Mid-sized SUV to go pure-electric in 2021
PORSCHE’S ELECTRIFYING PLAN FOR THE MACAN
Porsche is doubling down on its commitment to electric drive technologies with the announcement that the next-generation Macan will be a pure battery-electric vehicle. Porsche isn’t revealing a specific launch date but says the new model will go on sale “at the start of the next decade”.
Indications previously given by Porsche regarding its electrification plans suggest the battery Macan will be delivered to customers in late 2021. If you’re wondering how Porsche can bring a radical new pure-electric model to market so fast, there are a number of factors at play. For starters, Porsche is hurling money at its electrification drive on an unprecedented scale, with six billion euros to be spent by 2022.
A large chunk of that will be injected into Porsche’s Leipzig production facility to transform it into a cutting edge EV factory. The other major factor is technology sharing with Audi. The electric Macan is being built on the new PPE (Premium Platform Electric) architecture currently in co-development with Audi.
“If we had to cope with the challenges ahead on our own, the costs would be around 30 per cent higher,” says Oliver Blume, CEO of Porsche AG. Meanwhile, Rupert Stadler, Blume’s counterpart at Audi reckons, “PPE is a key piece of the future for us. Features, zero emissions and profitability make an ideal connection thanks to a cooperation that has never been seen before in the auto industry. One plus one equals three in this case.”
At the end of 2018, Porsche said 300 of its employees and 550 at Audi were working on PPE, with those numbers set to rise yet further. Of course, the electric Macan is just one part of Porsche’s EV masterplan, which will kick off later this year with the unveiling of the Taycan, Porsche’s first pure-electric model.
“By 2025, 50% of all new Porsche vehicles could have an electric drive system,” says Blume. “Nevertheless, over the next ten years we will focus on a drive mix consisting of even further optimised petrol engines, plug-in hybrid models, and purely electrically operated sports cars. Our aim is to take a pioneering role in technology, and for this reason we will continue to consistently align the company with the mobility of the future.”
Intriguingly, the use of the PPE architecture means the electric Macan won’t be a simple rebadge and reskin of Audi’s all-electric e-tron SUV. What’s more, it will sport the radical new 800-volt charging technology that’s due to debut on the Taycan. Capable of twice the charging throughput of Tesla’s fastest existing Supercharger technology, the 800-volt system is claimed to enable an 80 per cent charge of the Taycan’s battery in just 15 minutes, thereby allowing the battery-electric model to rival conventional combustion cars in terms of re-fuelling practicality.
Indeed, Porsche sees rapid charging as key to accelerating the update of battery-electric models. “In order for electro-mobility to succeed, more and more factors have to be in sync. These especially include attractive products with long ranges, short charging times, and high customer value. If we can offer this, the market will accelerate,” says Blume. “The success of our plug-in-hybrids is boosting our self-confidence.
Our hybrid models are finding a ready market with our customers.” As for other details like pricing, performance, motor and battery specification, it’s all speculation for now. But odds are the electric Macan will have a range well over 300 miles and have performance that will make even the most powerful current combustion Macan look leisurely.
If you’re wondering which model will get the battery-electric treatment after the Macan, the smart money is on the 718 Cayster twins. By Porsche’s normal product cycle, the 718 would be set for replacement with a new model based on the latest Type-992 911 later this year. Instead, Porsche is expected to string the current model out for a few more years before shifting its entry-level sports coupe and roadster pairing to battery-electric power some time around 2023. That’s about the same time you can expect the first 911 Hybrid model to appear. Momentous times, indeed.
The Macan will be going all electric by late 2021. That is to say, there will be an all-electric version. Conventional combustion powered versions will still be available, Porsche recognising that all-electric isn’t suitable for all its markets.