FRANKFURT – Porsche AG named its first car to directly compete with electric leader Tesla Inc. the Taycan, as the German manufacturer gears up for what will arguably be its most ambitious and potentially risky vehicle project ever.
The moniker is derived from oriental words and describes “a lively, young horse,” Chief Executive Officer Oliver Blume said Friday. Porsche both needs electrification to comply with tougher emissions rules and is embracing the technology because it allows for sporty driving that dovetails with the brand, he said.
“We are going to take the next big step next year,” when Taycan deliveries will begin, Blume said at the Porsche museum near the company’s headquarters in Stuttgart, where the brand celebrated the 70th anniversary of its first-ever sports car, the 356 model.
Safeguarding Porsche’s cachet and healthy profit margins as the company makes huge investments in electric cars and new digital services is vital for parent Volkswagen AG. Automakers are spending billions as they face a period of unprecedented change — stricter environmental regulations are forcing them to offer more battery-powered vehicles even as combustion-engine cars still generate the vast majority of profits.
Porsche is pursuing a three-pronged approach coinciding with the looming technology shift by introducing fully electric cars like the Taycan, developed under the project code name Mission E; plug-in hybrids; and combustion-engine vehicles that root back to the first 356. The brand’s first two-seater was built in Gmuend, Austria, in 1948. Up until then, Porsche had provided engineering services for car manufacturers.
The company also marked the occasion by revealing a 911 Speedster Concept, an open-top version of its iconic sports car.