2020 porsche mission e

Stuttgart’s answer to the Tesla Model S
by Jonathan Lopez, on December 6, 2017, 14:00

While considered laughable just a decade or two ago, the idea of a high-performance electric vehicle is now widely accepted in even the most traditional of speed circles. As the list of battery-motivated monster machines continues to grow, Porsche is getting in on the action with its up-and-coming Mission E. As a follow-up to hybrid superstars like the 918 Spyder and the Panamera, the Mission E is slated to become Stuttgart’s very first all-electric vehicle. Porsche teased the new model with a concept at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, and now, we’re getting our very first shots of the production iteration in the wild. Captured out and about doing some real-world testing just outside Porsche’s factory in Weissach, the spy shots reveal just how close the Mission E is to becoming a reality on public roads. Expect specs that either match or beat the Tesla Model S, with several hundred miles of range and a blistering 0-to-60 mph time, not to mention a luxurious cabin space and Nurburgring-tested handling.

While full details are still forthcoming, there’s plenty of info floating around out there to go on in terms of speculation. Regardless, it’s sure to be top-shelf and quite fast, but the question remains – will it be enough to take out the Tesla? Is this finally the Model S killer we’ve been waiting for? We’re still a few years away from the release of the Mission E, so we’ll have to wait, but in the meantime, check out our speculative review.

Updated 12/06/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming Porsche Mission E out for a new testing session, this time during cold, winter conditions somewhere in Sweden.

Spy Shots

December 6, 2017 - Porsche Mission E caught testing during cold, winter conditions

October 26, 2017 - Porsche Mission E caught testing at Nurburgring

Exterior

Right away, these recent spy shots get us very excited for the Mission E. Although this test mule is obviously clad in a bit of camo dress-up, the general shape and prominent lines are clear to see, and in our opinion, it’s gonna be a looker. Wide and low are the predominant traits, with curvy hips and a gently sloping roofline that begs for a second look. The headlights are large and triangular, while the front lip is all hard lines and angles.

The aesthetic is a fusion of several influences drawn from across the Porsche line-up. Obviously, the 911 is a major guiding light, as evidenced by that sloping front end and voluptuous rear end. The Panamera can be seen in the profile and roofline, especially with the way the rear doors fall into the rear fender flares. Finally, the hard aero bits are taken from the 918 Spyder, giving it a futuristic tech vibe as well.

Note: Porsche 918 Spyder pictured top, Porsche 911 pictured bottom left, Porsche Panamera pictured bottom right.

Also, never mind those exhaust pipes you see sticking out the rear end – those are most definitely fake, and this thing is most definitely all electric. Nice try, Porsche.

Compared to the concept version of the Mission E, this test mule looks way more toned down. Whereas the concept is like a spaceship that just landed from the planet Zyklox, the test mule looks like it could naturally fall into Porsche’s lineup completely unchanged. And while we would have preferred the crazy look of the concept, we understand why it’s likely not to happen. Just look at it –

That said, it’s likely there will be future opportunities for the design study to influence Porsche’s production vehicles when it comes to all-electrics. It’s believed the Mission E will give way to a variety of different body styles, including a compact sedan and possibly even a wagon or hatchback. Perhaps an all-electric halo car is in the cards as well. Either way, look for the Mission E’s styling influence to appear again.

Getting back to the car at hand, we expect some form of adaptive aerodynamics to help the Mission E stick on track and glide through the air on the road. For example, we wouldn’t be surprised if Porsche added a rear wing similar to that found on the Panamera, rising to create more downforce when needed, and lowering for less drag when cruising.

LED’s will be used for the headlights, with a quartet of forward-facing projectors similar to 918 Spyder. There should also be plenty of carbon fiber elements, with composites applied for both utility (aero enhancements) and aesthetic purposes. It’s possible Porsche will even equip carbon fiber wheels, although it’s much more likely it’ll use alloy units on lower trim levels.

Interior

Note: Porsche Mission E Concept pictured here.

When Porsche revealed the Mission E Concept, we were delighted to find a futuristic, elegant interior design waiting inside the cabin. Sporting a sleek, horizontal layout, plus almost no hard inputs (no buttons or toggles beyond a few on the steering wheel and a drive mode selector on the center console), we think this is definitely a step in the right direction for Porsche. Add in the tech-heavy collection of digital screens stretching across the width of the vehicle, form-fitting sport seats with large side bolsters, and attractive three-spoke steering wheel, and we’re eager to see how it all translates into a production model.

And while we’re crossing our fingers the Mission E keeps its sweet interior spec, we’re think the more realistic expectation is that it’ll get an interior similar to the Panamera.

Note: Porsche Panamera interior pictured here.

As such, the Mission E will likely get a large center console with a variety of flat-panel buttons and a shifter. A large touchscreen will sit horizontally in the dash, while a second digital display will sit behind the multi-function, three-spoke steering wheel. And although the look is a bit more cluttered and less interesting than the concept, we’d still expect high-end materials like Alcantara and leather, plus brushed aluminum and similar trim. A high-end stereo and LED lighting will round it out.

The doors will also open in the traditional fashion, rather than with rear-hinged suicide doors in back and no B-pillar like the concept. Too bad.

