Porsche will do whatever it takes to beat Tesla.
If ever there was a reason to wish the years of your life would pass by more quickly, call it the Porsche Mission E. We first laid eyes on the stunner at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show and promptly told our readers who’s funds were tied up in Tesla stocks to jump off ship because there was no way Model S buyers won’t feel pangs of regret seeing a Mission E pass by. Whoever said German's don't have a sense of humor was right, because Porsche won't take Tesla's jabs as a laughing matter.
It’s a good thing that Elon Musk has recently outlined a plan to diversify Tesla’s ventures because we’ve just learned some interesting new tidbits of information about the Mission E. Using its 919 hybrid racecar as a test bed for new technology, the automaker that built the world’s first hybrid car will migrate the racing technology into its first all-electric car, the Mission E. One key difference between a Model S and the 919 race car is that the Porsche uses an 800-volt battery, approximately double the voltage that lives in a Tesla. This changes everything, from the electric motors to how the car is charged, and requires some engineering workaround that the Tesla is spared from. Think of volts like pressure, that thing that turbochargers make.
The more voltage that flows through the wires, the more energy that can be pushed into the electric motors. By experimenting with high voltage technology on the 919, Porsche has learned quite a bit about these systems including how to keep the batteries and motors cool. To store the energy, Porsche decided to use a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery utilizing hundreds of cylindrical cells that look inconspicuous but will pack a 600 horsepower punch. The engineers at Stuttgart are also playing with the devilish balance between power density and energy density. To differentiate, look at a smartphone. If the phone had the same power density as the 919, it could get a full charge in only a second, but be dead after a phone call.
This is fine for race cars that are constantly gobbling up regenerative braking electrons and then coughing them back up upon acceleration, but the situation becomes less practical for road cars. Luckily the engineers have proposed a wireless inductive charging mechanism to help the Porsche charge quickly without the owner having to plug the car in. These factors will all come into play when it comes time to tweak the ratio of power delivery and recharge time as well as the overall recipe of the car. We can expect to see the culmination of Porsche’s work at the turn of the decade, but for now we’ll keep updating you on the seemingly never-ending tidbits of information that we hear about the Mission E.