Tesla is the leader when it comes to building a network of high-power charging stations for its customers, but now Porsche says it is working on a similar idea for its Mission E all-wheel-drive electric sports car. Porsche boss Oliver Blume tells Top Gear: “We are in contact with other manufacturers and suppliers around the world to build a fast-charging network. Everybody has the same need. It sounds easy but getting the details agreed is hard. We already have the clear technical concept. It can even work with Teslas, with an adapter.”
At the Paris auto show this week, Porsche said progress on the Mission E is happening on schedule. The car reportedly will have 600 horsepower and be capable of dashing to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds. “The design will be very close to the concept,” said Blume. “We are working on typical Porsche features — dynamics, electric range. We’re meeting our targets from Frankfurt.”
One of those targets is the ability to add about 250 miles of range in as little as 15 minutes. That will represent 80% of the Mission E’s stated range of 310 miles on a full battery charge. To make that happen will require a charger with at least 150 kW of power. That is more than Tesla’s most powerful Supercharger, which tops out at 135 kW.
Blume says he is reaching out to other manufacturers to see if they are interested in working on fast charger infrastructure. In Paris, Mercedes boss Dieter Zetsche, owner of the most luxuriant mustache in the auto business, acknowledged, “We are in talks with them, but the next question is do we co-operate on building power stations?” That suggests that Mercedes may have an interest in working with Porsche on the technical standards needed for such high-power chargers but may be less interested in investing in the infrastructure.
One would think that if Tesla can afford a worldwide network of Superchargers, Mercedes Benz could, but on the other hand, no major car company owns a string of gas stations. Perhaps Mercedes just doesn’t think it is up to it to make sure the drivers of its electric cars have a place to recharge them. In any event, agreeing on standards represents a major step forward.
In addition to his remarks about the high-power charging for the Mission E, Blume also told the press in Paris that his company has no immediate plans to produce a self-driving version of the Mission E. He does agree the car should have some some autonomous features so the driver can read a newspaper in traffic or have the car park itself. But when it comes to fully autonomous driving, a Porsche is meant to be driven. End of story.