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Electric version of Porsche’s ‘Pajun’ sedan could take on the Tesla Model S

Porsche’s long-rumored “Pajun” midsize sedan is expected to take on the BMW 5 Series, but Porsche may have another rival in mind.

According to Autocar, the engineers in Zuffenhausen are planning an all-electric version of the Pajun, which would go head-to-head with the Tesla Model S.

The electric powertrain would be offered alongside gasoline and diesel engines on this new model, would serve as a baby brother to the Panamera (hence the name Pajun, short for “Panamera Junior”), but since the car isn’t supposed to debut until 2019, details are scarce.

Porsche would reportedly share battery development work with Audi, which is reportedly planning to (finally) launch the R8 e-tron electric car, as well as an electric version of the upcoming Q8 SUV.

Porsche itself is no stranger to electric cars, building three Boxster E prototypes as forerunners to an electric sports-car program that appears to be on hiatus.

There are a couple of good reasons why Porsche’s electric-car plans shouldn’t stop there.

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These days, many luxury carmakers are looking to increase efficiency because of high fuel prices and stricter emissions standards – just look at all of the hybrids and diesels already in Porsche’s lineup.

However, Porsche’s plan to build an electric sedan could be as much about competition as it is about compliance.

The Tesla Model S has received copious praise from the automotive media and customers, so maybe Porsche wants to beat Tesla at its own game.

Some carmakers have discussed building Model S-rivalling electric cars, but none have committed yet. The low sales volumes of such a car, and the still-underdeveloped network of charging stations may be keeping them away.

Porsche isn’t shy about building low-volume models though – witness the 918 Spyder and myriad 911 models – so maybe it will be able to build an electric sports sedan even if the business case isn’t totally solid.

Development of the Pajun is still in its very early stages, but 2019 could turn out to be an interesting year for electric-car buyers.