the 1964 911. This homage is combined with a front fascia that draws heavily from their famed 918 Spyder. Altogether the design team at Porsche has put together a seriously menacing package aimed at taking down any luxury-performance automobile that steps in its way.
The interesting bit.
The role that the Mission E concept will play in the future of the automobile is no-doubt an interesting one. Though Porsche offers some promising additions to electric car technology, the Mission E will likely be priced astronomically. What this concept – and Porsche’s announcement – offers, therefore, is not the promise of an accessible, performance oriented substitute to the Model S, but rather, an indication for the further development of electric car technology. Together, the Model S and Mission E show us that the future may hold some exciting replacements to our beloved internal combustion engine.
Neither car, however, addresses the elephant in the room. How are we going to create a sustainable method of energy acquisition? At the moment, electric cars simply outsource pollution so their drivers don’t have to personally combust fuel – depending on the source of their electricity – or dispose of their own nasty Li-ion batteries. The current lineup of electric cars that the automotive world has to offer strike me as nothing more than an exhibition of impressive engineering. Though they are more efficient in their consumption of energy than their high octane cousins, there is still a long road ahead before we discover a method that will adequately replace the internal combustion engine. That being said, Porsche’s announcement shows a promising future in the world of the performance automobile, while offering yet another step towards eliminating fossil fuel dependency. Hopefully competition will drive further progress in the industry.