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Porsche Is Going All In on Electric, but 911 Will Be Last to Switch

"If we don't adapt, we're going to be left out," said CEO Klaus Zellmer.

The future is electric, at least for Porsche.

“We are in the beginning of a transition phase in the car industry, and to Porsche, to switch over to battery electric fully,” said Klaus Zellmer, president and chief executive officer of the luxury automaker’s North American division. “Luxury consumers expect, with a brand’s purpose, for sustainability to play a major part.”

Zellmer discussed the next phase in high-end automobiles during a conversation with Bloomberg car columnist Hannah Elliott at the second annual The Year Ahead: Luxury summit on Thursday. Hosted by the lifestyle group Bloomberg Pursuits, the conference was held at the company’s headquarters in New York. Speakers included  Tiffany & Co. CEO Alessandro Bogliolo, architect Robert A.M. Stern, pastry chef Christina Tosi, and Rent the Runway’s Jenn Hyman, as well as executives from Virtuoso Ltd. and Marriott International Inc.

By 2025 every other car Porsche sells will have a plug, Zellmer predicted. He pushed back against the notion that luxury cars and sustainability are incompatible. 

“To remain what we are, we have to adapt,” he said. “If we don’t adapt, we’re going to be left out.”

Porsche’s legendary 911 will be the last in its line to go electric, Zellmer said. There’s been considerable controversy over when and how the brand’s oldest model will make the transition.

He also noted that worries about “range anxiety” are less of a concern for Porsche because its customers have an average of three cars. Still, the company is working to increase the number of miles its vehicles can drive between charges.

In addition, Porsche is working to target new and younger customers with a Super Bowl ad in 2020. It will promote the Taycan, the brand’s first all-electric sports car.

“For a car brand that only sells three cars out of 1,000 in the U.S., that is a big move,” Zellmer said. “We want to engage new audiences. We want to be bigger.”

TAGS: Innovation
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