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Porsche Ponders EVs

Electrification likely to start with SUVs

Sports cars and SUVs, plus the Panamera—that's what Porsche stands for today, and what it does really well. But what about tomorrow, when new mobility requirements and tougher emissions laws redefine the pleasure of driving and reassess the meaningfulness of performance? "We are checking our strategy almost on a daily basis," answers Oliver Blume, Porsche's young and fearless new CEO.

"For the simple reason that electrification still carries a substantial weight penalty, sports cars will hold on to classic propulsion solutions a little longer than other vehicle types", says Blume. "But even the 911 must eventually adjust," he adds. Electric Porsches are coming. The fact that the proposed mid-engined 960 supercar, powered by a brand-new flat-eight, has apparently dropped out Porsche's informal top ten 'to do' list in favor of a smaller version of the gorgeous Mission E four-door coupé concept, known internally as Pajun E, shows how seriously Porsche is taking pure EVs.

Blume is understandably reluctant to discuss Pajun E, but admits the architecture underpinning Mission E, codenamed J1, is scalable. This complex and unique low-floor EV hardware could be developed in two directions: Made larger to create a potentially game-changing, totally silent Bentley Mulsanne replacement; and smaller to take on EVs coming from BMW (iNext, formerly known as i5 or i6) and Mercedes (EQE, a three-box EV positioned between C- and E-Class).

Porsche is also toying with the idea of adding a third, smaller SUV to complement the hot-selling—and profitable—Cayenne and Macan. The original idea was to base the car off Audi Q3, but planners are now looking at a multi-functional proposal paired with either the still tentative Audi Q4 crossover or the confirmed Volkswagen CUVe.

While the CUVe is a pure EV, the Q4 would offer Porsche the choice of conventional internal combustion engine and hybrid, as well as pure electric power, for its baby SUV. In either case, the plan is to create a compact yet sporty crossover for use in mushrooming megacities.