IN CONVERSATION WITH OLIVER BLUME: CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF PORSCHE AG
If Porsche serves as an indicator, this might be closing curtains for fossil fuels as we know it
DIGITALISATION, CONNECTIVITY, ELECTROMOBILITY. WHAT WILL THE FUTURE BRING? AND HOW WILL THESE MEGATRENDS CHANGE COMPANIES? PORSCHE CHAIRMAN OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD, OLIVER BLUME, TALKS ABOUT STRATEGY 2025 AND THE BRAND’S FUTURE IDENTITY.
MR BLUME, LET’S LOOK INTO OUR CRYSTAL BALL FOR A MOMENT. WHEN WILL WE SEE THE LAST PORSCHE WITH A COMBUSTION ENGINE?
I would venture to predict that, by 2030, the sportiest Porsche will have an electric drive. Who knows – maybe by then even our iconic sports car, the 911 will be electric.
DOES THIS MEAN THAT YOU HAVE ALREADY DECIDED TO LEAVE BEHIND CONVENTIONAL DRIVE CONCEPTS COMPLETELY?
On the contrary! It would be absurd to think that we could do without the combustion engine entirely, in the foreseeable future. But, equally, we cannot miss the opportunity to invest heavily in electromobility. Before we leave petrol or diesel behind, the next decade will see an increase in the parallel use of combustion engines and alternative drives. A clear trend is developing, and we will deliver. I am not going to do anything hasty, however.
WOULD A DECISION TO ABANDON DIESEL ENGINES AT PORSCHE BE HASTY?
At Porsche, diesel engines have traditionally taken a back seat. Diesel’s share among our vehicles worldwide is currently 14 per cent. All the same, there’s no reason to suddenly abandon diesel. If we rushed into dropping diesel, we would not be able to entirely make up the difference with petrol and hybrid engines.
There are many markets (where) 80 per cent of customers buy a diesel car. That is why a mixture of combustion engines, hybrids, and electric vehicles is the right strategic response from Porsche for about the next ten years.
WHY CAN THE TRANSITION TO ELECTROMOBILITY NOT HAPPEN FASTER?
There are technical and structural reasons for it, but also purely economic ones. To begin
with, the everyday usability of electric cars needs to continue to improve – particularly in terms of range and charging time. There is also quite a bit to be done when it comes to infrastructure. The pan-European highpower charging network IONITY by Porsche, Audi, BMW, Daimler and Ford is now charting a course towards the establishment of the most powerful fast-charging network for electric vehicles in Europe. But even this can only be one part of a larger solution. The second reason for the delay is connected to doubts regarding whether the current electricity mix is better for the climate than combustion engines. Thirdly, people often fail to realise the Herculean task faced by our industry, which is, after all, the backbone of our economy and our welfare state.
INCREASINGLY STRICT EMISSION REGULATIONS WITHIN THE EU, WHICH WILL MEAN THAT NEW CARS IN 2030 WILL HAVE TO HAVE 30 PER CENT LOWER EMISSIONS THAN THOSE IN 2021, WILL FORCE YOU TO CONTINUE TO INVEST A LOT OF MONEY IN EXISTING TECHNOLOGIES AND THEIR ADVANCEMENT.
Investments across the entire industry are enormous. The Volkswagen Group, to which Porsche belongs, is ramping up its investments in new, electric-drive models to 20 billion euros by 2030. By 2025, the Group’s brands expect to put more than 80 new car models with e-motors on the market, including 50 pure e-cars and 30 plug-in hybrids. Porsche alone will invest more than six billion euros in plug-in hybrids and purely electric vehicle over the next five years. For a company of our size, that is a considerable expenditure. At Porsche’s headquarters in Zuffenhausen, we are spending a billion euros on building a new plant for electric vehicles. This is probably the most ambitious and risky project we have ever undertaken. A factory within the factory with 1,200 new jobs.
“OUR CUSTOMERS’ DEMANDS FOR INDIVIDUAL MOBILITY ARE
CHANGING CONSIDERABLY. IT, THEREFORE, MAKES SENSE FOR
US TO AIM TO BE A LEADING PROVIDER OF DIGITAL MOBILITY SERVICES IN THE PREMIUM SECTOR OF AUTOMOBILE