This story was updated 4/17/18. It will be continually updated as we learn more.
Porsche stunned the world two years ago with the debut of its all-electric Mission E sedan concept, later promising it'd go into production in 2020. The spy photos seen here provide an early look at a Mission E prototype testing in public near Porsche's development center in Weissach, Germany.
Here's everything we know about this incredibly exciting car.
It's Not An Electric Panamera
Yes, Porsche already sells a sedan, the Panamera, but it's not just modifying that car to create the Mission E. Instead, the Mission E will ride on its own bespoke platform, internally called J1, with its lithium-ion battery making up the floorpan between the its two axles, just as on a Tesla.
This platform will also underpin Audi Sport's first EV, the upcoming e-Tron GT four-door. Bentley's first EV will also ride on the J1 platform and there's a rumor that Lamborghini is working on an electric car based off the Mission E, but we'll believe that when we see it.
There Will Be Model Variants
Porsche doesn't just make one 911, and the same will be true for the Mission E. with Porsche boss Oliver Blume who confirmed that the Mission E will likely follow Porsche's model preexisting hierarchy—that means you can expect a Mission E S, or a Mission E GTS. Maybe not a Mission E Turbo, though, since it won't actually have turbos.
Automobile Magazine got to drive and reported that the Mission E will be initially offered with three power outputs 402 hp, 536 hp, and 670 hp. Like a Tesla Model S, the Mission E will have electric motors at the front and rear axles for all-wheel drive, but Porsche might eventually sell an entry-level rear-drive version.
It's Got a Clever Drivetrain
The Mission E concept offers 605 hp from its all-electric drivetrain, which consists of two permanent=magnet synchronous motors at each axle. These are the same sort of motors used in the three-time-Le-Mans-winning 919 LMP1 hybrid, and can recover heat energy from braking. With this setup, Porsche promises that the Mission E concept hits 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, 124 mph in under 12, and that it'll run a sub-8:00 lap at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
The Mission E will likely get four-wheel steering and torque vectoring as well. Porsche boss Oliver Blume promised in 2015 that the production Mission E would drive like a true Porsche. Typically, that means good things.
It'll Be Priced Like a Panamera
that the Mission E will start at around the same price as a Panamera. In the US, the base Panamera starts at $85,000 and prices climb up to nearly $190,000 for the most expensive variant, the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo. Blume also said that the Mission E supposed to sit between the Panamera and the 911 within the Porsche range.
For reference, a base 911 Carrera starts at $91,100 in the US, while the Mission E's most obvious rival, the Tesla Model S 75D starts at $74,500.
It'll Offer 800-Volt Fast Charging
At its Supercharger stations, Tesla uses 480-volt chargers that can provide its cars with around 170 miles of driving range in 30 minutes. Porsche is working on an 800-volt system that can provide around 250 miles of range in just 15 minutes. Of course, these 800-volt chargers won't be plentiful, so the Mission E will be able to be charged on a 400-volt system or a typical household plug.
Porsche didn't specify the size of the Mission E's battery pack, but it did say that the concept offers 310 miles of driving range. That said, it's worth noting that European and US EV-range testing is different, so we don't yet know exactly how the Mission E will stack up against the Tesla Model S.
, Porsche Cars North America CEO Klaus Zellmer said that the company will build a network of 500 fast chargers for the US. The chargers will be installed at Porsche dealers and other highway locations across the country.
The Production Car Will Look Like the Concept
The Mission E concept combined futuristic looks with classic Porsche proportions to stunning effect, and thankfully the production car will too. Oliver Blume told Car magazine that the production car is "very close to what you saw two years ago at Frankfurt. It will be exciting but a bit different from the concept."
It'll Be the First of Many Electric Porsches
The Mission E's platform is scalable, and Porsche is reportedly already working on a smaller version of the car. At the Geneva Motor Show last month, Porsche showed off the striking Mission E Cross Turismo concept, a lifted wagon that shows off what's possible with this platform.
Porsche also announced that it will invest $8 billion by 2022 in electrification, a large part of which will go towards developing the Mission E and cars based on its platform.
We should look at the Mission E as a preview of what's to come for Porsche. While the 911 will always have a flat-six behind its rear axle, it's entirely possible that future generations of the Panamera, Macan, and Cayenne might be electric only. The Mission E is Porsche's first foray into all-electric cars, but it won't be its last.
It'll Be On Sale By 2020
Barring any delays, the Mission E should go on sale sometime before the end of 2019 as a 2020 model year car. We wouldn't be surprised to see it debut in production form at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2019, the same place the concept debuted back in 2015.
The Mission E will break new ground for Porsche, and while that's scary, it's also incredibly exciting. We can't wait to drive it and see what the future holds for one of our favorite automakers.