The era of the Taycan has begun.
Porsche was adamant it did not view the Tesla Model S as a real competitor during the development of its first electric car. Nobody believed them. Like the Model S, the Porsche Taycan is a sleek four-door sedan with coupe-like styling with powerful batteries and electric motors and plenty of range. Both are high-tech wonders, but the Taycan is brand spanking new, making the Model S feel old by comparison. Which is perhaps why the Taycan is luring Tesla owners to Porsche showrooms.
Speaking to CNBC, Klaus Zellmer, president and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, said that out of the "thousands" of potential US Taycan buyers who have "shown interest," Tesla owners were the highest among non-Porsche owners. "They currently drive a Tesla, they're open to experiencing something new now," Zellmer said. "We're very happy about that."
Porsche was actually a bit surprised by the relatively high number of interested Tesla owners given that the automaker has created a cult-like following. "We were actually surprised right from the get-go to see Tesla be so much in the foreground as a potential source of business," he added. Typically, Porsche competes against its fellow Germans: Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, so going head-to-head with Tesla is something entirely new. Fortunately, current Porsche owners are responding well to the Taycan.
According to Zellmer, existing Porsche owners make up about half of potential US interest in the Taycan, though specific figures have not been made available. Globally, Porsche claims about 20,000 potential buyers have raised their hands so far by either placing deposits or visiting a dealership.
Porsche is also being realistic regarding initial Taycan sales. It is not expecting a mad dash but rather incremental sales over the next couple of years, though it already predicts the Taycan will help lead to record US sales in 2020. What Porsche has going for it in regards to the Taycan's future is heritage. Tesla, on the other hand, is still a new company and Porsche plans to leverage its well-earned reputation and heritage to help set the Taycan apart from the Model S, according to Zellmer.
It's also important to remember the Porsche Taycan is more expensive than the Tesla Model S by a fairly significant amount. The Taycan 4S begins at nearly $104,000 and the top-of-the-line Taycan Turbo S is priced at $185,000. The most expensive Model S costs about the same as a base Taycan.