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Geneva Motor Show 2017: Porsche mulling electromobility push




Porsche has a strong opportunity to become one of the leading premium and performance brands.

IHS Markit Perspective:

  • Significance: Porsche is looking at a major push in its electromobility programme which could lead to a full electric vehicle (EV) version of its best-selling Macan and which could lead to the company's famous 911 sports car range being offered as hybrids, according to the company's board member for sales.
  • Implications: Porsche is uniquely placed to accelerate a push into electromobility for a high performance and high-end premium brand because of its split of sports cars and SUV models in its range, its position in the global market in terms of sales numbers and the high prices of its vehicles.
  • Outlook: The company has recently announced an ultra-high performance PHEV variant of the Panamera, called the Panamera Turbo S E-hybrid, which is offered alongside the existing plug-in, which shows the potential for electric powertrains to supplement ICE performance, while a fully electric Macan would be a rival for Jaguar's forthcoming I-Pace. Accelerating its electromobility programme would be an intelligent move and would be able to leverage the wider VW Group's electromobility technology offering.

Porsche is considering introducing a full electric vehicle (EV) variant of the Macan to its model range as well as looking at the prospect of making the vast majority of the 911 range hybrids, as part of the wider push towards electromobility by its parent group Volkswagen (VW). In an interview with Reuters, Porsche's board member for sales and marketing Detlev von Platen said that the company was looking at expanding its efforts further in the field of EVs and hybrids beyond the flagship Mission E high performance EV that is due on the market by 2020. Speaking about Porsche's plans for future mobility von Platen said, "We have other ideas beyond the Mission E." He also said that the top-selling Macan "is of course a model line that we can imagine" for electrification. Von Platen also said he could envision Porsche introducing hybrid versions of its 911 and Boxster/Cayman sports cars, with a combination of gasoline (petrol) engines and electric motors. The company recently further diversified its plug-in hybrid range with the new Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, which supplements the existing Panamera 4 E-Hybrid with the new Panamera Turbo S E-hybrid. The new model can drive between 15 and 31 miles in fully electric mode, while offering a combined ICE and electric power unit figure of 671bhp and 627 lb/ft of torque from just 1,400 rpm. This powertrain shows the performance and the efficiency benefits of combined high-performance hybrid systems, with the model being faster and significantly more efficient than the standard Panamera Turbo S.

Von Platen also commented on the prospects of the growth for the brand that has consistently set sales records in recent years, bolstered by the launch of the Macan in particular in 2014, culminating in a record sales tally of 238,000 units in 2016. The ongoing exponential increase in demand for premium cars in the US, China and Europe could push sales volumes past 300,000 units by 2020, along with further expansion and diversification of the model range. However, he also voiced his concern over there being an upper limit for Porsche volumes in order for the brand to maintain exclusivity. He added, "We are happy to grow and we want to grow but only on a very strong basis," he said. "The brand must remain exclusive."

Outlook and implications

Any strategy for Porsche to accelerate its electrification strategy beyond its commitment to the advanced, and undoubtedly very expensive Mission E high performance sedan and its existing plug-in hybrid range would be an intelligent move for the brand. It will be able to help fulfil the wider VW Group's target of 30 new full-electric vehicles by 2025 as well as being able to help Porsche present an image as a cutting-edge technology automotive brand that can leverage the performance benefits of electrification, in line with its existing brand values, as well as exploiting the benefits of lower or zero emissions and efficiency. In terms of IHS Markit's existing forecast we currently foresee Porsche introducing a plug-in variant of the next generation 911 in 2020, which we see selling around 3,000 to 4,000 units a year, or around 15%-20% of the range's combined volumes. We also have a fully-electric variant of the Macan coming on line in 2021, along with a plug-in hybrid variant. The full EV's long-term sales will reach around 10,000 units by 2026. There will also be PHEV variants of the forthcoming Macan and Cayenne coupés. However, it seems likely and feasible that more EVs and PHEVs will be added to the Porsche forecast in the short-to-medium term as the company develops its electrification strategy. The performance benefits of electric and hybrid powertrains fit in with its traditional brand values and the high price point of its cars can absorb battery cell costs more easily than some competitors. While its volume levels, and membership of the wider VW Group means it can drive supply and R&D synergies. In terms of the brand's sales volume forecast we see the brand hitting 300,000 units slightly later than its sales chief, with sales of 308,000 units in 2022.

About this article

The above article is from IHS Automotive Same-Day Analysis of automotive news, events and trends, and is a deliverable of the World Markets Automotive Service. The service averages thirty stories per day and also provides competitor and country intelligence. Get a free trial.

About The Author

Principal Analyst, IHS Automotive

Mr. Tim Urquhart is a Principal Analyst at IHS Automotive. He has nearly 10 years of experience as an automotive industry analyst.

Prior to joining the company in 2005, he gained extensive experience in the field of motorsport journalism as editor of ITV's Formula One website and British American Racing's official website, as well as writing extensively on the commercial side of the sport during his tenure as staff writer for Business F1 magazine. Having worked as an editor for JATO Dynamics on its automotive news product, he has extensive experience of the wider automotive industry. Mr. Urquhart attended the University of Leicester, Leicester, England, where he attained a Bachelor of Arts in English and Psychology. He also has a postgraduate journalism qualification from Sheffield College, Sheffield, England.​