Finally, while the concept shows a four-seat layout, we think it’s much more likely the production version will be a five-seater. After all, the Tesla Model S sits five passengers, as does the recently released Panamera Sport Turismo. Sportier iterations might ditch the middle seat, though.

Drivetrain

Note: Porsche Mission E powertrain pictured here.

Like the Tesla Model S, the Porsche Mission E is likely to get multiple options when it comes to the battery packs. Multiple drive modes are a given, with either extra power in Sport mode or extra range in Eco mode, both of which will be selectable from the center console.

Porsche says the Mission E will offer more than 310 miles of range per charge, but it’s likely that figure is based on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC). As such, it’s possible the Mission E will get something closer to 250 miles per charge when evaluated using the U.S. system (EPA).

Either way, Porsche contends the Mission E will do the 0-to-60 mph sprint in roughly 3.5 seconds. That’s slower than the top-trim Model S, which does the benchmark in 2.5 seconds, although the base-trim Model S does it in 4.2 seconds, so we could see Porsche offering different battery packs to beat each of those figures.

Also, Porsche says the Mission E Concept promises a 0-to-124 mph time under 12 seconds, which is similar to supercars like the McLaren 650S.

Putting the juice to the pavement will be four individual permanent magnet synchronous electric motors, one per wheel. Peak output comes 600 horses, give or take. The electric motors will be similar to what Porsche equips in the LMP1 919 hybrid race car that took the win at Le Mans three times over, so that’s exciting.

What’s more, Porsche is reporting it’s developing a new 800-volt charging system. Slated to come to the U.S. via soon-to-be-built Porsche infrastructure, the automaker is already busying itself creating similar stations in Germany. This is important as it addresses two things critical components to the success of the Mission E – the long charge times that are holding back more widespread adoption of the EV platform, plus Tesla’s competing Supercharger network infrastructure. Tesla’s system charges at 480 volts, so the 800-volt system could be seen as a direct assault on the California brand’s established assets. Of course, the Mission E should also be able to charge from a normal wall socket, albeit at a significantly slower pace. However, if you can find a Porsche socket, you’ll get a charging rate of 350-kW, which can give the Mission E an 80-percent charge in just 15 minutes. And that’s great news for anyone looking forward to seeing more EVs on the road.

Chassis And Handling

Under the skin, the Porsche Mission E is rumored to utilize a platform dubbed J1, which was designed specifically for all-electric models. That’s right – rather than rehashing the MSB platform that underpins the Panamera, the Mission E will get its own bones tailored to all-electric performance. What’s more, the J1 platform is rumored to provide the bones for Audi’s all-electric SUV, the e-Tron quattro, plus Lamborghini might even use it for its own all-electric car.

Either way, we fully expect the Mission E to be one helluva performer on the track. With go-faster tech like advanced torque vectoring capabilities and four-wheel steering, the Mission E will be able to manage its all-electric heft with aplomb. Complementing this will be the positioning of the requisite lithium-ion batter pack, which will be mounted under the floor and between the axles for optimum weight distribution.

All told, we fully expect the Mission E to be the EV of choice when it comes to four-door performance, especially against the straight-line squirt of the Tesla Model S. Porsche even says it expects the Mission E to circle the Nurburgring in less than 8 minutes.

Prices

It’s highly likely the Porsche Mission E will see a release date some time in 2019, with a preemptive debut later in 2018.

It’s expected to slot in at around $85,000, about $17,000 more than the base price for the Tesla Model S. That said, it’ll likely have the performance and range to make up for the price range. What’s more, top trim levels will likely see pricing approaching the $200,000 mark, especially when checking off the high-end options.

Competition

Tesla Model S

As if it wasn’t painfully obvious already, the Porsche Mission E’s primary competition will come from the Tesla Model S. As if to reiterate this point, the recent spy images even show a convoy of Tesla vehicles behind the test mule, so it’s quite obvious where Porsche’s benchmark is coming from. And rightfully so – the Model S essentially upended the world of EVs when it debuted 2012, offering sexy styling, a sumptuous interior, impressive range, and even more impressive performance. Now, you can get an S with supercar levels of performance, and the Mission E will need to bring it’s A-game if it hopes to offer a challenge.

Read our full review on the 2017 Tesla Model S.

Conclusion

All told, we’re chomping at the bit to learn more about the Porsche Mission E. The prospect of finally getting an honest-to-goodness Tesla Model S fighter is enticing, to say the least. Add in the fact it’s coming from one of the most respected sports car makers in the world, and things are looking up for EV performance enthusiasts.

Make no mistake – this isn’t just a Panamera with a bigger battery. The Mission E looks like it’ll gets its own platform, styling, and equipment to take on the venerable Tesla sedan. And when automakers compete at a level like this, consumers win.

  • Leave it
    • * Will it have the range to compete?
    • * Will you need to pay out the nose for any real performance?
    • * Still several years away, and the EV market isn’t resting on its laurels

References

Porsche Mission E Concept

Read our full review on the Porsche Mission E Concept.

Porsche Panamera

Read our full review on the 2018 Porsche Panamera.

Porsche 918 Spyder

Read our full review on the 2014 Porsche 918 Spyder.

Update History

Updated 10/26/2017 The Porsche Mission E was caught playing on the Nurburgring looking near production ready. Check out the spy shots section below to see it in all its glory!!!!!!

Competing Vehicles