The boss of Porsche on speed limits, SUVs and the environment: part 2
Earlier this week we published the first part of an interview with Porsche CEO Oliver Blume, about the future of the sports car manufacturer. In part two, he talks about the Taycan and Tesla, introducing general speed limits on German motorways, and SUVs ...
Q: The Taycan was launched on the market years after the Tesla Model S but still has a shorter range. Do you have to admit defeat to Tesla?
A: Not at all. I can simply advise you to test drive both cars and decide for yourself. I have a great deal of respect for how Tesla operates and for the innovations they have incorporated into their cars. Measuring an electric car’s range is not straightforward and the results heavily depend on which test cycle is applied. The Taycan has a sporty design and has a range of approximately 450 kilometres in the new European WLTP test cycle. The U.S. cycle is based on a very slow speed profile which is why the Tesla is rated better than our sporty car. For long-distance driving, however, the charging time plays an important role. With its 800-volt network, our Taycan is far superior in this category.
Q: If speed determines the range, what do you think about a general speed limit on German motorways?
A: I don’t think much of the idea. It is a question of politics. Like many Porsche drivers and many of my colleagues in the company, I regard the fact that there is no speed limit on German motorways as a matter of personal freedom. We should give people this freedom. A speed limit is often used as an argument for reducing the number of accidents. However, the accident rate on German motorways is five times lower than on country roads. Statistically speaking, motorways are among the safest roads in the world. I am against the idea of a speed limit on motorway sections where you can drive safely without jeopardising the safety of others.
Q: Porsche sells an increasing number of SUVs which are heavily criticised …
A: This is a very German discussion which is not understood at all in China or the US. There, people ask why are SUVs in Germany so small? People who drive SUVs are people who have a lot to transport or appreciate the driving comfort and safety of sitting higher up in the vehicle.
Q: The climate package proposed by the German government includes a recommendation to heavily tax cars with particularly high CO2 emissions such as SUVs. Do you think this is a good idea?
A: We will have to wait to see what the conclusion to this political discussion is. In general, I think it makes sense to create incentives for more environmentally friendly cars – for example for hybrids and e-cars. This endorses the strategy which we have adopted at Porsche. Lower taxes on climate-neutral cars and an attractive infrastructure are helpful recommendations, but higher taxes are not.
Q: The more SUVs your customers drive, the harder it will be to meet the CO2 requirements of the EU.
A: Five years ago, nobody would have believed that Porsche could meet the fleet CO2 emission value. Today, we can confirm that our strategic course of action will result in us being well below the target requirements in the future. Porsche is an innovative, driving force in this area; as a sports car manufacturer, we will be below the average fleet emission value by 2021 already. And in sustainable terms too.