► Porsche Taycan: sporting brand's first EV
► Previously known as Mission E concept
► Shares J1 platform with Audi e-Tron GT
The Porsche Taycan will be taking on Goodwood’s famous hillclimb this weekend, with Mark Webber behind the wheel. The first UK outing for the Taycan is part of a larger tour over the next few months, with each location chosen for the strength of its electric car market. Right now the car is in Shanghai (see picture above), and after Goodwood it’ll go to the US.
You’ll still have to wait until late 2019 to see the full production car, though. The Taycan will wear a light camouflage wrap at the 2019 Festival of Speed, so the rear lights are obscured and the front of the car looks as though it’s had its eyes gouged out. Ignore the sticker around the real headlights, and that’s what we’re expecting for production.
Our guide to the Goodwood Festival of Speed
The Taycan roadshow will form part of some six million kilometres of testing, as Porsche tests its EV in a variety of climatic conditions.
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Taycan: the artist formerly known as Mission E
First unveiled back in 2015 at the Frankfurt motor show as the Mission E (below), the production version fits somewhere in between the Panamera and the new 911 in terms of size, according to CAR's dossier.
Porsche wants more than half of its vehicles sold to be electric by 2025, and the Taycan – along with the Taycan Cross Turismo shooting brake which will follow soon after – represents the first few miles of that very long road to electrification. It’s an important new chapter for the storied sports car brand from Stuttgart.
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: everything you need to know
This car uses the same J1 platform as Audi’s e-Tron GT car, which is also going to make the jump from concept car catwalk to production. It’s not the last time we’ll see the two brands work together; 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.
‘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 architecture 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, Weckbach said.
The new Porsche 911: everything you need to know
What will the Porsche Taycan look like?
How will it remain a Porsche, is a question every 911 fan will ask, and the company itself has pondered the question too. Now we have an answer of sorts. ‘There is the sporty flyline, the flared hip, the contour of the windows, the four-point daytime driving lights and the slender head on broad shoulders,’ the company has pledged. ‘All of these mean that a Porsche is already identified long before its engine sound can be heard.’
Combine that with new spyshots and teaser images inevitably seeping out of Stuttgart and we’ve got a good idea of what the new Taycan will look like. Essentially we're expecting a 'greatest hits' of the current Porsche range, with Cayman/Panamera-style headlights mixed with a Panemera/992-style rear. The full-width rear lamps are now a staple across the board.
How fast will the Taycan be?
The electric four-door has the electric equivalent of some 600hp, or 592bhp, making it the second brawniest Porsche after the GT2 RS, according to the latest stats. 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.
Chairman Oliver Blume told CAR that he had driven the new Taycan in spring 2019 alongside a 911 in winter testing. 'It's going to be a lot of fun - and very surprising,' he said.
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?
‘What characterises a purebred Porsche is the fact that it always actively involves its driver,’ August Achleitner, engineer of the 911 range for 18 years told CAR magazine. ‘And this philosophy is contained in the Taycan, just as much as in the 911. The adjustment period from one vehicle to the next takes a few minutes. If even that.’
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 time after time.
‘Porsche drivers won’t need to worry about throttling performance,’ said Weckbach. ‘The Mission E [Taycan] will offer reproducible performance and a top speed which can be maintained for long periods, he vows.
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? And how much will the Porsche Taycan cost?
We hear that the Taycan will be released in standard, 4S and Turbo trim - following the model ladder of any Porsche, in other words. The base model will cost around $90,000 in the US, with the 4S reaching up to $100,000 and the ‘Turbo’ topping $130,000, according to well placed insiders.
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 until recently came in 75D, 100D and P100D flavours. We understand 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
Exact specs and outputs will be confirmed nearer to the car's launch.
How will you charge the Porsche Taycan?
Like the Audi e-Tron GT, Porsche says the Taycan will be compatible with the latest 800v power points, and that makes for some very quick charging indeed: Porsche is touting 400km (240 miles) in 20 minutes, 80% charge in 17 minutes and up to 100km (62 miles) in just four minutes. If it can deliver that in the real world, that’s more than 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. 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, Porsche says 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 unlike 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 three years of 30-minute charges for free, if they use the Electrify network.
Demand is high
It’s just as well Porsche is on course to deliver the car in late 2020, because demand is high. Chairman Blume said at the launch of the Cayenne Coupe that 20,000 prospective owners had placed deposits of €2500 each to secure their place in the queue. 'That's incredible since they have neither seen it nor driven it,' he told us. 'Deposits are refundable if customers decide to pull out.'
It seems that the new Porsche Taycan will be in hot demand and Blume admitted that the company had underestimated the level of interest in the EV. He said they had originally conceived a 20,000 annual volume, but that they were revisiting these figures now. 'We won't make an announcement on this before September,' he said, mindful, no doubt, of the shifting supply chain in the lithium-ion battery world.
Where is Porsche going to build its electric car?
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. More than 1200 jobs will be created by the new car.
According to a German newspaper, Porsche has doubled its production targets for the new EV, so around 40,000 Taycans should be leaving the factory each year. That should give Stuttgart ample return on its recent €700 million (£607m) investment on the site.
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