Frankfurt motor show: Porsche’s plug-in concept

New battery system potentially cuts time spent at charging points to just 15 minutes

It's only Monday night, but Porsche may just have already given us the star of the Frankfurt motor show, and it has nothing to do with 0-100km/h times. Mind you, the Mission E concept car certainly won't be slow.

Porsche claims that its twin electric motors, developed from those used in the 919 Hybrid Le Mans race cars, develop a full 600hp, and the car can sprint from 0-100kmh in less than 3.5 seconds. Porsche claims it will hit 200kmh in less than 12 seconds.

Porsche says that its twin-engine layout has benefits compared to both existing petrol and electric drivetrains – fast bursts of acceleration can be carried out without ‘resting’ the system inbetween (a dig at rival Tesla?) while the engines can also ‘torque vector’ – deliver the power to the wheels, or even the individual wheel, that can best deploy it.

Time-saving at charging points


That sort of high-performance speed is not the raison d'etre of the Mission E. It's real ground breaking potential is in charging speed. Porsche has fitted the car's batteries with an 800-volt charging system; that's twice the voltage capacity of a conventional, current electric car. Thus equipped, the German sports car maker claims that the Mission E can be charged to 80 per cent battery capacity from a fast-charging point in just 15-minutes. Most rivals take at least twice that time for an 80 per cent charge.

That 80 per cent will also get you some proper range. Porsche claims that the Mission E has a 500km one-charge touring range, so an 80 per cent top up would get you 400km, theoretically. There’s also an inductive charging system built into the car, so that you can charge up at home without wires, simply by parking over a built-in charging spot. That system also future-proof’s Porsche’s battery tech against the potential for in-road inductive charging, research for which is being carried out in several countries.

Hints of Panamera

On the outside, the low-slung four-door shape seems to give some sort of a hint as to the styling direction for Porsche's future saloon models, both the replacement for the current Panamera and the much-touted new 'Pajun' rival for the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz CLS. Inside, there is a pared-back cabin, with no transmission tunnel so as to have more space. The instruments are all provides by OLED panels (as in a hi-def television) and the instrument pack features eye-monitoring technology, so that it knows which part of the dashboard you're looking at, and connects the steering wheel buttons to that part of the screen, removing several layers of menu selections for the driver.

The central touch screen also features touch-free ‘gesture control.’ Porsche is also touting an Apple-style ‘Porsche Store’ which would allow over-the-air updates to the control, menus, layouts and even the chassis and powertrain functions.

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe

Neil Briscoe, a contributor to The Irish Times, specialises in motoring