In the field of electric cars, Volkswagen has lagged behind the competition. Its Audi sub-brand made some headway with the e-tron family of vehicles, but the ride has been bumpy. Generally speaking, when VW has dreamed of higher fuel economy, it has envisioned a future full of diesels.
Even to this day, VW's main, mass-market marque seems reluctant to let go of that vision, but according to Auto News, its supercar sibling, Porsche may be planning a bold new model to take on one of the world's most beloved electric-car brands, Tesla.
We know that because of a detail that emerged during a Porsche press conference held last week in Stuttgart, Germany: head honcho Matthias Mueller praised the Tesla Model S, calling it an "exceptional car" and saying that Porsche has to "follow up" with a similarly attractive, presumably electric vehicle.
What would such a car look like? It's hard to say, though you might recall that Porsche does have a plug-in hybrid supercar, the 918 Spyder, which one of our colleagues was lucky enough to test drive a year ago. To truly compete with Tesla -- which has upmarket style and mass-market aspirations -- Porsche would need something with a lower price-point than the $800,000+ Porsche 918. Perhaps an all-electric Panamera would be enough to turn Tesla shoppers' heads?
When would it appear? That depends on how Porsche plans to package it. If the all-electric model is a standalone, it may debut in 2020, when the company has said that it will unveil a completely new model. If, however, it's just a variant -- say, an all-electric version of the Macan -- that could come sooner. After all, the 918 Spyder has given Porsche some technological tools to play with.
We'll keep you posted as more hints are dropped, but don't expect firm details anytime soon.