The hotly anticipated Porsche Taycan, the luxury brand’s first fully electric car, was revealed to the world. Will it be the new benchmark in EVs?
This morning Porsche officially unveiled their new fully electric sports sedan, the 2021 Porsche Taycan (pronounced Tye-khan), at locations in Germany, Canada, and China. Based on the Model E concept, the Taycan hews very closely to both the aesthetic and performance targets set four years ago in Frankfurt. But the anticipation of a fully electric sedan from a major manufacturer has been simmering since the first Tesla Roadsters rolled out ten years ago.
The Taycan is a rear biased dual motor all-wheel drive sedan with a two-speed gear box and an 800-volt electrical system. The two-speed gear box means the Taycan boasts both the monstrous low-end torque we expect from an EV and a great top-speed with the shift occurring somewhere between 50 and 60 mph.
The Taycan is built on the J1 BEV platform using the same air-suspension and anti-roll system as the MSB platformed Panamera. As with other EVs, the under-floor battery pack means the Taycan will have a super-low center of gravity, reportedly lower than the 911. The dual motors will combine for 616hp as a base line. With overboost on and in launch mode the Turbo jumps to 670hp and 626 lb. ft. of torque while the Turbo S soars to 750hp and 774 lb. ft. For the Turbo that translates to a 0-60 time of 3.0 sec. and a quarter mile time of 11.1 sec. The Turbo S gets to 60mph from a dead stop in 2.6 sec. and reaches a quarter mile in just 10.8 sec.
This insane off-the-line acceleration is performed via Launch Control mode. It’s activated by simultaneously pressing the brake and accelerator, holding for 3 seconds and then letting off the brake pedal. By all accounts the Taycan jumps out of the blocks with genuine ferocity. The top speed for both models hits 162mph.
In proper German fashion, Porsche has meticulously tested the Taycan to ensure it’s not only capable of grand feats of acceleration but that it can be launched like a land missile repeatedly and consistently.
Acceleration endurance was tested by running the Taycan through 26 consecutive runs from 0-124 mph. All of these runs were made in less than 10 seconds and with only a .8 second difference between them.
You might worry that driving the Taycan or any EV like that would hazard serious overheating. But Porsche has been hard at work putting the Taycan’s thermal management system though some grueling tests in order to ward off meltdown. At their Nardo test track in Pugila, Italy, Porsche subjected the Taycan to a 24-hour endurance test in some serious Mediterranean heat. At temperatures up to 107° F, the Taycan covered 2,128 miles at an average speed between 122-133 mph only stopping for recharging and driver changes.
That’s where the benefits of that extra-large 800-volt electric system begin to play out. The larger battery pack should also allow for faster charge times. Taycans will be outfitted with Thermal Pre-Conditioning and Charging Planner software that will adjust (either heating or cooling) the battery temperature on route to charging. Preconditioning the battery to the optimal charging temperature should cut charging times in half from 45 minutes (going from a 5% to 80% charge) to just 22 and ½ minutes.
All this is provided you’re charging at a 350kw, 800 volt charging station. Charging times scale up as the stations scale down, with a 150kw, 400volt charger requiring 36 minutes, and a 9.6kw charger taking 11 hours. Porsche says the Taycan’s intended range is 300 miles, though we’ll have to wait for official EPA numbers to know how close it comes to that target.
In addition to its powertrain, there are a number of other notable features on the Taycan.
The Taycan features five driving modes: Normal, Sport, Sport Plus, a customizable “Individual” mode, and the new Range mode. This mode switches to 2WD (automatically opting for the most efficient set, usually the front) and adjust the suspension height and aerodynamics. And about that suspension, it automatically lowers .4 inches when driving and lowers still further (.87 inches) in Sport and Sport Plus modes.
High-efficiency braking system is another area of note. The Taycan uses e-motor regenerative braking only when you press on the brake pedal, otherwise allowing the car to coast when you let off the throttle. When you do engage the brakes the regen system will take care of 90-95% of deceleration and only engage mechanical braking in steep decelerations. If you prefer, you can toggle the regen system to engage whenever you let off the throttle. Additionally, the Auto mode can apply regen braking on the fly based on the traffic ahead of you.
And then there’s the drive. Full electric fast but still Porsche like, the Taycan offers scalpel precise steering, a stable body, and a smooth, luxury-level ride. So, while not quite as fast as the fastest Model S (by some two-tenths of a second), the Taycan offers all those other classic Porsche tangibles that Tesla just can’t match.
The entry price on the Taycan may be its biggest hurdle in supplanting the Model S as the premier electric sedan. Tesla’s Model S can top out at $107,615 once tax incentives are factored in. The Taycan carries on the grand tradition of the luxury brand’s premium pricing. The Turbo Taycan will start at $152,250 and the Turbo S at $186,350. And while the Taycan has many advanced safety features, like Porsche’s InnoDrive adaptive cruise control, it doesn’t have Tesla’s robust Autopilot system.
It’s clear judging from the Taycan that Porsche sees electric as the future. Sales numbers will tell whether its ahead of its time or the perfect sports car for the moment. The Taycan should be hitting dealerships later this year.