Porsche Debuts its First Electric Vehicle

The automaker is betting that high-end buyers will be willing to pay β€” a lot β€” for an electric vehicle with Porsche performance.

German luxury car maker Porsche this week officially joined the list of automakers competing with Tesla in the nascent market for electric vehicles.

But whereas Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company and most rival automakers are working toward more economical and practical EV models, the Volkswagen subsidiary took a different approach.

Porsche officials say its new Taycan β€” unveiled at events on three continents Wednesday β€” offers the same features and performance its customers have come to expect from generations of its gasoline-powered sports cars. Company officials believe that, as a result, people will be willing to pay a premium for the Taycan. The vehicle starts at more than $150,000, with a more powerful version starting at $185,000 β€” each tens of thousands of dollars more expensive than even the highest-priced Tesla.

The higher-priced model, the Taycan Turbo S, offers 750 horsepower and can go zero to 60 in 2.6 seconds. Executives expect the car to travel up to 250 miles per charge, and its batteries can charge up to 80 percent in under 23 minutes.

The Taycan is the first of numerous planned electric models from Porsche and Volkswagen in coming years. Although Porsche acknowledged the inevitable comparisons with Tesla’s pioneering luxury electric vehicles, the company says it’s more concerned with winning over its existing market. About half of the orders for the car, officials told CNBC, come from current Porsche owners.

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