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Porsche plans to equip its 189 U.S. dealerships with 800-volt fast-charging stations in an effort to sell its forthcoming Tesla-fighter, the Mission E electric sedan.

The German automaker already has six such EV stations at its Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta, home of its North American headquarters, and plans to add more soon at its sister center in Los Angeles. Both facilities allow Porsche owners to take delivery of new vehicles as well as experience them on a track.

“Charging infrastructure is an extremely important part of the EV experience as a whole,” Porsche Cars North America CEO Klaus Zellmer said in a blog post provided to USA TODAY that will appear on the company’s website.

Zellmer said fast charging stations will allow the company’s four-door Mission E, due sometime in 2019, to add 250 miles to its range in around 20 minutes.

Zellmer noted that for the majority of their charging needs, customers ultimately would have to rely on the nation’s slowly growing network of charging stations, most of which will not charge a vehicle at an accelerated pace. “You have to keep in mind that more than 80% of charging occurs at home,” he said.

It remains unlikely that Mission E owners would be able to charge for free at dealerships. Tesla offered early buyers of its cars free access for life to its highway-based Supercharger high-speed charging stations for its Model S sedan.

Stefan Weckbach, head of battery electric vehicles at Porsche, said in the blog post that the company is exploring a range of fee structures for charging, including the possibility of flat-rate options depending on demand.

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Weckbach also confirmed that the Mission E will not resort to digital audio gimmicks in order to replicate the company’s famous engine growl, and instead will encourage owners to embrace a new series of engineering-based sounds — from tire tread noise to suspension flexing — that will be audible due to a lack of internal combustion engine.

The Mission E debuted as a concept a few years ago, and while its overall design has remained intact a few nifty features won’t be retained. The futuristic cameras-as-side-view-mirrors will not make the production model due to a range of regulations in many of Porsche’s key markets, including the U.S.

But the sedan’s “suicide doors” — rear doors from the back — are still shown as being part of the package in recent photos proffered by the company.

Porsche plans to build the Mission E at the company’s headquarters in Zuffenhausen, Germany, just outside of Stuttgart (some of its other models are built in factories in Leipzig, Germany). That decision means Porsche “will need to recruit well over 1,000 new production and development employees,” said Weckbach.

The Volkwagen Group bought Porsche in 2012, adding it to a stable of brands that also includes Lamborghini, Bentley and Audi. Porsche executives say the Mission E will leverage the technological innovations developed across the VW Group while retaining a distinctive Porsche feel.

A broad spectrum of automakers and technology companies are targeting self-driving cars in the coming years, specifically as part of ride-sharing services.

The VW Group recently partnered with a new Silicon Valley startup called Aurora, which is developing self-driving car hardware and software and is run by former Google car lead engineer Chris Urmson.

But don’t look for a self-driving Mission E. The company has no plans to automate the sporty sedan. Instead, it will add driver-assist features that can help in traffic situations.

“Porsche drivers want to drive,” said Weckbach, adding that “no one believes that cars will be able to drive themselves completely in the short or medium term.”

While a range of automakers are vowing to add many electric models to their line-ups, Porsche’s sports car heritage makes its Mission E a true competitor to the Model S, which boasts a lofty price, wicked acceleration and an exclusive caché.

The Mission E debuted as a concept a few years ago, and while its overall design has remained intact a few nifty features won’t be retained. The futuristic cameras-as-side-view-mirrors will not make the production model due to a range of regulations in many of Porsche’s key markets, including the U.S.

But the sedan’s “suicide doors” — rear doors from the back — are still shown as being part of the package in recent photos proffered by the company.

Porsche plans to build the Mission E at the company’s headquarters in Zuffenhausen, Germany, just outside of Stuttgart (some of its other models are built in factories in Leipzig, Germany). That decision means Porsche “will need to recruit well over 1,000 new production and development employees,” said Weckbach.

Porsche’s first all-electric model should be priced the same as the current Panamera sedan: $100,000, which is also about the cost of some upper-level Model S sedans. It will have a 400-mile range compared to the Tesla’s sedans 315 miles, and will hit a top speed of 155 mph, about the same as the Model S.

Porsche cars have long been lauded for innovative gasoline engines, but now the company is doubling down on electrification.

Beyond committing to the Mission E, Porsche also shocked the racing community last year by pulling out of France’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, one of the world’s most famous endurance races, which it had won repeatedly with hybrid-engine technology.

Instead, the automaker plans to field a new race car in 2019 for the electric car series, Formula E.



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