If you're going to try to eat from the plate of Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk—he being the eco-superhero/mad genius with access to space-travel machines and Ayn Rand's least distasteful teachings—you better bring the speed. So, how did Porsche's CEO, Matthias Müller, rate when he pulled the tarp off the Tesla-hunting Mission E concept car at Frankfurt this week?
Pretty good. Pretty damn good.
This is indeed the E.V. cage match we’ve been waiting for—a powerhouse of speed, balance and sexy-liveried motorsports heritage looking to dismissively swat down an arrogant Silicon Valley upstart whose car has a button that reads “LUDICROUS.” Porsche is obviously going after Tesla with the Mission E. When and if the Porsche actually hits the road, it would run from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds—a respectable time in the electric car universe, though not even close to the Tesla Model S’s Ludicrous Mode-enabled 2.8 seconds.
Here’s what the Mission E has going for it: Porsche claims it can recover 80 percent of a battery charge in just 15 minutes. That’s half the time of the Tesla. It also shares that low-slung sashay design that makes the sublime 918 Spyder hyper-hybrid such a seductress.
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The fun part of this Mission E, so far, is that Müller seems to be throwing down a compelling personal challenge to Mr. Musk, who we can only imagine drummed his fingers slowly over a missile-launch button as he watched a telecast of the Porsche reveal. Müller, resplendent in his white thatch of hair, stood in front of an adoring crowd of journalists and their coddlers, and chided the Californian.
“We respect all competitors, also Tesla, and that is the reason why we have taken a close look at the Model S as well as at every BMW, Mercedes or something else,” said Müller. Tesla “did a very good job, especially in terms of connectivity. Some things about the car itself could be better, but O.K. That is our competition.”