The Porsche Taycan is set to rewrite electric car performance benchmarks, with official technical specifications and data released for the first time – ahead of the car’s Frankfurt motor show reveal – suggesting it will eclipse all mainstream rivals in every sporting regard, barring the 0-100kph sprint.
Key to the Taycan’s performance capabilities, Porsche says, is the decision to use permanent synchronous motors (PSM) rather than cheaper, but larger, heavier and less consistent asynchronous motors (ASM). It says the packaging, thermal management and high-efficiency benefits of them justify their extra cost.
Although the Taycan’s 90kWh battery pushes the car’s weight above 2.2 tonnes, the Taycan has the lowest centre of gravity of any Porsche on sale today – and close to the 918 Spyder’s – and weight distribution is a near ideal 49:51.
Through electronic control mechanisms the motors’ capabilities extend to enhancing the Taycan’s response and handling, which insiders working on the project say was regarded as needing to be “not just class-leading, but a step change beyond what’s available already”. Throttle response is five times quicker than on a combustion-engined car, for instance, traction control is 10 times faster and torque vectoring from front to rear is five times faster, while an electronic limited slip differential can respond to wheel slip 50 times faster than a mechanical setup. Porsche Stability Management is also standard: set it in a Sport mode and it offers limited intervention. Crucially for enthusiasts, the system can be switched off entirely.
Advantages over existing rivals are not limited to electronic advances, however. Porsche also highlighted a unique suspension setup based on the Panamera’s but using a three-chamber air suspension that also allows for the car to drop 22mm at speed, enhancing efficiency and lowering the centre of gravity, and to lift it by 20mm in the face of any obstacles.
Porsche’s Dynamic Chassis Control is available as an option and, using an actuator derived from the Panamera’s system, can reduce body roll to almost zero degrees, even at maximum lateral load, and respond to understeer or oversteer in milliseconds. Rear-axle steering also aids high-speed stability and low-speed manoeuvring.
Porsche says the Taycan’s two electric motors, producing a combined 625hp and 850Nm of torque in the Turbo, deliver a 0-100kph time of 3.2sec. In the Turbo S, meanwhile, they hit a peak of 760hp and 1,050Nm with an overboost function that shortens that sprint to 2.8sec. Performance is enhanced by a 2-speed gearbox on the rear axle, which has a short ratio for maximum acceleration from a standstill. Depending on the selected mode the Taycan can also switch between four-, rear- and front-wheel drive. The Taycan has already set a Nürburgring lap record for four-door, all-electric sportscars with a time of 7min 42sec – around the same that the 997-generation 911 GT3 achieved at the track.
Furthermore, Porsche has pledged that the Taycan will not want for practicality, with the Turbo offering an official range of 452km based on the latest test regime and the Turbo S at 420 km. It is expected to be offered in four- and five-seat versions, and has 82 litres of front luggage space and 400 litres in the boot – with the rear dimensions having been dictated by creating enough room for two golf bags to fit in.
Although the Taycan is shorter than the conventionally-powered Panamera, it is notable for having deep footwells – described by Porsche as ‘foot garages’ – for rear-seat passengers, made possible by ending the floor-mounted battery pack under the front seats. This allows for significantly boosted rear space and makes it potentially comfortable for adults on long journeys. Other interior highlights include the 911-derived driving position and the eye-catching use of a configurable 16.8-inch digital instrument panel, a 10.9-inch infotainment screen and an 8.4-inch screen for the climate control below that. Buyers have the option of adding a fourth 10.9-inch touchscreen for the front passenger, too.
Other features include wireless software updates, which can upgrade battery and charging performance, and infotainment functionality over the air. Standard kit on the Taycan Turbo includes 20-inch alloys, adaptive air suspension that can lower the car by 22mm, Apple CarPlay (but not Android Auto as Porsche data suggests all but a handful of its owners use Apple products), a Bose stereo, matrix LED headlights and dual-zone climate control. The Turbo S adds 21-inch wheels, upgraded brakes and 18-way electrically adjustable seats.
The Taycan also stands out for being the first car to use an 800V electrical system, enabling charging at 350kW, which can give 100km of range in five minutes, or take the battery from 5 percent to 80 percent in around 20 minutes. Chargers capable of this are currently only offered by Ionity, a growing European network set up by car manufacturers to which Taycan buyers get a three-year subscription.
If hooked up to a slower charger, the Taycan uses a 400V on-board charger, rather than allowing electricity directly into the battery. This allows up to 50kW of energy flow but can be upgraded for a fee to accept 150kW. Porsche says a 11kW charger requires six to eight hours to take the car from 5 percent to 80 percent.
Porsche provides a three-year warranty, on the Taycan itself, while the battery is covered separately for eight years, with a guarantee that it won’t drop below 70 percent of its original capacity in that time.
The firm says it has taken 30,000 reservations for the Taycan so far. Board member Dr Meschke said plant capacity is 20,000 but is “flexible”. However, he added, some customers could be waiting a year for delivery.
Porsche will launch cheaper, less powerful versions of the Taycan in the coming months. While being less powerful, they will not decrease in electric range over the Turbo and Turbo S, said Porsche boss Oliver Blume. He also hinted at more powerful versions following in the footsteps of a typical 911 model strategy.
Blume added that there are “a lot of opportunities with the (PPE) platform”. He namechecked the next electric model to arrive late next year – the Taycan Cross Turismo. “One opportunity is the Cross Turismo, a car with more space and that can off-road. I’ve tested it off-road and it was as exciting as the Taycan was on track.”
2020 Porsche Taycan image gallery
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