Jaguar, Audi, Porsche and BMW: their EV futures

Electric saloons and crossovers were big – seriously big – news at the Geneva Motor Show.

Jaguar had the big production car story with the I-Pace. Which is perhaps why Audi felt the need to send a couple of prototypes of its rival e-tron shuttling around the showground, wrapped in disguise graphics.

Porsche showed a reasonably realistic vision of its second Mission E model, and told Top Gear a lot more detail about the first Mission E, which launches next year.

VW showed a big saloon concept, the ID Vizzion, which will go into production in 2021. By which time VW will have have tacked on a steering wheel.

BMW, meanwhile, had nothing to show but announced it will put into production the i4. That’s the real-world version of last autumn’s Vision i Dynamics concept car, itself a realistic derivation of the fantastical BMW 100th anniversary concept. (OK, time to ‘fess up, we called it the i5 when we first wrote about it.)

Aston Martin unveiled the Lagonda too. While we know they’re serious about Lagonda and about EVs, this particular concept is pretty far-fetched. It’s designed around solid-state batteries, a technology that’s not even in the prototype stage yet. At least not in vehicles, only in the lab.

Hyundai had a production electric Kona, available with two battery sizes, the biggest able to store 64kWh for 300-odd miles of real-world range. There was even a SsangYong EV, a crossover due in 2019. As with the Kona, there’s a similar version with an engine, the new Korando due later this year.

Among carmakers building both electric and combustion cars, there is one striking difference. Do they scratch-design the EVs, or do they share platforms with their conventional petrol, diesel and hybrid cars?

BMW has a platform-sharing approach. The i4 uses an adapted version of the architecture that serves everything from the next-gen 3 Series to the upcoming X7, including the current 5 and 7 Series. I asked BMW boss Harald Krüger why they don’t have a dedicated electric platform, which is what Jaguar, Audi, Mercedes, Porsche – and of course Tesla – have settled on.

The reason, he said, is flexibility. “Who can predict future electric market share?” So if EVs stiff out, BMW won’t be over-committed. Not only that, but also the opposite, says Krüger. “Even if EV grows fast we can react fast and build them on the existing combustion-car production lines. If you have dedicated EVs, what do you do with the old combustion-car plants?”

OK, but what if building a dedicated EV platform results in a better EV? Krüger simply tells me to look at the i4 concept, and asks if I see any problem with the looks, performance or range.

Porsche says electric cars would be additional sales, not substitutes, like when people buy a Cayenne as well as, not instead of, a 911

But Audi’s R&D chief, Peter Mertens disagrees. “The e-tron has an architecture called PPE, or Premium Platform Electric. It’s dedicated to electric and won’t be used for combustion cars or even plug-in hybrids. We have a Chinese wall between the two. They are so different as to proportions, packaging, weight distribution.”

Which is all very well, but until 2016 Mertens had the same R&D role at Volvo. And there he was responsible for the CMA platform, which sits under the new XC40. That one was designed to accommodate a full-EV version.

Jaguar has seized the advantages of a bespoke EV platform. The I-Pace’s proportions are radically different from the other Jag SUVs. Jaguar design chief Ian Callum likens it to the shift in sports cars from front to mid engines.

Absent a bulky engine at the front, its design pushes the driver forward, allowing more cabin space, and the long wheelbase leaves room for a bigger battery. Compare that with the long-bonnet BMW Vision i Dynamics.

What about the lack of flexibility and extra risk BMW’s Krüger talks of? The Jaguar is built under contract by Magna in Austria, so to an extent Jaguar has off-loaded the risk to Magna. It’s Magna who makes the E-Pace, too, as well as two BMWs and the Mercedes G-Class, so it manages to be a pretty flexible shop.

But Audi’s Mertens acknowledges the risk that BMW’s Krüger is talking about. “Yes, it does give us less flexibility in production. We have made a bold commitment.” The e-tron is to be made in a re-fitted Audi factory in Brussels. Mertens says Audi expects 15 per cent of its cars will be full-electric by 2025.

Porsche is pretty solidly committed too. That’s an understatement. It is investing €6 billion (£5.5bn) on electric R&D and production and the world’s highest-power charger network. Those things will zap up a Mission E from zero to 80 per cent charge in an astonishing 15 minutes.

Porsche has found space in its historic Zuffenhausen plant to install a dedicated new production line for the Mission E. I asked Porsche’s Sales and Marketing chief Detlev von Platen about his sales expectation. “There have been thousands of studies into the takeup of EVs and they have got thousands of answers. But €6 billion says we will be bold.”

That Mission E production line is geared for 20,000 cars a year, including other versions like the Cross Turismo, shown as a concept in Geneva. For reference, Porsche sold 250,000 cars and crossovers last year. Von Platen says the electric cars would be additional not substitutes, like when people buy a Cayenne as well as, not instead of, a 911.

Porsche is also developing leasing schemes where an owner pays a monthly fee and can swap between several Porsche models. That means if an EV wouldn’t work for, say, a holiday to a remote place, they would swap into a Cayenne or Panamera for the occasion.

