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Watch out, Elon: Porsche’s Mission E will arrive in 2019 with up to 590 horsepower

It doesn’t take a genius to conclude that Porsche is targeting Tesla’s Model S with its upcoming Mission E electric vehicle. It might take a genius to build the car, but that’s a different issue.

However, thanks to Autocar’s interview with Porsche chairman Oliver Blume, we’re getting a much better idea of just how closely the Mission E will match up against Tesla’s offering. Notably, Porsche plans to offer several variants of its first all-electric vehicle, just like Tesla offers smaller and larger battery Model S’s. Oh, and the Mission E will receive over-the-air updates to driveline and autonomous tech — just like the Model S.

“The Mission E will sit in the segment below the Panamera,” said Blume. “It will offer a 500km (311 mile) electric range, with a 15-minute charge ti me… there will be more than one [model], with different levels of power.”

Though Blume quotes one range, news of multiple variants means the Mission E will have different performance thresholds, and different driving ranges. Porsche’s previous references to an output of 590 horsepower and a 0 to 60 mph sprint of under 3.5 seconds probably relate to the most potent version.

Porsche plans to use an 800v charging system for the Mission E, and may co-develop the unit with Hitachi. This system is critical to achieving the desired 80-percent charge in 15 minutes (which is quicker than Tesla’s supercharging system). Blume also noted that the Mission E will be configured with Level 4 autonomous driving functionality (no driver attention needed). “There are situations in traffic jams where you will be able to read a newspaper, but our customers take pleasure from driving and this will remain,” he said.

The first Mission E prototypes will begin testing this summer as part of a two-year development phase. That puts the Mission E production date at mid-to-late 2019.

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