Porsche has a special idea of progress, which is to combine performance and sustainability. The sports car manufacturer calls it “Double E.” It takes courage, teamwork, and pioneering spirit. Although electromobility is a top priority, Porsche is also focusing on eFuels. Renewable, synthetic fuels can potentially make combustion engines close to carbon-neutral. At a pilot plant, Porsche and partners are demonstrating how production can work on an industrial scale.
Porsche engineer Otmar Bitsche knows the A 1, A 8, A 9, and A 99 superhighways like the back of his hand, as he drives his Taycan Turbo Sport Turismo from the Weissach Development Centre to his family’s home in Graz, Austria, every weekend. Friday there and Sunday back, for nearly 1,350 kilometers in the all-electric vehicle. A new generation of commuter.
It’s Friday afternoon and the 65-year-old has relocated his office to his car before the onslaught of rush hour traffic. He spends the first two and a half hours of driving on the phone, as the Alps begin to take shape on the horizon. At 150 km/h, tire and wind sounds are audible in the background and mix with the humming of the electric motors, creating a futuristic soundscape.
It’s this special sound that has accompanied Bitsche for decades. When he joined Porsche in 2012 and took charge of electric mobility, he’d already developed all-electric compact cars and the first series hybrid vehicle with lithiumion battery. “At Porsche, we’re not interested in breaking range records,” emphasizes the Austrian, who has helped to shape the sports car manufacturer’s philosophy. “What matters most when it comes to an electric car’s suitability for longer distances is the travel time. And like battery capacity and performance, chargeability also plays a key role.”
Mondsee lake behind Salzburg offers an idyllic landscape alongside the motorway. Six IONITY HPC stations are located between the guardrails and the Drachenwand cliff. Bitsche’s charging stop takes a good 20 minutes with up to 270 kilowatts. The developer prefers to use the Porsche Charging Planner. “I know all the charging points along this route, of course. But for me it’s more about preconditioning the battery for the charging process,” he explains. “20 to 25 degrees Celsius is ideal for fast charging.”
Things were very different even just a few years ago. There were hardly any electric cars on the road and not many fast-charging stations along the superhighway. But that has changed visibly. Since 2017, IONITY alone has installed a good 450 charging hubs with more than 2,000 charging stations in 24 European countries. “The number of electric cars in Germany is growing faster than the charging infrastructure,” says Bitsche, emphasizing the need for further expansion.
Electric mobility is becoming more and more common in people’s everyday lives, which is clear to see at Porsche. Over the past three years since production of the Taycan Turbo Sport Turismo kicked off in September 2019, the sports car manufacturer has produced more than 100,000 all-electric vehicles. Bitsche and his colleagues have also been working on future electric models for some time now. The company’s aim is to ensure that around half of all newly sold Porsche vehicles are electric by 2025. The share of all new vehicles with an all-electric drive should exceed 80 percent by 2030.
Time for electric mobility
Bitsche always keeps an eye on the time and reaches the Graz city center in his Taycan Turbo Sport Turismo just before sunset, passing the iconic clock tower rising high above the rooftops in the old town. After a good six hours, 670 kilometers, and two charging stops, the Porsche engineer has reached his destination. He chooses his favorite music for this moment, The Well-Tempered Clavier by Johann Sebastian Bach. “I may have arrived half an hour sooner with an internal combustion engine,” says Bitsche, pondering. “But the drive wouldn’t have been this quiet and relaxing. It’s high time for electric mobility.”