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We speak to Porsche Asia Pacific's Managing Director Arthur Willmann on his thoughts about the Porsche Taycan and the electric future of the brand.

25 Sep 2019

We are supposed to find some solace these days in the assurance that electric cars are not going take over the good ol' regular combustion engine.

But it seems more and more of these pure electric cars are coming to light. It is like a trending series of electric cars coming but never going. Put it bluntly, one could only think of the saying, "One damn thing after another…".

The Porsche Taycan is the latest car to join the electric bandwagon
And one damn thing after another it is. We first had the Tesla Roadster, which was a very exciting car. There was nothing quite like it - mind-bending acceleration, good looks, excellent handling. Then came the Nissan Leaf and the BMW i3, with the former a tad boring and the latter a tad too stylish for the common man's taste.

Fast forward today, Kia has its Niro EV, Hyundai has its Kona EV, Jaguar has its I-PACE and Audi will be coming in with its e-tron, a fully electric SUV that's expected to arrive end of this year.

And that's not the end of it. Even sports carmakers are hopping onto the electric bandwagon. Mid next year, we can expect Porsche to launch its first all-electric sports sedan, the Taycan, in Singapore. Question is, is it too soon for the pedigreed carmaker to have an electric car here in Singapore when the infrastructure is still questionable?

According to Arthur Willmann, Managing Director of Porsche Asia Pacific, it is understandably a challenge but he is confident of overcoming it. Not only will there be charging points available at the dealership, a high-performance charging point will also be available, which will enable the Taycan to be charged up to 80% in just 22 minutes. The location of this high-performance charging point, however, hasn't been decided, although the 36-year old Managing Director did mention it'd be somewhere accessible.

With its system voltage of 800V, the Taycan can be charged up to 80% in just 22 minutes
"We can look into different solutions like how other carmakers do, but it's not our main focus. Instead, we want to ensure that drivers of the Taycan can enjoy the same sporty feel of a regular combustion engine. Plus, with a range of 450km on one charge, it should not have any range problems in Singapore," said Willmann.

"And when it comes to driving to Malaysia, a country that we're also in charge of, we're even looking to install fast-charging stations along the highways so that driving across the border will not be a problem for owners."

Still, it seems like there could a potential problem with the Taycan alienating the hybrid models in Porsche's current lineup. But Willmann begs to differ. To him, having a range of emotional combustion engine cars, hybrids as well as, now, an electric model, allow the brand to better cater to different customers with different preferences.

Arthur Willmann is confident that the Taycan will not have range issues in Singapore
"We intend to make these three pillars - regular engines, hybrids as well as pure electric - strong. With the Taycan, we will be able to target a new group of customers," quipped Willmann.

Of course, we will also have to understand that unlike owning a regular vehicle, living with an electric car is quite a different experience. While the youngest Porsche customer in Singapore is 22 years of age, and the oldest is 85, owning an electric car has a lot to do with the lifestyle, rather than having a correlation with an owner's age.

Perhaps that's the magic of electric cars, more so knowing it's one from Porsche. I could scare you with the Taycan's performance figures or even give you sleepless nights with the price. Hell, I could even bore you to tears with the car being the first production vehicle with a system voltage of 800V, but really, that would be missing the point of Porsche creating an electric vehicle, methinks.

Instead, what's more interesting is how the sports carmaker has been ready to take the plunge into electrification. The Taycan Cross Turismo could well be the next electric vehicle, followed by several others. After all, the current 911 was created with an option for hybridisation.

The latest 911 is already prepped for hybridisation
"A car like the 911 is indeed ready for a hybrid element, but it's always down to customers' feedback, what they want and need, as well as market sentiment," Willmann mentioned.

While nothing was mentioned about the iconic car or any other cars being fully electrified in the near future, one thing is certain: The demand for an electric Porsche is strong. With the Taycan, there's currently a global demand of over 30,000 units, which is why Porsche is ramping things up at the factory in Zuffenhausen.

As for Singapore, Willmann is quite happy with the demand, even if it isn't the highest on the list of countries.

The Porsche Taycan Turbo and Turbo S are expected to arrive in August 2020, with the rest of the different variants coming in from the first half of 2021.
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