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April 20, 2017

Porsche eyes electrification for power, emissions

Porsche reportedly is looking to expand its range of electric powered vehicles to add power and adapt to Chinese emissions restrictions that are expected to become the world's toughest.

Porsche reportedly is looking to expand its range of electric powered vehicles to add power and adapt to Chinese emissions restrictions that are expected to become the world’s toughest.

Additional battery powered models could join a new sports car based on Porsche’s Mission E concept, which is due in 2019, division chief Oliver Blume told Bloomberg in an interview at the Shanghai show. The shift could also include more plug in hybrids beyond variants of the Cayenne sport utility vehicle and four-door Panamera coupe, as the automaker sees the acceleration capabilities of electric motors reinforcing its appeal.

“It’s more than just the need to comply with rules,” Blume told Bloomberg. “We find the technology as such interesting, as electric cars allow a very sporty driving experience, which fits well with the core value of our brand.”

In Shanghai, Porsche displayed a plug-in hybrid version of its recently redesigned Panamera which will be the most powerful version. The combination of power and efficiency is especially key for Porsch to win customers in China, its largest market. The government published draft rules in September that would push auto manufacturers to produce more electric models as a way of reducing air pollution. 

Porsche generates the highest profit margins at Volkswagen, and the unit’s earnings are key to financing the group’s development of electric car and automated driving technologies while absorbing EUR22.6bn (US$24bn) in damages from its emissions-cheating scandal, Bloomberg noted. 

The Porsche display in Shanghai also included a long wheelbase, 330hp Panamera, a vehicle designed specifically to meet local buyers’ preferences for bigger cars. 

“This model underlines how important the Chinese market is to us,” Blume told Bloomberg.

The Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid boasts 680 total horsepower and will be sold in China exclusively in long wheelbase form, dubbed the Executive. The model can travel about 50km (30 miles) on electric power.

Porsche’s first-quarter Chinese sales jumped 10% year on year to 18,126 cars, outpacing a 4% increase to 12,718 vehicles in the US, the report added.

Global deliveries gained 7% to a record 59,689 cars. The manufacturer is forecasting slightly higher vehicle sales and revenue for 2017, with operating profit excluding currency effects to about match last year’s level. 

First-quarter earnings development was “positive,” Blume said, declining to elaborate before Volkswagen publishes detailed figures for the period in May.

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