It seems like we encounter a “Tesla Killer” about once a week. If the headlines don’t bury the electric car maker outright, they hint of a new EV that could at least shake the public’s fascination with the Model S sedan or challenge models expected years down the road. Looking back, the comparisons have ranged from off-target (the BMW i3) to preposterous (the Cadillac ELR).
An all-electric Porsche, on the other hand, would introduce something we concede could legitimately challenge Tesla in performance and range. The questions are when it would arrive and how much such a car would cost.
Electric Porsche rumors
The latest rumors of a “Tesla battler” come from old Deutschland, where Auto Motor und Sport dished of a possible pure electric Porsche nicknamed the Pajun (a combination of “Panamera” and “Junior”) that would come on the market in 2018 or 2019. The publication says Porsche executives are confident battery technology would allow for a range of 350 km to 400 km, the high end of which is equivalent to 250 miles.
That type of range is superior to any electric vehicle on the market save the Model S with the 85 kWh battery pack ($71,070 to $105,670). Using the Panamera plug-in S E-Hybrid as a comparison, there is similar performance on the table with 416 combined horsepower to the 380 horsepower in the P85 ($82,570), while the P85D ($105,670) throttles nearly every vehicle in sight with 691 horses. There is no similarity in electric range: A Panamera S E-Hybrid gets about 20 miles per charge before kicking in with the gas engine.
Cost and range concerns
Two other Porsche hybrid models — the Macan S E-Hybrid and 918 Spyder supercar — share a similar range with the Panamera plug-in model, so Porsche and parent company Audi would need significantly more juice to even approach the Tesla standard. Three to four years down the road, matching current Model S benchmarks may not be all that impressive.
Even if a so-called Pajun could cover 250 miles on a single charge, Porsche is on the record in December 2014 saying these milestones do not make sense for a car as focused on performance as the Panamera. In other words, it would need to cross the 300-mile mark (and then some) to consider something along the lines of a pure electric Porsche.
The other key element is pricing. Tesla does not get many complaints about its cars being overpriced despite the steep sticker buyers pay. Model S offers value for its price point on today’s market. What would an electric Panamera run consumers? With only the Panamera S E-Hybrid ($96,100) to go on, one would wager a pure electric Pajun would be priced much higher and represent a different segment than the one in which Tesla currently resides.
There is no question an electric Porsche would be a hot commodity, but the timing and price would have to be right. After all, a lot can change in three years. Raise you hand if you thought about buying a Tesla on this date in 2012.