Audi will introduce its first volume electric car this year in the form of the e-tron SUV. Fellow Volkswagen Group member Porsche will follow in 2019 with its own electric car in the form of the production version of 2015's Mission E concept.
The two cars ride on distinct platforms developed independently, C-BEV in the case of Audi and J1 in the case of Porsche. However, for the automakers' next-generation electric cars which will be arriving as early as 2021, a jointly developed platform dubbed the PPE (Premium Platform Electric) is in the works.
The PPE will be flexible enough to spawn low- and high-riding models in multiple size categories. The VW Group has already locked in “three model families,” two of them for Audi and the remainder for Porsche. About 550 engineers from Audi and 300 from Porsche are currently working on the project.
Considering Porsche's J1 in the production Mission E is expected to deliver 300 miles or more in range and an 800-volt charging system enabling 80 percent of the battery to be charged in around 15 minutes, the PPE should offer similar performance or better.
Audi e-tron Quattro concept, 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show
By teaming their efforts, Audi and Porsche, and any other VW Group brands that use the platform, will be able to get electric cars to the market faster and at significantly lower cost than if they continued independently. It also enables them to create a larger scope for the platform, not only in the area of electrification but also in digitization and self-driving capability.
“If we had to tackle the challenges ahead on our own, the costs would be around 30 percent higher,” Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said in a statement.
Audi will also rely on the MEB (Modular Electric Toolkit) platform developed by Volkswagen, for its compact cars. Meanwhile, Porsche is thought to be working on a separate platform for electric sports cars, referred to as the SPE (Sports Platform Electric). However, cars on the SPE platform aren't expected until after 2025.
Both automakers will also continue to offer internal combustion-powered cars based on conventional platforms for the foreseeable future.