Lets be humble: the Porsche 918 Spyder is a sexy car. Don’t get me wrong, we have favoured Tesla for a long time due to its economics and IPO outlook.
But now, Porsche is putting its cards on the table. Yes, the Spyder still uses a 3.4litre V8 engine with some 500bhp so it may not be entirely ‘fair’ to compare the two. But take this: the two electric engines contribute some 218bhp. The Lithium-Ion batteries have 5.1kwh capacity; and the battery pack weighs less than 100kg. With the total car weight of less than 1500kg, the power-to-weight ratio is impressive.
Using the car as a plug-in hybrid only is probably not advisable as the batteries would only last for about 25km. However, Porsche promises the car will use 3.0 liters/100km or only 70g/CO2. The acceleration from a standstill to 100 km/h the Porsche does in just under 3.2 seconds, with top speed of 320 km/h (198 mph).
We wrote about energy storage previously. With the sports car industry making a move into the electric vehicle/plug-in hybrid market, it is only a matter of time before the application will become mass market. In a previous post we asked the question whether the time for batteries is now?
Whatever the race: both Tesla and Porsche are likely to compete in the affluent segment of the market. With Porsche’s dealer network and global Brand, we think that Tesla has to step up to the plate and we question whether the support from the US Government and a looming IPO are enough to put the firm head-to-head with a giant like Porsche. The financial backing of Porsche, now essentially being a Volkswagen brand, allows it to roll-out quickly and enter ‘mass’ production. Let’s not forget that Porsche has prominent manufacturing capabilities which may be enough to take market share in this new segment.
The question is whether the race may become a competition essentially between two major automotive manufactures? Daimler is heavily invested and committed to Tesla and has shared part of its ownership with its own major investor: Aabar Investments PJSC. The Venture community has been extremely supportive of the Tesla technology. We wrote about Draper Fisher Jurvetson’s portfolio previously. Other investors in Tesla include The Westly Group (Steve Westly), Technology Partners (Ira Ehrenpreis), Valor Equity Partners, and DBL.