Tesla Motors might now be seen as a rival for luxury brands like BMW and Mercedes-Benz, but it was originally a rival for Porsche.
Tesla’s first production model, after all, was the Lotus Elise-based Roadster. That electric sports car may be out of production, but Porsche is reportedly considering an answer to it.
Porsche CEO Matthias Muller told Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport that the carmaker is “constantly developing EV technology.”
This actually isn’t too surprising. Porsche has already demonstrated its interest in green speed with the 918 Spyder plug-in hybrid. A fully-electric sports car would allow it to take the technology one step further, and could be a smart strategic move.
In fact, Porsche built three prototype Boxster E electric sports cars for use in a pilot program three years ago. Similar to the program undertaken by BMW with the MINI E and ActiveE, the cars were driven around Stuttgart, Germany to gather real-world data on electric car usage.
The Boxster E had two electric motors (one for each axle), which produced a combined 240 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque. That was enough for a respectable 0 to 62 mph time of 5.3 seconds.
However, unlike a luxury sedan, a sports car needs to be more than powerful and efficient. The main hangup of an electric Porsche sports car might be the extra weight of the battery pack, which could affect handling.
It will be interesting to see if Porsche attacks that problem head-on, or deploys its first all-electric powertrain in an SUV or sedan instead. Hopefully it will figure something out, just in case Tesla decides to build another Roadster.