Porsche: “We Do Not Consider Tesla to Be a Direct Rival”

Shots fired? Or are the Taycan and Model S really that different?

The 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S.
The 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S.
Porsche AG

No automaker can release an electric vehicle these days without someone, somewhere comparing it to Tesla. No matter what you think about CEO Elon Musk, his EV company is the benchmark. Full stop. And yes, that rule even applies to the most prestigious marques in automotive history, including Porsche.

Nonetheless, seven months after Porsche released the Taycan, its first all-electric sports car, the Germans are consciously uncoupling themselves from the upstart. In a new interview with Automotive News, Michael Steiner, executive board member of Porsche’s research and development, said, “Although people like to play us off against each other, we do not consider Tesla to be a direct rival.” [Insert airhorn here.]

That will be news to a lot of people, Musk in particular. Only one day after the official Porsche Taycan release, he was already on Twitter beefing about nomenclature. He didn’t stop there, almost immediately promising to beat the Taycan’s record-setting EV run on the Nürburgring race track with a Model S — a feat he hasn’t technically pulled off yet, at least fairly.

In short, the Taycan has been unable to escape Tesla comparisons since its launch, so maybe this is Porsche’s way of saying they’d like to talk about something else. But Steiner also pointed out a few important distinctions between the automakers.

“Tesla is out to win the range race, while Porsche believes in ‘smaller, lighter, and therefore less expensive batteries that can be recharged more quickly,’” wrote Autoblog. “He added his team has no intention of turning Porsche into the leader in electric range.”

That’s an admirable admission, because as we’ve already learned, Porsche makes some of the least efficient EVs in the world. So unlike Musk, Steiner shows that not everything is a competition, and his more established company is willing to admit its weaknesses as well as tout its accomplishments.

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