“For us, it’s super important that Porsche drivers are in a secure space. We have some prototypes and right now in our cars we are trying to play around and see what are good use cases that add value,” she said.
“Technology is nice and good fun for tech girls like me and tech boys, but in the end they need to solve a problem.”
One thing that works in Porsche’s favour is being a part of the Volkswagen Group, giving it access to a host of EV technologies as well as the quantum computing technology that remains out of reach for most car companies.
Despite the leg-up such an arrangement can have, the biggest obstacle for Hendel and Porsche as a whole is that trying to develop an EV business isn’t like anything that has come before it.
Starting from scratch
“You produce an EV in a totally different way than the classic cars, so we had to build everything from scratch,” she said.
“But it’s not only about the car, it’s about making the whole organisation ready for whatever this means.”
This, Hendel said, includes conversations around infrastructure and charging, which plays into the minds of Porsche customers who might be slightly wary of making the jump to EVs.
“When you build such a car you have to look at all aspects and have the full customer journey in place and in focus,” she added. “As a tech person, the biggest challenge is how do we take the fear of people who think there isn’t enough battery power in the cars and things like this.”
For Porsche, this brave new world might be a global effort, but there is no denying that she and the rest of the company see China as the defining EV market for years to come.
The country has shifted from ICE cars to EVs unlike any other nation, with figures showing that half of all EV sales globally now originate in China
. In 2018, EV sales in the country totalled 1.2m. This was significantly higher than the next largest market, the US, which saw around 360,000 in sales.
“For us it’s the biggest market and we really want to grow [in China],” Hendel said. “We’re building our own digital Porsche team there at the moment and we’ve just started with many local Chinese to help us bring innovations into our cars and solutions.”