Why Porsche is turning their back on fossil fuels and going electric

It will be the first Porsche that won't need fossil fuel, in turn promising zero emissions.

But the buyers already lining up for the company's first all electric sports car aren't necessarily interested in the benefits the upcoming Porsche Taycan brings to the environment.

At a showcase of the Mission E concept car in Sydney this week – a car that will spawn the Taycan production car, due in Australian dealerships early in 2020 - Porsche's local marketing director gave an insight into the interest building for what is a crucial car for the brand. And it's typically not people desperate to save the planet.

"It's being driven by the idea of being the first, the fact it's now an electric vehicle with typical Porsche performance, quality and design," says Toni Andreevski, who adds that being clean and green is "less relevant".

"That would make up a very small minority of potential owners."

Take a number

iPhones and Teslas seem to be the only modern products people are prepared to brave the elements for and queue overnight to own. Blame it partly on some of the brand faithful, who with Trump-esque loyalty often won't consider alternatives.

But Porsche already has a healthy database of would-be owners for the Taycan.

Dealers have been taking expressions of interest 18 months before the car arrives here; about 100 will be wined and dined in Sydney to view the Mission E concept on display in the CBD over the next two weeks.

"When we look at the sales of electric cars already in the market we're very happy with the initial interest and we expected that from our loyal customer base," said Andreevski, adding that many buyers will already have a regular Porsche in the garage.

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"That's not enough; we want to make people outside of our ecosystem know about the forthcoming Taycan."

To Tesla … or not

Tesla owners will provide a natural hunting ground for Porsche Taycan customers.

But Porsche won't be hunting them, instead letting word of mouth – and the power of the internet – bring them to the fore.

"I think they will be the target group that will naturally find us because they are so much into electric vehicles," said Andreevski.

"The bigger job will be to target internal combustion engine fans. Fans of cars that, by their nature, are loud and focus on noise, and get them to understand that this is something that could be very exciting to drive."

Andreevski says early interest in the Taycan has come from both men and women, typically those interested in new technology.

"We see some customers who are your typical GT owner who look at this and say 'that's something I'd like to have in my garage as well'," he says. "But we're also seeing a younger, tech-savvy kind of customer and also a mix of genders who are attracted to the car."

Priced to sell

Porsche Australia isn't talking pricing on the Taycan yet, instead wheeling out familiar lines about it being competitive.

"We'll need a price that's sustainable," says Andreevski. "Prospective owners need to see value in price but it's also a typical Porsche price."

Starting points

But Porsche's global CEO, Oliver Blume, says it will sit somewhere near the Panamera, which kicks off at $214,400.

Given the Tesla Model S starts at about $150K (Tesla prices fluctuate with exchange rates) it also needs to be competitive with at least some of the those variants.

So, best guesses have the Porsche Taycan pricing starting around $200K, pricing it just below the iconic 911 sports car.

Look smart

The Mission E and its Taycan production spinoff use 800V electric motors, double the voltage of current electric cars.

Acceleration will be potent, with one target to make it faster to 100km/h than the fastest Teslas – think well under four seconds - while also being able to lap tracks with pace and consistency (Tesla batteries can overheat when driven aggressively).

Spy photos of prototypes testing suggest it won't get the rear-hinged back doors and cameras as rear vision mirrors, two things that featured on the Mission E concept. Expect more traditional extras in a car that otherwise borrows much of its look from the Mission E.

Outer beauty

Despite the technology beneath the skin, it's the look most likely to sell the Taycan.

"We know design is still the number one purchase decision, whether it's an electric car or an internal combustion engine-powered vehicle," says Andreevski.

The Taycan won't be identical to the Mission E concept, but expect it borrow plenty of design cues.

Electric over diesel

Electricity is fast taking over from fossil fuels in the Porsche world.

As a result, Porsche Australia expects sales of its plug-in hybrid electric models – available in the Panamera and Cayenne – to increase. Currently around one third of Panameras are for the E-Hybrid, with rechargeable batteries for short-range all-electric driving.

The upcoming Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid will also be able to tow up to 3.5 tonnes, an important consideration in the large SUV segment.