Porsche doesn’t see Tesla as a rival, R&D boss explains


By combining electric powertrains with impressive performance and a modicum of convenience features, Tesla has taken aim at established luxury automakers, particularly the German quartet of Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche.

But while it is now launching electric cars of its own, Porsche does not see Tesla as a direct rival, R&D boss Michael Steiner said in an interview with Automotive News Europe.

Steiner noted that, with the Model 3, Tesla is targeting higher sales volumes than Porsche. He also said Porsche has different technological goals.

“It’s not our aspiration to be the leader in electric range,” Steiner said. Porsche plans to focus on making battery cells smaller, lighter, and able to recharge more quickly, he said.

That certainly helps rationalize the current Porsche Taycan’s maximum EPA-rated range. The Taycan Turbo is rated at 201 miles, while the Tesla Model S can achieve over 300 miles of range. The base Taycan 4S may get a higher range rating (it hasn’t been released yet), but it’s unlikely that Porsche will be able to close the gap to the Model S.

2019 Porsche Macan media drive, Mallorca, Spain, November 2018

Initially, the Taycan attracted significant interest from Tesla owners when order books opened, and the upcoming electric Porsche Macan seems fairly close to the Tesla Model Y Performance in packaging.

The current, gasoline Macan is Porsche’s bestselling model, and the automaker has said the next-generation version will be electric only.

However, Porsche is expected to continue selling the current-generation gasoline Macan alongside the electric model for some time after the latter debuts in in 2022.

Porsche has also followed Tesla’s lead in developing its own charging infrastructure, when giving stations a name close to Tesla’s Supercharger brand.

The German automaker’s Turbo Charger DC fast-charging stations can charge at up to 350 kilowatts, taking advantage of the Taycan’s 800-volt electrical architecture. Porsche has said these stations can add 100 kilometers (62 miles) of range in just five minutes.