NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. — Sales of electric vehicles in Ontario have plummeted since the end of the province’s EV rebates last year. But Porsche sees Ontario as a major market for its new Taycan battery-electric four-door car, scheduled to arrive in Canada in the first quarter of next year.
The province remains the third-largest market for EVs in Canada after British Columbia and Quebec. And Porsche Cars Canada CEO Marc Ouayoun said luxury buyers in major markets, regardless of incentives, are demanding more green cars to drive.
“Our customers are looking for a Porsche, but they want a car because there’s a big trend in luxury going into the direction of sustainability. That’s an important topic for our customers and also for their self-image,” Ouayoun said at the Taycan world premiere event here Sept. 4. “For that, I think the Taycan is the perfect car.”
The sleek four-door, with up to 750 horsepower and a driving range of about 450 kilometres, is a major bet on EVs for Porsche, long known for its loud, speedy, combustion-powered sports cars.
The Taycan will initially launch in the two highest trims: The all-wheel-drive Turbo and Turbo S, priced at $173,900 and $213,900, respectively, excluding destination charges.
“Ten years ago, no one could have ever guessed that two-thirds of Porsche’s sales would be SUVs, so the brand has proven that it can find success by stretching into new territory without cannibalizing its brand,” Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights for Edmunds, said in a statement.
For 2019, Porsche’s Canadian sales rose 5.6 per cent, compared with the same period in 2018, to 5,902 units, according to the Automotive News Data Center in Detroit.
PLENTY OF EV RIVALS
But Porsche enters a suddenly crowded electric luxury space, with Tesla, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi and Jaguar also vying for consumers looking for green vehicles.
Porsche plans to launch a host of electrified crossovers and roadsters in the coming years, with Porsche Cars North America CEO Klaus Zellmer telling sibling publication Automotive News that the company expects more than half of its vehicle sales worldwide to be either electric or hybrids by 2025.
Although he wouldn’t provide a total number, Ouayoun said major markets including Toronto and Vancouver are responsible for a large share of deposits for the Taycan in Canada, although demand is also high in Alberta.
Between 30 per cent and 40 per cent of Canadian deposits have come from Toronto, Ouayoun said.
“This is a perfect city for it, with lots of traffic and lots of individual houses,” he said. “In our segment, most of our customers own a house. It’s an ideal situation. You can charge at home, commute with your car; and the car has a high capacity battery, highspeed charging. So Toronto, I’m sure, will have lots of customers.”
Ouayoun sees the Taycan turning into a conquest machine for the brand. About 60 per cent of deposits in Canada come from those who do not drive a Porsche, he said.
“Many, many customers are coming from other brands because I think it’s quite a unique value proposition” for others, he said.
One of the Taycan’s selling points, Ouayoun said, will be its range as well as the highway charging infrastructure being developed by Porsche Canada along with Volkswagen Canada and Audi Canada. The Taycan offers a unique 800volt fast-charging system. The company claims that plugging in for just over five minutes equals 100 kilometres of range.
Porsche’s 19 Canadian dealerships will each be equipped with charging stations. And alongside Volkswagen and Audi, the brand said last year it would build 32 fast-charging stations along major highways in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.
“We, as Porsche, are too small to develop hundreds of charging stations,” Ouayoun said. “But we took our own responsibility. Our goal was to create high-speed charging stations that give you the opportunity to drive coast to coast, because every charging station will be located approximately 200 kilometres from each other.
“That’s more than enough to do charging when you are traveling.”
Home chargers will also be available for Taycan buyers, who will have access to a network of service providers and contractors, selected by Porsche, to provide a quote and install the charger.
With files from Automotive News reporter Urvaksh Karkaria.