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New York show: Mission E to change Porsche brand
Small numbers: Porsche Cars North America president and CEO Klaus Zellmer said it is hard to determine the impact the diesel emissions scandal has had on the brand at this stage.
‘Evolutionary change’ for Porsche with production version of Mission E concept
26 March 2016
THE introduction later this decade of Porsche’s first all-electric sportscar,
based on the Mission E concept, will alter the perception of the iconic brand,
according to the company’s North American chief.
Porsche has committed to building a production version of the striking
zero-emissions four-door concept that wowed crowds at last year’s Frankfurt
motor show, and it will compete with the likes of the Tesla Model S and
potentially BMW’s yet-to-be-seen third ‘i’ model that is rumoured to be dubbed
Porsche Cars North America president and CEO Klaus Zellmer said the company is
used to people reacting negatively to any major change it proposes, and added
that the production model will feature the characteristics of a Porsche
“We have a funny feeling that whenever we change something people feel that we
are changing the brand,” he told reporters on the Porsche stand at the New York
motor show. “Whether it is from air-cooled engines to water-cooled engines,
manual transmission to automatic or double-clutch or hybrid technology.
“But yes, it is going to change the brand but I don’t think in a revolutionary
way, it has got to be evolutionary.
“We have to make sure that with the battery electric vehicle people feel the
Porsche DNA in that car and we are going to make sure of that.”
One Porsche characteristic that is unclear for the Mission E is what it will
sound like when accelerating, given its electric powertrain, but Mr Zellmer
said the company was hard at work determining how it will work.
“That is the big billion-dollar question. We are not answering that yet. We
are currently researching on what is a Porsche sound if it doesn’t come out of
the exhaust pipe, but let’s wait and see what we come up with.
“But generally speaking if you drive any electric vehicle, the sheer
performance, the power, the acceleration, that is all down the road of what
Porsche delivers. The only missing link at the moment is sound and we are
working on that.”
Mr Zellmer said the German car-maker was “not ruling out” the use of artificial
sounds for the Mission E exhaust note.
The Mission E concept uses an 800-volt drive system generating 440kW of power
and offering an electric driving range of more than 500km.
Discussing the ongoing diesel scandal plaguing the Volkswagen Group, Mr Zellmer
said the company was trying to determine the impact it has had on the
relatively small number of Porsche diesel customers in the United States.
“Any technical issue that we have with our cars is irritating to us and our
customers in terms of the impact on our sales volume. In fact the sales volume
derived from diesel engines is not really big here in the US. It’s about five
“But still we are really trying to get this right. We are working closely with
the authorities and with our customers, we are keeping them informed and we are
doing everything we can and we hope we can resolve this issue soon.”
Mr Zellmer said Porsche was committed to selling diesels in the United States
and added that customers who “really love” the German oil-burners “would be
really disappointed” if the company stopped selling them.
“The diesel engine from our customer’s pint of view is something they really
like, they really want. So let’s see how the whole technical issues with the
diesel can be resolved. We are working with the authorities very closely
together. If they can solve everything I have a lot of faith in the diesel.”
It was revealed in early November last year that about 10,000 VW Group models
powered by the 3.0-litre V6 diesel had been fitted with emissions
test-defeating software, including the 2014 VW Touareg, 2015 Porsche Cayenne
and 2016 Audi A6 Quattro, A7 Quattro, A8, A8L and Q5.
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