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Porsche Predicts Plug-In Paradise In Perpetuity

Klaus Zellmer, CEO of Porsche Cars North America, says the EV revolution is real and is moving fast. Recent sales figures seem to support his claim.

In an op-ed published June 17 by USA Today, Klaus Zellmer, CEO of Porsche Cars North America, predicted that cars with tailpipes would soon be a thing of the past. “I believe we are approaching a turning point. In coming years we will see more widespread adoption as volume producers including General Motors, Nissan, and VW join with premium brands like Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche to launch numerous battery-only models. As more Americans experience the instant power and sporty handling that electric cars provide, more will want this new generation of electric vehicles.”

Porsche Taycan

Zellmer referred to a prediction recently by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that EV adoption will parallel what happened a century ago when automobiles replaced horses as the principal means of transportation. Others see a much different and far darker scenario. Deloitte recently made headlines by predicting consumer disinterest would cause a glut of 14 million unwanted EVs globally over the next decade.

“It’s no surprise, then, that a common question I hear about the new EVs coming to the U.S. is, ‘Will anyone buy them?’ I believe the answer is unequivocally yes,” Zellmer writes. “Technology transitions are, by their nature, hard to forecast in advance. But with more than 20 years of automotive industry experience, I see clear market indicators that American consumers are about to embrace EVs as their daily drive.”

“First, Tesla has proven there is significant demand for cars that combine sustainability with performance and design. Last year, the Model 3 outsold any other premium sedan in the U.S. We know that American consumers embrace new technology, especially if it delivers a new experience. And once a technology catches on, consumers respond well to expanded choice as competitors enter the field. Just look at how many models of SUV you can buy today, or the proliferation of smartphones since Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007.”

Zellmer goes on to say that the charging infrastructure needed to make the EV revolution a reality is reaching maturity as ChargePoint, Electrify America, EVgo, and GreenLots expand their networks. The EPA now estimates the average electric car has an MPGe of 80 miles per gallon, a powerful incentive for people looking for a new car and are tired of paying for fuel for their gasmobiles. And the US energy grid is getting cleaner with each passing month as more coal fired generating plants are retired. Many are lovin’ their Super Duper Duty pickemups, but almost everybody today realizes we have to stop fouling our collective nest.

Lastly, Zellmer points to the interest in the upcoming Porsche Taycan electric sedan that will be in showrooms later this year. “We already have enough interest to account for all the Taycans we expect to deliver in the U.S. in the first year, through late 2020. That’s powerful, given that the final production model has yet to be unveiled. And the market potential is so strong that we just announced we will switch our best-selling model, the Macan compact SUV, to all-electric in the next few years.”

“Let’s be clear,” Zellmer says. “We believe EVs will quickly become commonplace in the U.S. new car fleet, not that they will fully displace internal combustion engines. Porsche is committed to a three-power train strategy for at least the next 10 years, meaning we’ll produce EVs and plug-in hybrids as well as internal combustion engines. I don’t believe these are mutually exclusive for many consumers.”

“For example, fewer than half of the customers who have registered for a Taycan in the U.S. are current Porsche drivers. But of those who are, the biggest single group own 911s, our iconic sports car. The fact that someone can love the sound and feel of an exhilarating flat-six gas engine and also be attracted to the silent power of a performance EV says volumes about the capacity of the U.S. market for this new power train.

“Frankly, EVs are fun to drive. That should mean something coming from someone like me who is immersed in the Porsche heritage of 70 years of gas-powered sports cars. Electric motors provide instant torque for quick acceleration, and the lower center of gravity from battery packs will reinforce the sporty feeling. So don’t be surprised when all of this truly catches on in the near future. Quickly and very quietly, electric vehicles will go from being an occasional sighting in your rear-view mirror to filling the lanes around you — to maybe even parking in your garage.”

The Truth Is Out There.

CleanTechnica readers will find much they can agree with in Zellmer’s words. There is plenty of evidence to suggest the trickle of electric cars is becoming a stream that will soon turn into a flood. According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, electric cars in the Bay Area now account for 13% of all new car sales. Last year, that number was 7%. The Tesla Model 3 is responsible for much of the increase. Almost 40% of those new EVs are Model 3s.

Another factor is that the number of EV chargers in the Bay Area now stands at more than 2,700 — up 39% from a year earlier, according to the International Council on Clean Transportation. Many of those new chargers are located where people work.

And it’s not just in the US. According to EV Sales blogspot, the sale of internal combustion cars in Sweden are off by 15% this year while sales of cars with plugs have soared 43% year on year, led by the Kia Niro PHEV. “Has Sweden hit peak-ICE? It seems so,” Jose Pontes of EV Sales (and CleanTechnica) says. Below are the top 20 cars with plugs in Sweden. Notice that when all Kia offerings are combined, Kia has 25% of the Swedish EV market.

Rank PEV Model May 2019 PEV Market Share
1 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV 365 2204 14%
2 Tesla Model 3 198 1649 11%
3 Kia Niro PHEV 406 1508 10%
4 Kia Optima PHEV 196 1237 8%
5 Renault Zoe 199 1072 7%
6 Volvo V60 PHEV 166 955 6%
7 Kia Niro EV 140 948 6%
8 Volvo XC60 PHEV 90 941 6%
9 Nissan Leaf 17 681 4%
10 BMW i3 138 600 4%
11 Volvo S/V90 PHEV 48 449 3%
12 Mini Countryman PHEV 75 411 3%
13 BMW 530e 72 365 2%
14 Tesla Model S 112 355 2%
15 Hyundai Kona EV 51 284 2%
16 BMW 225xe Active Tourer 34 210 1%
17 Hyundai Ioniq Electric 27 208 1%
18 VW e-Golf 62 208 1%
19 Volvo XC90 PHEV 9 203 1%
20 Audi e-tron 80 195 1%
+ Others 300 939 6%
= Total 2785 15622 100%

Almost 3,000 cars with plugs sold in Sweden in May while gas/diesel car sales are tanking. Is the EV revolution real? Oh, yeah.

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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."


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