Porsche's first fully-electric vehicle has been unveiled.
The German brand has bucked convention for this year’s Geneva motor show and held a secret up its sleeve without even the slightest teaser beforehand.
Its first road-ready electric vehicle to join the German maker's line-up, the rugged-looking Mission E Cross Turismo, builds on the fundamentals laid by the Mission E concept revealed at the 2015 Frankfurt motor show.
But it looks completely different than any other Porsche in the line-up.
The four-door, four-seat cross-over showcases a raft of new technology including a super-fast charging 800-volt battery system and eye-tracking driver heads-up display.
Porsche is dubbing the car a ‘cross-utility vehicle’ or CUV and while not quite the electric performance car we’re waiting to see come out of Stuttgart, the Cross Turismo is positioned as a sporty lifestyle vehicle where “any ski piste can be reached with ease” while maintaining dynamic ability.
A tapered roofline connects the front to the back with a profile Porsche calls the ‘flyline’ - effectively borrowed from the Panamera Sport Turismo - and a large panoramic sunroof connects the windscreen to the tailgate. The rear is finished off with a spoiler and traditional full width light strip across the back with ‘Porsche’ lettering and special LED constructed ‘e’ that glows when the car is plugged in to charge.
Up front the design shows a low bonnet and sculpted wings inspired by the 911 with redesigned four-point DRL headlamps and new four-point LED indicator lights in ‘floating wings’.
Broader side panels house air outlets behind the front wheel arches while the addition of ‘rugged’ wheel arches, door sills and front and rear lip spoilers add to the off-road theme. Blue alloy wheels with all-terrain tyres complete the look.
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The Cross Turismo measures 3950mm long, 1990mm wide and 1420mm tall - almost the exact dimensions of its nearest rival the Tesla Model S - but adaptive air suspension can raise the electric-vehicle 50mm higher on its 20-inch alloys for increased ground clearance when the road turns rough.
Specs don’t deviate far from Porsche’s previous outline and the all-wheel drive EV is powered by two electric motors that work synchronously to produce 440kW and motivate the car to accelerate from 0-100km/h in under 3.5 seconds and 0-200km/h in under 12 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 250km/h. What’s more is that it can perform launches and top speed runs repeatedly without overheating.
Dynamic poise is supported by adaptive air suspension, all-wheel steering, torque vectoring and dynamic chassis control for active roll and lateral stabilisation as well as adding stability on rough terrain.
Porsche’s new 800-volt electric circuit can charge the car in just 15 minutes via a compatible charging point and equates to a driving range of 400km when full. It can also charge 100km range in just four minutes and be charged using a wireless induction mat, charging dock or Porsche home energy system with solar panels.
Though Porsche’s first EV doesn’t beat the Model S in a straight line, the German brand says its car is more reliable for performance and won’t turn down power after repeated launches.
“This performance is in addition to a continuous power level that is unprecedented among electric vehicles: multiple jump starts are possible in succession without loss of performance,” Porsche said.
Head of Porsche’s battery electric vehicles added further comments last week in an in-house documentary series when asked why the Mission E’s claimed 0-100km/h wasn’t as fast as the US vehicle. He also said the German car would be able to maintain top speed driving – particularly important on autobahns - without degradation of range that plagues cars like Tesla.
“But only twice – the third attempt will fail. The system is throttled," he said of the Tesla. "Porsche drivers won’t need to worry about anything like that happening. The Mission E will offer reproducible performance and a top speed which can be maintained for long periods. And that’s not all. The longitudinal and lateral dynamics of the Mission E will be typical of a Porsche and represent a real treat for any driver,” he said.
Inside the car Porsche has opted for a clean, minimalist and uncluttered approach that removes switches, buttons and dials for screens and touch inputs.
The driver gets their own instrument panel in a heads-up display system with eye-tracking monitored by cameras mounted in the rear-view mirror. The system tracks eye movement and places one of five instrument stacks – Connect, Performance, Drive, Energy and Sport Chrono – in front of the driver. The panel can be further changed using touch input controls mounted to the steering wheel.
An ultra-wide passenger display screen spread over the length of the passenger side dashboard also uses eye-tracking along with touch input for selecting media, satellite navigation, climate control settings and connectivity to communications.
Adding further displays, the window switches have been removed for touchscreens with seat adjustment and comfort settings, along with even smaller displays in the finless air vents for changing fan speed.
The four bucket-style seats are finished in black and blue leather trim and Nordic Blue anodised accents add contrast to bezels and small trims, that can all be dulled with moody indirect ambient lighting.
The rear seats also have ski port hatches built in for hauling some skis to a favourite piste, and large items can be stowed by folding the seats entirely. The boot also has a rail system with removable straps for securing loads and fitting in one of Porsche’s new e-bikes.
A new Destination App launches with the Mission E Cross Turismo and connects with the car for planning weekends trips, destination ideas, plotting routes and even selecting the chassis, music, climate control and lighting settings for certain sections.
Porsche said its Cross Turismo is ‘road-ready’ and while production is not confirmed Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said during the maker's Geneva presentation that, "In my opinion, there is a very good case for a production version soon."
Blume also added prior that a production electric vehicle would launch in 2019, following Porsche's roll-out of a network of 800-volt charging stations across Europe and North America.
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