Pro­duc­tion ver­sion of Porsche's first pure-elec­tric car breaks cover

911 Porsche World - - News And Views -

Porsche's Mis­sion E elec­tric car has been spot­ted test­ing with its fi­nal pro­duc­tion body for the first time. Due to go on sale in 2019, Mis­sion E will not only be the first pure­elec­tric Porsche, it will also de­but rad­i­cal new au­ton­o­mous driv­ing tech­nol­ogy.

Snapped out­side Porsche's Weis­sach R&D cen­tre, Porsche has used mul­ti­ple cam­ou­flage el­e­ments in an ef­fort to ob­scure its iden­tity. But this is no Panam­era-based mule. Close in­spec­tion re­veals that this is, in­deed, the pro­duc­tion Mis­sion E body.

Look care­fully and you can see the Mis­sion E's dis­tinc­tive nose com­plete with four-point head­lights and wide open­ings up front. Along the cars flanks Porsche has used the same new-gen­er­a­tion flush-fit door han­dles also seen in the up­com­ing Type-992 911 de­vel­op­ment cars. The rake of the roofline is also dis­tinct from any Panam­era, as are the broad rear hips.

An­other tell-tale sign in­volves the glass house. The trim strip run­ning across the top of the side win­dows is un­bro­ken, in­di­cat­ing that the Mis­sion E's frame­less door glass will be mak­ing it into pro­duc­tion, though not its 'sui­cide' rear doors. The Mis­sion E con­cept's ex­treme, low-set pro­por­tions have like­wise been toned down in the tran­si­tion to pro­duc­tion. That's per­haps in­evitable given that the car will need to of­fer ex­cel­lent cabin space to ap­peal to the mass mar­ket.

Mis­sion E will be based on an all-new plat­form known as J1, de­vel­oped for broad use across the Volk­swa­gen group and de­signed ex­pressly for pure-elec­tric power. Fi­nal tech­ni­cal de­tails of the Mis­sion E are not known. How­ever, Porsche has in­di­cated cer­tain tar­gets. Over­all op­er­at­ing range will be in ex­cess of 330 miles and power will come from a pair of elec­tric mo­tors good for a to­tal sys­tem power in the re­gion of 600hp. Mis­sion E will be quick, very quick.

An­other key el­e­ment in­volves Mis­sion E's rev­o­lu­tion­ary charg­ing tech­nol­ogy. Porsche is de­vel­op­ing a new sys­tem with Ja­panese elec­tron­ics spe­cial­ist Hi­tachi.

Based around 800V tech­nol­ogy, it's said to of­fer dou­ble the en­ergy through­put of Tesla's lat­est 400V Su­per­charger tech. Porsche Chair­man Oliver Blume has gone on the record stat­ing the new charg­ing tech will al­low Mis­sion E to recharge to 80 per cent bat­tery ca­pac­ity in just 15 mins de­spite the high ca­pac­ity of its lithium-ion cells.

The fi­nal part of the Mis­sion E pack­age will ar­guably be even more con­tro­ver­sial for a Porsche than elec­tric power. Mis­sion E will ar­rive with what's known as Level 4 self­driv­ing tech­nol­ogy. That's a nod to the fivelevel regime for au­ton­o­mous cars re­cently de­fined by the US De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion. Level 1 in­volves in­di­vid­ual el­e­ments, like brak­ing or ac­cel­er­at­ing, be­ing in­ter­mit­tently con­trolled by the car, for in­stance cruise con­trol.

Level 2 re­quires at least two con­trol el­e­ments au­tonomously con­trolled at least par­tially in re­sponse to ex­ter­nal data re­gard­ing the driv­ing en­vi­ron­ment. Level 3 still re­quires a hu­man driver but ups the ante to of­fload­ing many safety-crit­i­cal driv­ing func­tions to the car along with full con­trol in cer­tain nar­rowly de­fined sce­nar­ios, such as mo­tor­way cruis­ing. Level 4, which is the tar­get for Mis­sion E, en­ables fully au­ton­o­mous driv­ing in many but not all sce­nar­ios and road con­di­tions. Level 5 refers to cars that can op­er­ate fully au­tonomously in all sce­nar­ios and have no re­quire­ment for a hu­man driver.

Given that Porsche typ­i­cally trades on of­fer­ing the most ex­cit­ing and en­gag­ing driv­ing dy­nam­ics in each seg­ment in which it com­petes, in­clud­ing with its SUV Ma­can and Cayenne models, pro­mot­ing au­ton­o­mous driv­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties may seem like an odd fit. How­ever, com­pet­ing with the likes of Tesla's Model S al­most cer­tainly de­mands that Porsche of­fers ad­vanced self-driv­ing tech­nol­ogy. It's a fea­ture Tesla is al­ready push­ing hard. The fi­nal pro­duc­tion ver­sion of Mis­sion E will likely be re­vealed in 2019 and go on sale in 2020 at around £90,000.

Not quite as low as the Mis­sion E con­cept, nev­er­the­less it’s fair to say that this is the pro­duc­tion bodyshell in dis­guise, judg­ing by the dis­tinc­tive nose. Those dummy ex­haust pipes don’t fool us! Range should be in ex­cess of 330 miles. Launch will be...

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