According to CAR magazine, Porsche is busy working on an electric, four-wheel drive sedan to rival the Tesla Model S. It reports the car will have four wheel torque vectoring and four wheel steering, giving it the kind of handling Porsche is known for and its owners expect.
The Porsche 717 is based on the chassis being developed for the next generation Porsche Panamera and Bentley Continental. CAR’s staff artist imagines a car that looks a lot like the current Panamera, which means a heavy dose of that iconic Porsche 911 front end and sloping rear.
Rather than utilizing a flat battery pack that forms the floor of the car, sources say Porsche will employ a more complex battery design that packs most of the battery cells into the car’s central tunnel and the bulkheads between the front and rear compartments. More will reside in the side sills, beneath the floor or tucked into other body crevices. There will be 108 battery modules in total.
Range for the 717 (which has also been called the Pajun) is targeted at 300 miles if the driver uses the accelerator (we can’t very well call it a gas pedal any more, can we?) judiciously. But the car will have acceleration to rival that of the Tesla Model S P85D if the driver prefers to stomp on it and go. Driver selectable power levels of 400, 500 and 600 horsepower are rumored.
Porsche and other premium car makers don’t want to just build “me too” versions of the Model S, of course. They want to show that they are capable of orginal thinking just as much as Elon Musk’s team of nerds. Porsche and its corporate siblings Audi and Volkswagen are working with US specialist supplier Quantumspace to develop a new induction charge process designed to match the Tesla SuperCharger in duration but exceed it in convenience.
It must give Musk and his gang great pleasure to see the likes of Porsche dropping everything to cobble together an answer to the Model S. But one has to wonder: if Porsche is targeting a 2015 spec Tesla, won’t their extra special, all electric wundercar be hopelessly outdated by the time it gets here? After all, Tesla just figured out a way to add 50% more range to the Roadster, a car that isn’t even in production any more. It is unlikely Musk and company will be resting comfortably on their laurels for the next 4 years.
There is a big diffence between hitting a target and hitting one that is constantly moving.