Porsche Cars North America plans to have at least 500 fast chargers available at U.S. dealership and highway locations by the end of 2019. Another 20 will be installed at Canadian dealerships, but a timeline hasn’t been established.
The production car based on the Porsche Mission E electric vehicle concept will be for sale in U.S. dealerships by the end of 2019 — by early 2020 in Canada. A second EV, based on the Mission E Cross Turismo concept, is planned for deliveries in 2020. The automaker also continues to consider EV variants of established models such as the Macan, Panamera and Cayenne, said Klaus Zellmer, CEO of Porsche Cars North America.
The 800-volt fast chargers will help alleviate any range anxiety that potential buyers of Porsche EVs may feel, Zellmer said.
“If you want to buy that car, you want to know what happens if I go skiing and go further than 300 miles,” Zellmer told Automotive News. “What do I do? So we need to have answers for that.”
Zellmer called the cars’ range a psychological barrier, saying 80 to 90 per cent of EV owners will charge them at home or work. But a cross-country fast-charging network is a necessary solution to concerns about the “unlikely instances” when driving distances will exceed the vehicles’ range of roughly 485 kilometres, he said.
‘NOT FREE OF CHARGE’
EV owners will need to be prepared to pay for use of the fast chargers, which promise to replenish the batteries to 80 per cent of their capacity — enough to drive about 400 kilometres — in less than 20 minutes.
“We are pretty certain that it’s not free of charge,” Zellmer said. “It’s too early to talk about how exactly that payment process for customers will work. There are various opportunities. You could buy a package all included for the car. It could be a membership card that you use. We’re not quite there yet.”
Zellmer said U.S. dealerships would have the option to offer free fast charging to their customers if they like the traffic and want to use the charging time as a way to engage customers in dealership offerings.
Porsche plans to inform each of its 189 U.S. dealerships in June of the infrastructure investment recommended for each location. A third-party vendor has visited every store over the last six months to evaluate those needs, Zellmer said. He wants dealerships to complete fast charger installations by the second half of 2019.
Dealership investment is not yet finalized, but “it’s not a minor cost,” Zellmer said. “It certainly is six-digit numbers that our dealers will have to take.”