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Who's most excited for Porsche's all-electric Taycan? Tesla owners

Porsche's been offering preorders on its upcoming Taycan electric sports car for some time now, and while it won't tell us how many folks have plunked down a deposit, the company does have some interesting metrics to share.

2019 will be a good year for premium EV fans. While the Jaguar I-Pace SUV is already on the market, Audi will bring its E-Tron to the fold in just a few months, and the Mercedes-Benz EQC lands before year's end. More a fan of sports cars? Don't worry, Porsche has a car for you. It's the Taycan, the company's first full-production EV, and Porsche now has enough interest in the car from potential buyers to share some interesting trends. 

While we still haven't seen the final production version of Taycan, we know a lot about it, including a remarkable 600 horsepower and a range of greater than 300 miles on the European test cycle. I've even driven an early prototype of the car and I can tell you I'm very, very keen to get behind the wheel of the real thing.

Apparently, I'm not the only one. At this year's LA Auto Show, Porsche North America President and CEO Klaus Zellmer told me that the company has seen "pretty amazing" response to the call for interested parties to preorder the car with deposit. No, he wouldn't give me a number, but did say this: "If all the people [who preordered] buy this car, then we are sold out for the first year."

When launching a new model into an already-crowded production line, a natural concern for a company like Porsche would be self-cannibalization. Does your new product overlap so strongly with your existing ones that you won't actually reach any new buyers? It's a threat that Apple has willfully ignored for years, releasing products like the iPad Mini and now a plethora of iPhones, devices that potentially segment rather than expand their user-base. Clearly, it's worked there.

Zellmer, likewise, isn't too concerned. "More than half of the people that are signing up for the Taycan have not owned or do not own a Porsche," he said. So what do they drive? "Typically, if we look at our source of business, people coming from other brands, it's Audi, BMW, or Mercedes. The no. 1 brand now is Tesla. That's pretty interesting, to see that people that were curious about the Tesla for very good reasons obviously don't stop being curious."

Bringing someone over from another brand is called a conquest, and with the display of the Audi E-Tron GT, Porsche might have to worry about a little conquesting from its corporate cousin. The E-Tron GT and Taycan will share a platform, much like BMW's 2019 Z4 and the new Toyota Supra, meaning very similar performance and capability figures. However, Zellmer told me that Porsche's and Audi's performance-minded EVs should drive very differently.

"When it's about being competitive," he said, "it's something that really has to fully speak Porsche. If you drive a Macan, you know that we share a platform [with Audi], but it's a completely different car. And that's exactly what has to happen and I'm sure Audi has followed a same path."

Whether you're championing or conquesting, competition is very good for we consumers. It raises the bar, and next year we'll see which EVs are good enough to clear it.

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