Last week at the IAA Mobility Conference in Munich, one particular brand stood out, and if it weren’t in the headline, you probably could have guessed it would be Porsche. For the first time, the IAA Conference has migrated from Frankfurt to Munich and now gave a greater focus on mobility generally, rather than just being your standard fare automotive show. The vibe at Porsche was unique, bucking the trend of a standard convention hall booth, and instead, erected a wild display in the center of Munich, a refreshing format after everyone has been locked up indoors for most of the last two years. The program at Porsche felt more like festivities than dry reveals, featuring past concepts that had never been seen before by the public, new concept reveals, alternative mobility such as the Porsche eBike, as well as fashion and cultural projects.
First, the Concept Mission R. The Mission R is the first product from Porsche that conceptualizes what a fully electric customer racing series car could look like within the Porsche ecosystem. Think a 718 GT4 Clubsport for the future, and inevitably, a glimpse into the future of what a fully electric Porsche sports car could be. My guess is on a future Cayman. The Taycan was introduced a few years ago to slowly trickle electric mobility into the Porsche owner’s psyche, and with the Mission R, Porsche introduces another side of what electric mobility can be. For anyone who ever thought electric cars lacked excitement (present company included), the Mission R might be the first product to pour water on such notions. I hope to see this go into production and be the basis for the Porsche racing series like the GT4 Sprint series of today.
Last year, during the height of the pandemic, Porsche graced us all with “Porsche Unseen,” a book of past Porsche design studies, some that never made it to public view, much less production. The cover of “Porsche Unseen” is graced by the 919 Street, which was finally on display for public consumption at Porsche’s IAA display. Introduced in 2017, the imagined hypercar envisages what truly a road-going version of the 919 Hybrid LMP1 race car would be. Utilizing the same 900 horsepower hybrid powertrain and carbon fiber monocoque and the same overall proportions and wheelbase as its Le Mans winning inspiration.
On the non-automotive side of things, a focus of this year’s IAA was mobility beyond cars and Porsche came with its eBike line which was available for demo rides. Built in collaboration with German eBike manufacturer ROTWILD, Porsche says its eBike line is an evolution of its corporate e-mobility vision which began with the Taycan. Porsche even shared variant models such as ‘Sport’ and ‘Cross’, derived from the automotive “Sport Turismo” and “Cross Turismo,” respectively. The Porsche eBike will get up to 125 km of range in Sport trim and 100 km in Cross trim, and both will charge to 80% in 2.5 hours.
And last but not least, the biggest cultural news in the Porsche-sphere at IAA was the collaboration between Porsche and L’ART DE L’AUTOMOBILE, which the latter has been teasing for some time now through its Instagram channel. And this weekend Arthur Kar and Adrien Leborgne of L’ART took the stage for a conversation with Dominik Hildebrandt, Head of Porsche Brand Collaborations, to discuss the project’s conception and inspiration whilst providing a glimpse into the relationship between the two automotive innovators. The project was revealed for the first time to be a sort of postmodern Porsche 968 concept car designed by the L’ART team, historically one of the lesser loved Porsche models by enthusiasts until recently, which is appropriately controversial coming from the house of Arthur Kar. The L’ART 968 concept and the corresponding product collection will be revealed during Paris Fashion Week later this month.
The Porsche IAA festivities reintroduced a welcome sense of normalcy for the international automotive community after the show was canceled last year due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Porsche fans are loyal, and Porsche put on a show that reinforced the deep community of enthusiasts surrounding this brand, something no other manufacturer can really mirror. Each night ended with DJs and parties that were open to the public, and the weekend concluded with an exclusive rally through the Bavarian Alps. The rally included a who’s who of Porsche-philes from across the world, from actor and “Road to Le Mans” star Michael Fassbender; Arthur Kar and Adrien Leborgne of L’ART DE L’AUTOMOBILE; Director Jonas Lindstroem; and racing driver Laura Marie Geissler.