Tesla revolutionized the electric car market in 2012 with the launch of the Model S super-sedan. The Model S offers tech, performance and status, but is that enough to fend off the likes of the car world’s most clinical marque, Porsche?
Now that mainstream automakers have had time to perfect their wares, the market space Tesla once owned outright is about to become hotly contested. While some electric vehicles won’t compete head-to-head with Tesla products, the Porsche Mission E concept will, at a price that could make Tesla customers turn coat.
SOME REAL COMPETITION FOR TESLA
Exclusivity and a host of cutting-edge technical features have defined the Model S. Visit the Model S configurator today and you can select the base model 75D at a starting price of just over $60,000 without a single option.
That’s a far cry from $100,000, but when you consider the car’s average selling price of $95,000 — probably the result of nearly all customers selecting the upgraded 100D and P100D trim levels — Porsche’s strategy begins to make sense.
The Porsche Mission E concept is planned to retail for between $80,000 and $90,000. While it can’t quite achieve the ludicrous speed launch time of 2.5 seconds to 60 mph, 3.5 isn’t bad, and the Porsche will eventually match the Tesla for top speed.
As for range, perhaps the more important statistic than quickness for an electric car, the Porsche Mission E outstrips the Tesla by about 20 miles, with a total range of 310 miles on a full charge. Customers will be able to enjoy that full range more often, too, thanks to quick charging that allows the car’s battery to reach 80 percent of its full charge in just 15 minutes.
While the starting price places the Porsche Mission E squarely toe-to-toe with the Model S, Porsche also has a cozy spot for it in its lineup. The new car will bridge the gap between the 911 and executive express Panamera, offering four-seat convenience in a smaller package than the largest sedan from Stuttgart.
Porsche has outfitted the Mission E with a vast selection of exciting features. These include standard lightweight high-strength glass, a brand-new design for accessing the cabin that sees front and rear doors open toward the corners of the vehicle, and cameras to replace its side mirrors.
Still not impressed? How about an in-car computer that uses eye tracking technology to anticipate your requests? Look at a button and hit the “select” button on the steering wheel to use it.
PAST AND FUTURE
One thing the Mission E has that Tesla can’t claim is a long lineage of beautiful cars to borrow styling cues from. The Model S is not an ugly car, but it’s not beautiful, either. The Mission E uses flowing lines that make it clearly a Porsche product, and more attractive than the Tesla.
Volkswagen group, which owns Porsche, sees the Mission E as a pioneer of its new product portfolio, which will include electric versions of each model in its lineup, so if Tesla thinks this is a one-and-done situation, they’ve got another thing coming.
Scott Huntington is an automotive writer from Harrisburg PA. Check out his blog Off The Throttle, or follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington
Photo Credit: Porsche