The production version the Porsche Taycan is yet to be unveiled, but plans for the vehicle’s rollout are already underway. In a recent announcement, Porsche noted that it is increasing the planned rollout of high-speed chargers in the United States to more than 700, an increase of roughly 40%. The installation of around 200 of these rapid chargers is expected to be covered by dealers themselves.
The cost of the rapid chargers is quite substantial. Porsche, for one, estimates that retailers would likely have to invest around $300,000 to $400,000 per store on average for the installation of the EV charging system. In a statement to Automotive News, Porsche Cars North America CEO Klaus Zellmer admitted that the financial weight of the fast chargers would be heavy for dealers. Zellmer further warned that the payoff for investments in the charging system would probably take a long time.
“The financial ask of dealers is actually quite a heavy investment, and a payoff could take a while. It’s typical, if you’re an entrepreneur, that the investment doesn’t pay off within the first one-two-three years. It’s a long-term investment,” the Porsche executive said.
While Porsche retailers in the United States would carry some of the weight of the company’s expanding electrification initiatives, such changes are deemed necessary. Porsche, after all, is on a steady path towards electrification, with the company recently noting that it would be completely discontinuing its diesel lineup. By 2025, Porsche expects 50% of its vehicles to be either full electric, or at least electrified. Thus, one way or another, Porsche’s dealerships would have to embrace electric cars in the coming years.
This is why it is pertinent for the company to start investing in a rapid charging system. The Porsche Taycan is only the first all-electric vehicle from the company, and it is set to be followed by a series of other pedigreed zero-emissions cars like the Mission E Cross Turismo. Zellmer noted that ultimately, the company has to “establish the tech prerequisites to show what the car can do, which first for customers is charging.”
Todd Blue, CEO of IndiGO Auto Group, which operates three Porsche stores in Houston, St. Louis, and Rancho Mirage, CA, noted that the legacy carmaker could consider allowing smaller dealerships to lease the rapid chargers through Porsche Financial Services. This was echoed by Porsche exec Robert DiStanislao, who noted that the investment in electric car chargers is something that needs to be done.
“More than likely we’ll be subsidizing these ports. We have to make sure that these cars are properly charged upon demo. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression,” he said.
Porsche notes that dealers will be given a choice whether to charge fees for the fast chargers or not. That said, DiStanislao pointed out that on-site rapid chargers would ultimately create sales and service opportunities for the company’s dealers.
“We want customers in our showrooms. We want them to see all the models,” DiStanislao stated.
In order to further prepare for the Taycan’s arrival, Porsche is also looking into partnering with third-party networks that are already active in the United States. Among thee are Electrify America, ChargePoint, and EVgo, as a means to augment its upcoming charging network. By the end of 2018, Porsche is looking to secure a deal with at least one third-party EV charging provider.