We don’t normally cover manufacturer news at Build Race Party. But every so often a car company designs something really special. In this case, it’s Porsche making a run after Tesla. Porsche is introducing its first all-electrically powered four-seat sports car in the brand’s history. The concept car combines is most definitely Porsche but is combined with the first 800-volt drive system.
Here are the basics. Four doors and four single seats, over 600 hp (440 kW) system power and over 500 km driving range. All-wheel drive and all-wheel steering, zero to 100 km/h acceleration in under 3.5 seconds and a charging time of around 15 minutes to reach an 80 per cent charge of electrical energy. Instruments are operated by eye-tracking and gesture control, some even via holograms – and the displays automatically adjust to the driver’s position.
The drive system is based around two permanent magnet synchronous motors (PMSM) – similar to those used in this year’s Le Mans victor, the 919 hybrid. Together the two motors produce over 600 hp, and propel the Mission E to a speed of 100 km/h in less than 3.5 seconds and to 200 km/h in under twelve seconds. Porsche put this out about the system that Im not sure I fully understand, “unlike today’s electric drive systems, they can develop their full power even after multiple accelerations at short intervals.”
Porsche says the AWD system is a “need-based all-wheel drive system with Porsche Torque Vectoring – which automatically distributes torque to the individual wheels – transfers the drive system’s power to the road, and all-wheel steering gives precise, sporty steering in the desired direction.” Apparently the E Mission isn’t as fast as a Telsa but Porsche is saying the E Mission will lap the Nürburgring Nordschleife is under the eight-minute mark which is pretty fast.
The Mission E can travel over 500 km on one battery charge, and it can be charged with enough energy for around 400 km more driving range in about fifteen minutes. This is because Porsche is also introducing innovative 800-volt technology for the first time. The system runs at twice the voltage of current systems which operate at 400 volts. So its sort of make believe because there are no 800 volt charges but Porsche says the system offers multiple advantages: shorter charging times and lower weight, because lighter, smaller gage copper cables are sufficient for energy transport.
A moveable body segment on the front left wing in front of the driver’s door gives access to the charging port for the innovative “Porsche Turbo Charging” system. Via the 800-volt port, the battery can be charged to approximately 80 per cent of its capacity in around 15 minutes – a record time for electric vehicles. Again using a charging station that doesn’t exist yet. As an alternative, the technology platform can be connected to a conventional 400-volt charging station, or it can be replenished at home in the garage via convenient inductive charging by simply parking over a coil embedded in the floor of the garage from which the energy is transferred without cables to a coil on the car’s underbody.
The battery mounted in the car’s underbody similar to a Tesla, which runs the whole length between the front and rear axles. This distributes its weight to the two drive axles uniformly, resulting in exceptionally good balance. In addition, it makes the sports car’s centre of gravity extremely low. There’s still no mention of weight but the battery filled 4 door has to be heavy even with the body’s mix of aluminium, steel and carbon fibre reinforced polymer. The wheels are made of carbon and are fitted with wide tyres mounted on 21-inch wheels in front and 22-inch wheels at the rear.
The virtual exterior mirrors help to make the car look pretty futuristic. The lower corners of the windscreen show the images of the outside cameras that are mounted in the front wings. The benefits: the driver gets a better view of images and the surroundings, and safety information can also be actively displayed there.
The design does look pretty awesome and features two counter-opening doors with no B-pillar support. Instead of the classic door mirror, inconspicuous cameras are mounted on the sides that contribute to the car’s exceptional aerodynamics. A three-dimensional “PORSCHE” badge illuminated from inside extends across the entire width in a black glass element.
The interior of the Mission E looks incredible. The all-electric drive concept made it possible to fully reinterpret the interior. The lack of a transmission tunnel, for instance, opens up space and gives a lighter and more airy atmosphere to the entire interior. Race bucket seats served as inspiration for the four single seats. The seat design is lightweight, but also supportive like a racist according to Porsche.
A new world based on an innovative display and control concept opens up before the driver. The filigree driver’s display is curved, low-profile and free-standing. The instrument cluster shows five round instruments – they can be recognized as Porsche, but they are displayed virtually in OLED technology, i.e. by organic light-emitting diodes.
The round instruments are organized according to the driver-relevant themes of Connected Car, Performance, Drive, Energy and Sport Chrono. An eye-tracking system detects, via camera, which instrument the driver is viewing. The driver can then activate the menu of the instrument in focus by pushing a button on the steering wheel and navigate in it – which also involves an interplay of eye-tracking and manual activation.
The display follows the seat position and body attitude of the driver in what is known as a parallax effect. If the driver sits lower, higher or leans to one side, the 3D display of the round instruments reacts and moves with the driver. This eliminates situations in which the steering wheel blocks the driver’s view of certain key information, for instance. All relevant information such as vehicle speed is always within the driver’s line of sight.
The Mission E also has some weird stuff pulled right from social media. “A camera mounted in the rear-view mirror recognizes the driver’s good mood and shows it as an emoticon in the round instrument. The fun factor can be saved together with individual information such as the route or speed, and it can be shared with friends via a social media link.”
The concept vehicle can also be configured externally from a tablet via Porsche Car Connect. Using “Over the Air and Remote Services” the driver can essentially change the functional content of the vehicle overnight. A simple update via the integrated high-speed data module is all it takes to implement the travel guide or additional functions for the chassis, engine or infotainment system. The driver can use a smartphone or tablet to start updates conveniently from the Porsche Connect Store.
Furthermore, Porsche Connect enables direct contact to a Porsche Centre for remote diagnostics or to schedule appointments. Another function of integrated Remote Services is the digital key, which can be sent via the Porsche Connect Portal. It not only lets the owner open the doors, but also other persons authorized by the owner such as friends or family. After successful authentication, the key can be used within a specific time frame and defined location.