► Porsche Taycan: sporting brand's first EV
► Previously known as Mission E concept
► Shares J1 platform with Audi e-Tron GT
Porsche’s grand electric vehicle (EV) plan is starting to take shape as we approach 2020, and it appears to be catering for every niche. We’ve already seen the confirmed-for-production Taycan saloon several times, but less clear to see are Stuttgart's plans for derivatives of the all-electric car.
We know the Mission E Cross Turismo has been green-lit for production, but these new spyshots show a lower, Sports Turismo-style version of the Taycan cold-weather testing in Sweden. Is this simply a Taycan Sports Turismo – or is it the flattened, production version of the Cross Turismo?
Looks-wise, it could be either: the rear lights look like mixture of the Panamera estate and current Taycan's, and the back of the car is also finished off with the fake exhaust tips we've seen on Porsche's other EV mules.
Either way, it’s clear that Porsche is doubling down on the sporty-yet-practical crossover, estate and saloon markets right now – leaving Audi and Mercedes to fight out the electric SUV market with the e-Tron and EQC.
Porsche Taycan: everything you need to know
The Porsche Taycan is the first electric car from Stuttgart and one of the most anticipated EVs ever. First unveiled back in 2015 at the Frankfurt motor show as the Mission E, the production version fits somewhere in between the Panamera and the new 911 in terms of size.
So, how much will the Taycan cost, how will you charge it and how fast will it be? Keep reading for absolutely everything we know about the new Porsche Taycan. Oh, and Taycan means lively young horse with soul, by the way.
Porsche Taycan ft Audi...
The Porsche Taycan uses the same J1 platform as Audi’s e-Tron GT car, which is also going to make the jump to production. It’s not the last time we’ll see the two work together either; after these two sports saloons, we’ll get the PPE platform.
‘Porsche is working with its VW stablemate on a seperate platform called the Premium Performance Electric or PPE,’ said Stefan Weckbach, head of BEV at Porsche. ‘E-mobility is a Herculean task, and that’s also true in monetary terms. Group-wide cooperation is therefore a huge plus for us.
The new Porsche 911: everything you need to know
‘We’re working very closely with our counterparts, in particular at Audi, on the use of joint modules for the e-vehicles we are currently planning. The brands are also working on the joint development of a platform for new BEV projects in the future.’
We should expect three SUV or saloon models from that in the future, enabled by the economies of scale sparked by working with sister brands. By teaming up, Audi and Porsche are jointly saving 30% in R&D costs.
How fast is the Taycan?
The electric four-door has the electric equivalent of some 600hp, or 592bhp, making it the second brawniest Porsche after the GT2 RS. Porsche claims the Taycan will sprint from 0-62mph in 'less than 3.5 seconds', dashing past 124mph in just a dozen seconds. Top speed meanwhile will be 'more than 155mph'.
The Audi e-Tron GT revealed
A dual-motor layout delivers four-wheel drive and the 911's four-wheel steering features for agility that would surprise most four-seaters, according to insiders. The batteries are mounted as low as possible within the composite construction for a ground-hugging centre of gravity.
In Stuttgart at the company’s annual earnings conference in 2018, Porsche let slip that the Taycan would be powered by LG batteries from South Korea – but the cells have been designed and built specifically for the Taycan, so they’re not appearing in any other EVs. Long-term, Porsche would be pooling its resources within the VW Group to eventually produce its own batteries.
How will the Taycan handle?
One constant question Porsche has to face right now is: ‘how do you make an electric car feel like a Porsche?’ And it’s a reasonable thing to ask, especially when it comes to EVs. Take the 911 GT3; it’s one of the most responsive cars on the road – thanks in part to its naturally aspirated flat-six – but how do you deliver that instant response and hit of acceleration in a marketplace where e-motors with tonnes of torque and linear power delivery come straight off the shelf?
The quick answer: Porsche says it’ll be going deeper into the response and power characteristics of EVs, and there’s more to it than just pure acceleration. For example, steering and braking feel are both something Porsche prides itself on, and the company expects them to be a good area of differentiation in its EV. No wooden brake feel here, say the engineers.
And unlike other cars such as the Tesla Roadster, which can only achieve its headline-grabbing figures twice before needing to cool down, Porsche wants the Taycan car to deliver the same level of performance at all times.
