Electrification is happening. A very well regarded internal combustion vehicle will cross to the environmentally friendly side. Porsche announced that the next generation of the company’s smaller Macan SUV will become fully electric in 2022. It will run on the PPE (Premium Performance Electric) platform Porsche is developing with Audi.
In one sense, the move represents a risk. The Macan is Porsche’s best-selling model by a wide margin. 23,504 Macans sold in the U.S. That was 41 percent of Porsche’s U.S. sales. It was more than double the sales of the next best-selling Cayenne. The Macan sold more than the 911, 718, and Panamera combined. Porsche is making a dramatic move with a nameplate that’s vital to the company.
But, that dramatic move may be necessary. Tesla has proved the electric concept in the luxury market. The cars perform better. They are cleaner. They are incredibly popular with consumers, who love the Model 3 despite its reliability issues. The only barrier to mass conversion is getting the cost down, which is more of an issue downmarket. Porsche buyers will pay the premium. They already are for bits, bobs, and a marquee nameplate.
The Macan is a mass-market Porsche, not a purist’s one. That luxury market is about to swing. Mercedes, Polestar, and others will launch premium electric vehicles in the next year or two. One of those others is Porsche itself with the Tesla-fighting Taycan. The next natural EV for Porsche to follow up with would be a cheaper crossover…like the Macan. It would feel outmoded for Porsche to launch anything but an EV in the crossover space in 2022. If the EV performance, in all likelihood, would blow away an ICE version of the Macan, why bother with one?
Porsche is well equipped to take on Tesla. The company has a trusted brand and a more robust dealership and repair network. The future for Porsche is a range of EVs and a few niche gasoline-powered sports cars for enthusiasts. The Macan news suggests that future is coming sooner than anticipated.
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