Back in March, a Porsche exec said that the brand expected to make a profit from its planned network of fast chargers, a comment that was met with much skepticism in the EV industry. Now the company is sending a rather different message, saying that its US dealers will be expected to pony up between $300,000 and $400,000 each to defray the cost of installing high-speed chargers.
The economics of public charging aside, there’s no question that Porsche is ahead of the curve on fast charging. It has developed its own 800-volt charging system, and plans to deploy a network of 700 charging stations in North America in time for the launch of the Taycan electric sedan in early 2020.
Some 200 of those chargers are to be located at Porsche’s 190 dealerships. Porsche Cars North America CEO Klaus Zellmer acknowledged that this will be “quite a heavy investment,” which will take retailers some time to recoup. “It’s typical, if you’re an entrepreneur, that the investment doesn’t pay off within the first one-two-three years,” Zellmer told Automotive News.
Porsche plans to invest more than €6 billion ($6.9 billion) on vehicle electrification by 2022. “We expect by 2025, roughly 50 percent of our products to be electrified, either with a fully electric engine or with a plug-in hybrid,” said Porsche Sales Chief Detlev von Platen.
Klaus Zellmer says dealers must invest if they hope to get into the EV game. “You need to establish the tech prerequisites to show what the car can do, which first for customers is charging.”
Dealerships have proven to be a major bottleneck along the road to EV adoption, and a lack of chargers is often cited as one of the problems. “We have to make sure that these cars are properly charged upon demo,” said Philadelphia Porsche dealer Robert DiStanislao. “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.”
Dealers will be expected to install at least two 350 kW chargers at each location, along with a buffer battery. Todd Blue, who runs three California dealerships, conceded that the cost will be painful for some lower-volume dealers, but said that Porsche may consider letting smaller dealerships lease chargers through Porsche Financial Services.
“More than likely we’ll be subsidizing these ports,” agreed DiStanislao, who is a member of the Porsche Dealer Board of Regents.
Source: Automotive News