‘Porsche drivers won’t need to worry about throttling performance,’ said Weckbach. ‘The Mission E will offer reproducible performance and a top speed which can be maintained for long periods, he vows.
What will Porsche’s EV look like?
Although the Taycan was first revealed all the way back in 2015, we still haven’t seen a final production version of the car. We have, however, seen several testing mules of the new Porsche EV, and they suggest its design is pretty much finished.
Expect a Panamera and 992-hybrid, along the Cayman-ish production headlights installed, too. So basically a greatest hits of contemporary Porsche design.
That’s no surprise though, as the Taycan is designed to slot between the 992 and Panamera models in terms of size and performance.
How does an electric Porsche sound?
The Taycan will sound like an electric car, in the same way that the GT3 sounds like a flat-six monster. That is, while the car’s acoustics may be tuned to sound as pleasant or aggressive as possible, there won’t be any synthetic i8-style noise.
‘Porsche is unlikely to lower itself to gimmicks of this kind or use sound effects to mimic a bubbling eight-cylinder,’ explains Weckbach. ‘But we will give due consideration to sound as an emotional factor in the Taycan, using the design approach typical of Porsche and incorporating a clear reference to the technology.’ Think more Formula E racer sound, than Nissan Leaf sound then.
What models and trims are we getting?
According to a tweet from automotive journalist Alex Roy, the Porsche Taycan is going to come in around a year’s time in a handful of different variants, and the top model is going to be called the Turbo. This confirms what we reported earlier on this year about the EV.
The tweet allegedly comes from a Porsche representative, and confirms what we initially thought; the Taycan will be released in standard, 4S and Turbo trim. The tweet goes on to say that the base model will cost $90,000 with the 4S reaching up to $100,000 and the ‘Turbo’ topping $130,000.
Offering a choice of performance levels gives the Porsche EV a wider market appeal, different price points and an answer to the Tesla Model S, which also comes in 75D, 100D and P100D flavours. We understood the Taycan will be available with some very familiar-sounding badges, reflecting the performance ladder:
- Carrera 300kW equivalent to 396bhp
- Carrera S 400kW equivalent to 529bhp
- Turbo 500kW equivalent to 661bhp
How will you charge the Porsche Taycan?
Like the Audi e-Tron GT, Porsche says the Taycan will be compatible with 800v power points, and that makes for some very quick charging, indeed: Porsche is touting 400km in 20 minutes, 80% charge in 17 minutes and up to 100km in just four minutes. That’s actually quick enough for a coffee stop.
You’ll be able to charge your Porsche at slower points or other 800V chargers, but like Tesla, Porsche is keen to create a branded refuelling experience, too. Stuttgart has designed a modular charging system which should make it easier to integrate into different-sized spaces. Porsche is using Combined Charging System (CCS1/CCS2) as the European standard but says other types of charger could be used with small alterations.
Software is also a key factor, and Porsche will use it to smooth out the customer’s charging experience. In a step above Tesla’s own Supercharger network, Michael says Porsche drivers will be able to easily reserve charging spots as part of a normal sat-nav-led journey.
‘Take the Turbo Charging Planner for our battery electric powertrains as another example,' said Uwe Michael, head of the Electrics/Electronics Development Division at Porsche. 'Quick-charge options are optimally matched to your route planning and charging pedestals are pre-reserved, meaning that you can gain that all-important advantage and lose as little time as possible. Added value of this kind helps to determine the essence of the brand.’
And ulike Tesla, which sees charging as a financial incentive to buy into its ecosystem, Porsche wants to use charging as an additional revenue stream. Despite that, US customers are going to get 3 years of 30 minute charges for free, if they use the Electrify network.
Where is Porsche going to build it?
The new Taycan will be built in Porsche’s Zuffenhausen plant, alongside the 911 – but with space and time at a premium, the extra facilities needed for the Taycan are being built around the existing, working factory. Over 1200 jobs will be created by the new car.
According to a German newspaper, Porsche has normal doubled its production targets for the new EV, so around 40,000 Taycan’s should be leaving the factory. That should give Stuttgart ample return on its recent €700m investment on the site.
Further electric car reading
The best electric cars and EVs on sale today
How much does it cost to charge an electric car?
The best hybrids, plug-ins and PHEVs
The Audi e-Tron GT revealed