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Porsche CEO Says Mission E Electric Car Is More About Timing Than Competing With Tesla

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Porsche arguably made the biggest splash at the Frankfurt Motor Show this week, announcing its electric Mission E. The concept boasts features like 600 horsepower, ability to go 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds and 15-minute charging.

As much as the Mission E seems to be made to challenge Tesla in the electric car market, Porsche North America CEO Detlev von Platen insists that the decision to enter the electric space had more to do with timing than competition.

In speaking with USA Today, von Platen said the unveiling of the Mission E wasn't made to chase Tesla.

"Not at all. We have doing our product development completely independently from what's going elsewhere. It's not a question of being first in the market or even second," von Platen said. "It's about being in the market when we believe it is the right time for us, and to be there with the best product. It's a question of timing, and a question of technology. We have said that we will not enter this space until we are satisfied we can carry the DNA of Porsche in terms of performance. It needs to be driven as a Porsche, we wanted a specific range (above 500 km, about 300 miles) and the charging time (of less than 15 minutes) was also very important."

He added that technology behind the Mission E has been in the works for a few years and expects the car to hit the market by 2020. Although when asked if the iconic brand will eventually phase out gas cars, von Platen said he thinks such a prospect is at least "10 to 15 years" away and dependent on willingness of consumers.

In addition to talking about Porsche's splashy entrance into electric cars, von Platen called regular updates to the iconic 911 the brand's "special secret."

"Our engineers are constantly fighting to make sure this car stays very true to the initial idea where you can drive from home to the racetrack," he said, "and have agility, performance, reliability, and then drive home."

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