The 100 per cent electric Mission E boasts an 800-volt drive system, more than 600 horse power and is capable of more than 310 miles on a single charge.
Though it loses out to the Model S in terms of acceleration — doing 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds, versus less than 3 seconds for Tesla — the charging time is impressive. Porsche says it can reach an 80 per cent charge of electrical energy in only 15 minutes.
The car is only at the concept phase, but Porsche — which is owned by VW — said it would decide by the end of the year whether to bring the car into production.
VW also used its traditional eve-of-show party to display a similarly capable electric vehicle under its Audi brand. The e-tron quattro, teased several weeks ago, is a sport utility vehicle that can also do 310 miles and boasts no less than three electric motors.
Again, the car is only at the concept stage, but VW promises it will be delivered by early 2018.
"The Porsche Mission E and the Audi e-tron quattro concept are nothing less than a quantum leap for our industry," said Mr Winterkorn.
That quantum leap has been some time coming. Whether through lack of products or lack of consumer demand, the market for zero-emission vehicles has been painfully slow to take off. Battery electrics account for a less than 1 per cent of sales in most developed markets.
The two cars from VW are not mass-market entrants but a nod to the premium electric vehicle market so far colonised by Californian carmaker Tesla. The company, run by billionaire co-founder Elon Musk, is set to start shipping its Model X SUV at the end of this month, but will not show the car in Frankfurt.