Porsche’s iconic 911 sports car, which shaped the German brand’s luxurious appeal for decades, may soon be eclipsed by the battery-powered Taycan in terms of deliveries.
Porsche, with just over a month before the vehicle's official unveiling in September, has already amassed deposits for nearly 30,000 Taycans, and the early haul supports plans to lift annual production of the brand’s first all-electric model to 40,000 vehicles, Evercore ISI analyst Arndt Ellinghorst said Monday in a note.
With Porsche delivering 35,600 911s last year, the Taycan -- which is expected to priced between the 74,800-euro Cayenne SUV and the 97,800-euro Panamera sedan -- could zoom past the combustion-era hero to define the brand for the next generation.
Success of the Taycan is critical for parent company Volkswagen Group to boost the appeal of electric cars as it prepares for a rollout of battery-powered vehicles across all price ranges. The Taycan’s arrival could also pose a fresh challenge to Tesla’s Model S, a key vehicle for Elon Musk’s effort to make the electric-car leader profitable.
Tesla hasn’t detailed plans to overhaul its successful Model S luxury sedan that’s been on sale since 2012, betting on the Model 3 to target mass-market buyers instead. While sales have risen, the car’s lower returns have seen Tesla’s losses accelerate to cast fresh doubt on whether building and selling electric cars can be a sustainably profitable business.
Porsche has taken a page from Tesla’s playbook. Customers can register as a prospective Taycan buyer by placing a 2,500-euro ($2,785) deposit, which gets deducted from the final purchase price. To help drive uptake, Porsche is installing fast chargers at dealerships in the U.S. and Europe that in four minutes will load the Taycan’s battery with enough power to drive as far as 100 km. The car’s total range on a single charge stands at about 500 km.
Porsche set an initial production target of 20,000 vehicles per year, based on a two-shift system, but that can be expanded if needed, production chief Albrecht Reimold told reporters last year.
The company has been rapidly building up capacity in recent months. For the 1,500 new hires needed to produce the Taycan, Porsche said Monday that it has recruited nearly 1,000 so far after receiving some 32,000 applications. The training process for the electric-car assembly lasts as long as six months.