Porsche’s R&D chief Michael Steiner says the Mission E uses a dedicated Porsche platform. The battery has cut-outs in the footwells so the passengers sit lower than other electric cars, to get a low roof line and the centre of gravity right down. Odd then that they jacked it up for the Mission E Cross Turismo concept, but the first production Mission E will be low as a snake’s belly.

Steiner confirms that Porsche is additionally working on the PPE platform with Audi. That’s the one used by the Audi e-tron, and its battery is a simple sandwich shape.

So Porsche will launch a second full-electric line. There will be the Mission E family, and, later a whole other electric crossover lineup on the PPE platform. That’s another part of the €6bn then. Will it be too similar to the Audi? “No-one questions that the Macan is a Porsche, even though it is related to an Audi.”

What does Steiner think of the possibility of a flexible platform that would also allow petrol versions? “You would have to compromise. You would have to make room for the engine, and for batteries.”

Those things are very different shapes. He says with solid-state batteries it would be easier, because those batteries might be half the size and weight of lithium ion. But even so, “Porsche does not like compromise.” Tell that to BMW then…


Distinct: 2d Technology Porsche Panamera Prototype Driven

2nd Generation Porsche Panamera Prototype Side Profile


It’s far the primary car to construct upon the Porsche-advanced MSB architecture
Shares a number of components with the imminent Porsche Challenge E
A five-seater version might be presented at a later level
Porsche Panamera
Porsche Panamera
1.37 croresOn Street Rate (Mumbai)
E book Test Pressure
The camouflage may want to fool you, but the nextGeneration Porsche Panamera is completely new – and on a Venture. Whilst the previous model changed into a standalone car, this one can be the technicalbasis for some of upcoming Volkswagen Organization uppertop rate automobiles. Internally known asKind 971, or G2, It’s miles the first vehicle that builds upon the Porsche-developed MSB structure. MSB stands for Modularer Popular-Baukasten. We applaud the fact that Porsche identifies a front-engine, rear-wheel Power layout as “Fashionable.” It’s going to underpin the following-gen Bentley Continental family,the next Bentley Mulsanne, the compact Bentley Velocity Six, and a possible -door version of the Panamera – for starters. And it Stocks some of additives with the upcoming, completely electric PorscheTask E, internally known as J1.

Bentley Velocity Six
(Bentley Speed Six)

The scale of the new Panamera remain virtually equal to the outgoing model, however the proportionshave been transformed – and rather stepped forward. The windshield is greater steeply raked, and the roofline above the rear passengers is lower by means of a full 20 millimetres – yet rear headroom, at minus3 mm, is truely unchanged. The side home windows lose their upwards kink and now look extra just like the 911’s. The wheelbase is elongated by 30 mm, and the boot grows appreciably.

2nd Era Porsche Panamera Prototype the front
(The car Stocks a number of additives with the imminent, absolutely electric Porsche Task E)

the new Panamera’s front and rear fascia are sharper and greater angular than before, and the LED rear lightsnevertheless hidden below cover at the checking out prototypes – are narrow and square. Up the front, there are stages of ultramodern LED lightsadditionally nonetheless hidden underneath hide. The Faster model is truely differentiated with large and greater aggressive decrease front air intakes. You could also inform the models aside via their exhaust tips: The 4S model gets four round tailpipes, theRapid sports activities 4 square ones; the imminent entrylevel Panamera could have two oval exhausts.

second Technology Porsche Panamera Prototype aspect Profile
(The 4S version gets 4 round tailpipes)

That is the lineup: There might be the bottom Panamera 4 with a singleRapid V6 (approximately 350bhp), the Panamera 4S with a twinRapid V6 (440bhp), and the Panamera Faster with a twinRapid V8 (550bhp). The Panamera 4 Diesel will get a V6 TDI (approximately 340bhp), and the 4S Diesel will come with a twin-turbocharged V8 TDI (420bhp). Down the road, there might be a plug-in hybrid, and an ultraeffective, 600+ bhp Turbo S that builds on the Faster engine. The 4S, Faster and 4S Diesel will come to marketplace first.

2nd Era Porsche Panamera Prototype Rear (It’s far the primary automobile that builds upon the Porsche-advanced MSB structure)

All models are geared up with a ZF-provided 8Pace dualtake hold of computerized gearbox, affectionately known as Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe through its creators. We truely decide on to name it PDK! That is the most effective transmission that will be used on any of the VW Group‘s MSBautomobiles, and It’s miles designed to contain an electric powered motor on hybrid models. The 6-Paceguide, to be had at the predecessor till 2014, become ordered in such low numbers that the concept of asubstitute become swiftly discarded.

The soundtrack of the brand new engines is stunning; the V8 diesel sounds like a petroleum engine, and the V6 twinTurbo petrol engine can provide the most marvelous exhaust crackle. In good Porsche style, Vmax is ungoverned, and whilst the feature four-dot headlights seem to your rear-view mirror, you mustflow out of the way hastily.

