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Porsche R&D boss Michael Steiner spoke with Automotive News Europe about the company's push towards electric cars. In the interview he explains why Tesla is not a direct rival to Porsche.

Interestingly he also says that he doesn't think Porsche should disclose its fleet CO2 emissions separately from Volkswagen.

Porsche is electrifying its model range. In the interest of transparency, should the company disclose its fleet CO2 emissions figure?
There are markets where regulators assess us separately, in China for example, while in Europe we are pooled together with Volkswagen. While we keep an account internally, it doesn't make sense for individual brands such as Porsche to publish separate figures in the latter case.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has attempted to beat the Porsche Taycan electric sedan's Nurburgring lap time record with the Model S. Is Tesla a rival?
Although people like to play us off against each other, we do not consider Tesla to be a direct rival. With the Model 3, it's clear that they are more aggressively targeting the volume segment.

How far ahead is Tesla in terms of its battery technology?
Tesla employs round cells, a slightly different chemistry and another cooling concept, all of which have their specific advantages and disadvantages. In our opinion the kind of high battery capacities you might find installed in a Model S are not ideal in terms of sustainability. We believe in smaller, lighter and therefore less expensive batteries that can be recharged more quickly. It's not our aspiration to be the leader in electric range. Also, while we don't currently plan to develop another combustion engine architecture, that doesn't mean that we cannot maintain and improve models using the existing ones. That is valid for the Macan, because we cannot expect electric mobility to advance in all regions at the same pace, so we currently anticipate that in specific segments there will be a need to offer both a combustion engine and a full-electric or plug-in hybrid version in parallel. Customers and regulators will determine how long it will be necessary to maintain this.

Does that mean there will be identical-looking Macans and the only difference is that one won't have a tailpipe?
No, we will considerably differentiate them in terms of design so that it's possible to immediately identify which is which. We believe that during the transition to EVs customers want to be seen as driving electric.

Will you discontinue the Panamera's MSB rear-wheel-drive platform?
The Panamera platform is not old, it debuted in 2016. We still have a lot of ideas for it in terms of infotainment and connectivity. But there is currently no plan to replace this platform, instead, we want to keep it fresh and attractive as long as possible.

What factors will make your forthcoming SPE electric platform unique?
We are convinced that very sporty cars, and roadsters in particular, need to be really flat. Drivers of a 911 or 718 want to sit as close as possible to the road. While electric cars have a low center of gravity thanks to their batteries being installed in the floor, that is not the only relevant aspect. To experience that sports car feeling it's also about your body's own center of gravity and how high up you are seated. That's why we want to develop such a platform, but there has not been a final decision on this matter.

How attractive are fuel cell models to Porsche, considering that the stacks are lighter than batteries?
We continue to examine it, but at the moment this technology is not suited to Porsche. For one the typical output of a stack is about 100 kilowatts, so if you want more power you still need to include a large battery to provide peak output. That means you need even more room for their installation. Secondly, the system's overall energy efficiency is very poor because it takes a lot of electricity to split water into hydrogen, distribute it to fuel stations and convert it back to electricity.
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