Porsche's push into full-electric cars is not an effort to challenge Tesla's dominance in the sector. That is because the Volkswagen Group subsidiary says the U.S. EV maker's aspiration is to be a volume producer, something that is not in the premium German brand's plans. Porsche R&D boss Michael Steiner discussed that and more with Automotive News Europe Correspondent Christiaan Hetzner.
Porsche is electrifying its model range. In the interest of transparency, should the company disclose its fleet CO2 emissions figure?
There are markets where regulators assess us separately, in China for example, while in Europe we are pooled together with Volkswagen. While we keep an account internally, it doesn't make sense for individual brands such as Porsche to publish separate figures in the latter case.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has attempted to beat the Porsche Taycan electric sedan's Nurburgring lap time record with the Model S. Is Tesla a rival?
Although people like to play us off against each other, we do not consider Tesla to be a direct rival. With the Model 3, it's clear that they are more aggressively targeting the volume segment.
How far ahead is Tesla in terms of its battery technology?
Tesla employs round cells, a slightly different chemistry and another cooling concept, all of which have their specific advantages and disadvantages. In our opinion the kind of high battery capacities you might find installed in a Model S are not ideal in terms of sustainability. We believe in smaller, lighter and therefore less expensive batteries that can be recharged more quickly. It's not our aspiration to be the leader in electric range. Also, while we don't currently plan to develop another combustion engine architecture, that doesn't mean that we cannot maintain and improve models using the existing ones. That is valid for the Macan, because we cannot expect electric mobility to advance in all regions at the same pace, so we currently anticipate that in specific segments there will be a need to offer both a combustion engine and a full-electric or plug-in hybrid version in parallel. Customers and regulators will determine how long it will be necessary to maintain this.
Does that mean there will be identical-looking Macans and the only difference is that one won't have a tailpipe?
No, we will considerably differentiate them in terms of design so that it's possible to immediately identify which is which. We believe that during the transition to EVs customers want to be seen as driving electric.