Attendees view the 2017 Porsche AG Macan sports utility vehicle (SUV) during the 2016 New York International Auto Show in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg)

Porsche Macan Enters E-SUV Race Against Audi, Jaguar, and Tesla

(Bloomberg) -- Porsche announced today that the next generation of its best-selling Macan will be electric. 

The small SUV is currently Porsche’s most popular vehicle, supporting the lower sales volumes and slimmer margins of flashier models like the 911. Last year the Stuttgart, Germany-based automaker made more than 90,000 of them at its plant in Leipzig.

An electric version of the current $50,000 Macan is part of the company’s plan to invest more than €6 billion ($6.8 billion) in electric mobility by 2022. By 2025 half of its new vehicles will likely have an electric drive system, according to Oliver Blume, Porsche AG’s chairman of the board of management.

“Our aim is to take a pioneering role in technology,” Blume said in a written statement. “Over the next 10 years we will focus on a drive mix consisting of even further optimized petrol engines, plug-in hybrid models, and purely electrically operated sports cars.” 

Porsche is hardly the first luxury carmaker to put an electric sport utility vehicle on the road. Audi and Jaguar both sell pure-electric SUVs; Audi recently announced a new crossover that will also be electric. BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and even Polestar have plans for full-electric SUVs nearing development and/or completion. Tesla, of course, started the push with its all-electric Model X in 2015.

But there’s no glory in being early in the pool and getting it wrong, and the 70-year-old German automaker is known for its tactical approach in launching products. Porsche has clearly bided its time developing something its customers will cling to. It introduced a hybrid Cayenne SUV in 2010 and a hybrid Panamera in 2013, obvious test beds for electric technologies. A hybrid 911 is expected in the next few years as well. 

Meanwhile, the all-electric Taycan will go on sale later this year. That will be the one to watch to gauge Porsche’s electric capabilities in the near term—production on the electric Macan won’t begin until early next decade. 

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.