Lutz Meschke, Deputy Chairman of the Board and Chief Financial Officer and IT, Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG

Smartphones are superceding cars as status symbols, electronics are replacing drivers at the wheel, combustion engines are becoming obsolete … for a sports car brand like Porsche, surely these trends must be horrific? Not at all, says board member Lutz Meschke.

The brand had enough courage, ideas and market-ready finished products to transfer the fascination of sports cars into the age of electromobility. But obviously, the company was facing a deep transition. „If Porsche wants to stay successful and still be the benchmark, ‚business as usual’ is not an option.”

Meschke said Porsche was adjusting to the latest future trends, changing framework parameters and new demands from customers and society. „But we’re combining the new with our traditions, our values, the radiance of our brand and our experience in building sports cars. On this basis, we anticipate what lies ahead and follow our own road.“ This included acting and reacting faster, in order to keep pace with dynamic developments. „In parallel to our internal innovation management, we’ve built up innovation units worldwide – in Silicon Valley, in Berlin and in Tel Aviv. We are developing digital products, services and IT solutions.” Meschke said Porsche was entering fields that, at first glance, had nothing to do with its core business – for example artificial intelligence, human-machine interfaces or blockchain. „We’re working closely with highly specialized start-ups to understand the added value these technologies offer.“ He added that working side-by-side with a culture of start-ups and innovation also serve as a source of inspiration for his company’s own people.

As for drive technologies, Porsche predicted the transition to electromobility will take up to ten years, depending on the region of the world. With further optimized combustion engines, attractive plug-in hybrids and all-electric sports cars, the company had the necessary flexibility. „We need e-mobility, and we also want it. It suits Porsche, not least because e-motors have outstanding performance characteristics.”

In 2022, around one-in-three Porsches would have an e-motor, Meschke predicted. By 2025, that share would rise to more than one-in-two; by 2030, “ICEs will probably just be a niche.“ The brand’s first all-electric sports car – the Taycan – will enter the competition for consumers next year. „This vehicle will not just drive fast, it will charge very fast too.“ Meschke said the newcomer’s distinctive feature was its 800V architecture. Using twice the voltage of other electric cars reduced charging times, and saved weight and space by permitting the use of thinner cables. Production of the Taycan is designed to be CO2-neutral.

„We see digitalization, connectivity and electromobility as opportunities – as the basis for completely new business models,“ Meschke said. In future, for example, customers could order a basic car, then book additional services for different scenarios ‘over the air’ – a different handling setup for a weekend on the racetrack, for instance, or even services, repairs and updates. „That will disrupt model cycles with facelifts, and make vehicles more customer-oriented,“ the Porsche board member promised.

Automotive Summit 2018 – Executive Summary

In early December 2018, over 600 automotive experts from all over the world – including manufacturers and suppliers, tech and energy companies, politicians and associations – attended the auto industry summit in Wolfsburg, Germany. From 3 – 5 December, the industry’s big hitters discussed strategies, concepts and technologies for tomorrow’s automobiles and the future course of their industry.

We’ve compiled the highlights from the Handelsblatt Auto Summit 2018 in an interactive follow-up report.