That Porsche intends to transform its Macan model into a battery-electric SUV comes as no surprise. It’s virtually inevitable that every new Porsche will be pure electric eventually. But the timing of the move is pretty startling. Very likely, the new all-electric Macan will be on sale by 2021. Is Porsche really going to kill the combustion Macan so soon? Or could it offer both electric and combustion models in parallel?
We’ve covered Porsche’s broader electrification plans in detail before, all six billion euros by 2022 of it. And yet the Macan EV announcement still seems awfully aggressive. Primarily, that’s because the Macan is Porsche’s biggest selling model and a veritable cash cow for the business. So, you might expect Porsche to take a conservative approach. But no, it’s doubling down on electrification.
At least, so says the official announcement. Several unofficial sources indicate Porsche is weighing up whether to keep the existing combustion Macan in product even after the new electric model goes on sale, the better to serve markets where EV uptake is slow. Perhaps Porsche itself hasn’t truly decided just how hard to push with its bold electrification strategy.
It’s not hard to imagine why Porsche may be in two minds. Having ditched diesel engines, the Macan has been struggling for appeal in several markets where CO2 emissions ratings are critical. Petrol-electric hybridisation could provide a stop-gap. But that’s a major investment that may not be viable if the end game just a few years later is pure electric.
Meanwhile, market acceptance of battery-electric cars is hardly a given. It’s on the up and up, no question. But 2021 is just around the corner and even an optimist would have doubts about the state of the charging network for EVs in most major markets. That’s especially true of the latest 800-volt technology required to unleash the Macan EV and indeed Porsche Taycan’s fastest charging mode. However you slice it, the next five years will be nervous times for Porsche as it waits to see if its battery-electric gamble is a winner.