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PCNA President and CEO says 50% of Porsches will be plug-ins by 2025

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Article and photo by Damon Lowney

In a wide-ranging 25-minute interview today at the Los Angeles International Auto Show, Porsche Cars North America President and CEO Klaus Zellmer and Tech Crunch’s Kirsten Korosec spoke about the future of Porsche. A key figure given by Zellmer was that 50% of Porsche’s new-car volume will be plug-in by 2025. Whether that figure is regarding plug-in hybrids and/or plug-in electric vehicles was not mentioned.

Following the all-new Porsche Taycan, Porsche’s next EV will be based on the Macan SUV, though an internal combustion engine (ICE) equipped Macan will co-exist with an EV version in the next generation. The new Macan will have design cues from the Taycan, Zellmer says, and he thinks the adoption of EVs over ICE vehicles won’t happen in the next five years, but more likely in the next 10 years.

When Korosec asked when battery technology reaches a point where it offers more performance than an internal combustion engine and how that affects Porsche’s strategy, Zellmer responded with a quote from Ferry Porsche: “The last car ever built will be a sports car.” He explained what this means in the current era by relating the quote to sail boats. Though sail boats have long been obsolete, there is still a market for high-end sailing yachts. Zellmer foresees there will always be an ICE-equipped Porsche, even in a world dominated by EVs.

Though Porsche has positioned itself as a company focused on driving engagement, there will be a time when its vehicles will have autonomous capabilities. Zellmer says initial adaptations of autonomous technologies will likely happen in the next five years or so in geo-fenced areas. A geo-fenced area will limit a car’s autonomous capabilities a defined geographic area. The steps to autonomous functions in a Porsche will be incremental so that the company has its bases covered regarding the safety of such systems.

Zellmer also admitted Porsche will not be a pioneer in autonomous vehicle technology, and used an analogy to make his point. Though Porsche was not a pioneer of cupholders, customers will now find cup holders in each new Porsche model.

Ending the interview, Korosec and Zellmer briefly covered Porsche’s partnership with Boeing to explore a vertical take-off and landing vehicle. Zellmer says that urban areas may require a third dimension to get from point A to point B, and that Porsche’s customers may find a flying car, or “flying object,” as Zellmer put it, interesting or to their liking. At this point, a 1/3-scale model of the vehicle is already testing, with a full-scale model currently being built, Zellmer says.

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