The chassis and structure are all-new as nicely. The MSB architecture is designed for rear- and all-wheelPower programs; at launch, the Panamera will be presented solely with an all-wheel Pressure machinethat may operate from a one hundred:0 to a 20:eighty rear/the front torque distribution. The Panamera stands on 19″, 20″ or 21″ rims; there may be a preference of steel or carbon-ceramic brakes, and the stability control device capabilities numerous modes. It can additionally be switched off absolutely. A rear-wheel guidance system is optional, and it makes a huge difference: the turning circle shrinks, there ismore agility on twisty roads and high-quality highVelocity balance. while exact with this 4WS machine, the Panamera is upgraded with a forty eight-volt electric architecture.

2nd Generation Porsche Panamera Prototype
(Porsche has managed to hold the burden underneath the extent of the predecessor)

An progressive software program connects all chassis systems, which include the 3-chamber air suspension, and adjusts The automobile to Street situations and driving force enter completely. Whetheron flat asphalt, in slim curves or on tertiary gravel roads, the Panamera sucked up the miles and swallowed the floor with tremendous ease.

Even though there are “a hundred kilos worth of substance delivered,” Porsche has managed to keep the load below the level of the predecessor. The outer pores and skin is crafted from aluminium, the B-pillars are manufactured from metal – the first-class solution to satisfy faceteffect law in western markets.

The user interface has been entirely rethought: The sea of buttons that adorned the first Era has beenreplaced with contacttouchy surfaces and a limited quantity of toggle switches. the brand newautomobile is all about easy surfaces: The principal air vent can be closed totally, the cup-holders want to be driven down into the console; whilst now not in use, and their backside rises to shut the floor, likeinside the VW Phaeton. some of functions may be accessed most effective through the big, principal12.three-inch principal display screen – and the display amazed us with ultrareduced gray-on-black pix. In front of the driving force, there’s an analogue tachometer, flanked by two 7-inch TFT presentations.

2nd Generation Porsche Panamera Prototype Cabin
(A five-seater version will be offered at a later stage)

While the Panamera is an exceedingly aggressive driver‘s car, it additionally pampers the driving forcewith an available suite of assistance structuresconsisting of a stop-and-cross capability for trafficjams, a night vision system, and superior connectivity that integrates a lot of your telephonefunctionalities. And the rear is as spacious as before, with pronounced rear bucket seats and a excessivecentre console. A five-seater model could be offered at a later stage.

Porsche is inside the final stages of readying the second one-gen Panamera for manufacturing; weanticipate to see it available on the market via early 2017. On the subject of driving dynamics, That isthe brand new apex predator in the luxurious phase. Quicker, higher looking and outfitted with 5bf1289bdb38b4a57d54c435c7e4aa1c electronics, this car offers a completely unique combination of sportiness, luxurious and area. Down the road, there can be a station wagon version as well – and the upcoming long-wheelbase model may want to nicely be the ultimate limousine – with a purpose tooperate within the realm of the Flying Spur from stablemate Bentley.

Porsche Founds Digitization Competence Centre; Will cognizance on future of Mobility


Porsche digital GmbH will focus on mobility solutions for the future
can be based totally out of Ludwigsburg, Germany
Will serve as an interface between Porsche and innovators
we’d already advised you approximately Porsche looking to construct extra hybrid powertrains for itsvariety of automobiles however the verticals preserve on growing. Taking any other step in this path, Porsche’s Supervisory Board has accepted the founding of Porsche virtual GmbH, a business enterprise to be able to in addition increase Porsche because the leading provider of virtual mobility answers within the premium car segment.

based in Ludwigsburg, Germany, the inspiration of the subsidiary is part of a main innovation offensive at Porsche. A concerted effort is being made at the enterprise to set up innovation management throughoutdepartments as well as systematically cataloguing and selling thoughts. “Innovation does not emerge by using itself. it’s miles all about growing ideas systematically,” says Porsche CEO Blume. “Porsche has many ideas. The task is to think across functional divisions, use outside assets and take concrete actionvery hastilyspecifically inside the virtual environment,” added Blume.

main Porsche digital GmbH is dealing with director Thilo Koslowski who formerly worked for Gartner and istaken into consideration an professional in car, internet, and generation sectors. he’s going to overseepaintings on the organization‘s headquarters in Ludwigsburg in addition to affiliated workplaces in Berlin, Silicon Valley, and China.

“Digitization is leading to the renaissance of the car and is making it the important element of our digitallife-style,” says the subsidiary’s new handling director Thilo Koslowski. “we are able to create digitalconsumer stories traditional of Porsche which are charming and smartboth outside and inside theautomobile.”

The Porsche subsidiary will cooperate carefully with all departments in checking out and implementing newvalue advent models and revolutionary product offerings. most of the obligations of the digital GmbHis also the identity and assessment of traits which ensures get entry to to relevant technologies. Porsche now not simplest believes in its very own ability for innovation, but additionally its partnerships. The digital GmbH considers itself to be an interface between Porsche and innovators round the arena.