Like all of us, you’re going to be very, very rich in the future. We all know this. And, as a very rich person, you’re going to be in a market for a hypercar with proper billionaire-style doors. Also, you’re probably going to want it to be electric, because what are you, Amish? Porsche has your back here, or at least an idea, because they just announced their new electric concept hypercar, the Mission X. At the moment it’s just a design and tech study, but this is likely the template for Porsche’s next hypercar, following in the tire tracks of the 959, Carrera GT, and 918.
The design, unlike many modern hypercar designs, isn’t trying to telegraph the technology as its main visual thrust, but instead feels more flowing and curvy, maybe even sensual, if I can say that without making everybody feel kinda gross. Refreshingly, aggression isn’t the primary emotional motivator behind the design, and that appears to be a deliberate choice from Porsche, who says in their press release,
“The Mission X represents the pinnacle of performance and modern luxury. At the same time, its sculpted form and muscular lines demonstrate that hypercars do not have to look aggressive. “
That’s great! The greenhouse is a glass dome with a carbon fiber reinforced plastic exoskeleton, and the doors open Porsche 917-style, up and forwards:
The lighting signature is vertical, inspired by the old Porsche 906 and 908 racing cars, but incorporating modern Porsche’s four-point lighting visual identity, and I think it works very well, feeling very hypercar-appropriate.
Around the back, Porsche has put some welcome thought into the taillight treatment. From the press release:
A full-length light unit that appears to float characterizes the rear of the Mission X. Transparent, illuminated Porsche lettering is a standout feature. The sculptural rear light emerges, as if suspended in the air, from a support structure and extends across the entire width of the vehicle in four segments. While charging, the ‘E’ of the Porsche lettering pulses.
Looking at it, it is extremely dimensional, as they’ve basically made a dimensional plastic logo/sign into a heckblende-style taillight.
Porsche has some lofty goals for this car, or, really, whatever car ends up being the production development of this:
be the fastest road-legal vehicle around the Nürburgring Nordschleife
have a power-to-weight ratio of roughly one hp per 2.2 lbs.
achieve downforce values that are well in excess of those delivered by the current 911 GT3 RS
offer significantly improved charging performance with its 900-volt system architecture and charge roughly twice as quickly as the current Porsche frontrunner, the Taycan Turbo S
To achieve these very non-trivial triumphs, they’ve done a lot of smart engineering. The battery pack, for example, is installed centrally, behind the seats, giving the car essentially the same sort of mass distribution as the mid-engined racing cars they’ve been making for decades. This means, of course, significant agility, and by doing this instead of the more EV-traditional battery-as-skateboard-chassis design of most EVs, they’re able to make the overall car much lower.
The interior is quite striking, with what look like carbon fiber reinforced plastic shell seats inset with cushioned panels that, in their leather-covered goodness, remind me of a chocolate bar. There’s a special mount (Porsche says “bayonet system”) on the passenger’s side for a stopwatch module, so you can use this for track and rally timing needs. They also say it has “vital data of the driver,” which makes me wonder if it’s measuring pulse or respiration?
There’s also a full set of cameras to record whatever shenanigans, or possibly hijinx, you get into in one of these, all activated from a single REC button on the dash.
Porsche goes into the layout and drivetrain in more detail in their press materials:
The next generation of powerful, permanently excited synchronous machines (PSM) are used as electric motors – similar to the Mission R concept study. The direct cooling of the stator guides the oil directly along the copper windings. The heat from the motor can thus be dissipated directly at the source and the efficiency of the electric motors can be increased.
As is typical in motor sports, a very high peak and continuous output as well as a very high level of efficiency are achieved. Thanks to the enormous performance potential of the electric motors, the power is transmitted to the wheels via a compact, weight-optimized 1-speed gearbox without sacrificing acceleration. The energy for propulsion is supplied by a high-performance battery with state-of-the-art technology paired with a 900-volt system architecture. The very high voltage enables performance advantages without sacrificing weight and additional heat losses.
The battery, which is also equipped with direct oil cooling, offers an optimal combination of efficiency, weight and performance with its high-end performance cells. The cell chemistry is designed for maximum performance. The battery installed centrally behind the seats in the vehicle (so-called E-Core layout) enables a low, driver-optimized seating position. Compared to an underbody battery, the E-Core layout centers the mass in the vehicle. Similar to a conventionally powered mid-engine vehicle, this enables outstanding agility.
Porsche also notes that “cooling systems are also integrated directly into the supporting structures of the body” which is very, um, cool. I’ve seen racing cars that use the internal volumes of their roll cages for coolant reservoirs, so I wonder if there’s something similar in concept happening here. The battery pack is also noted to be structural, so I’m guessing replacement won’t be cheap, in case you were planning to pick one of these up for a song in, say, 2072.