Porsche doubles down on EV strategy
The next five years will see more change in the car industry than the last 50. So says Porsche’s North America boss, Klaus Zellmer. However, Kellmer also confirmed that change will be slowest to come to Porsche’s iconic 911 model. The 911 will be the very last Porsche to go electric.
Zellmer’s comments came during an interview with business outlet Bloomberg in which he confirmed that Porsche is fully committed to its electric future. “We are at the beginning of a transition phase in the car industry, but also for Porsche, to switch over to battery electric cars fully,” reckons Zellmer. He says Porsche remains on track for at least half of its cars sold in 2025 to be plug-in, including pure electric and hybrid.
But Zellmer emphasised Porsche has no intention of neglecting what he called Porsche’s more traditional customers by dropping combustion sports cars in the near term. “It will take time for customers to accept electric sports cars,” he explains, “if we don’t give them the time, if we just stop offering certain options, they will not forgive us.”
Zellmer reckons Porsche is already proving how it can combine the push for cutting edge models like the all-electric Taycan with products that serve more traditional customers. “Take manual transmissions,” he says, “ there’s an intense debate within the Porsche family because it does not make sense to drive a manual any longer. Double clutch is faster, it consumes less, it’s more durable. But still two thirds of GT3 customers choose manual. Why?
Because they want to be engaged. We have to respect that. So, we are one of the few manufacturers still producing manual transmissions.”
It’s that approach that will see the 911 hold out while other Porsches go electric. Zellmer gave the audience a broad brush insight into Porsche’s EV plans. “Next is the Cross Tourismo,” he says, talking about the upcoming variant of the Taycan, “that will come next year. Then down the road is the Macan. That’s going to change over to battery electric in 2022 or 2023. That will be the biggest step towards electromobility for us in terms of volume. After that we’ll see. Many people ask about the 911, that’s the core of the brand. That car deserves to be last in line.”
For the record, Zellmer owns a 1997 993 Turbo, but says, “there is no car that has taken my breath away as much as the Taycan. Battery electric technology in the form that we have embedded it into our car is truly breathtaking. It has Porsche DNA all over.” However, he also says that in future it won’t be the car itself that is the differentiating factor for customers.
“You’re going to see that zero to 60mph and top speed will be irrelevant going forward. Five years from now, “ he says, “a car going from zero to 60 in less than three seconds will be nothing to write home about. So where do you differentiate in luxury? The customer experience – the experience when you buy the car, when you have a problem, when you service it, when you replace it – that will be more important than the product itself, especially for a premium brand.” So there you have it. Future Porsches will be about the experience, not the car. Unless, of course, the car is a 911.