The Porsche Taycan is a marvellously engineered electric executive saloon. The Panamera for the future. It is the fastest production electric car to go around the Nürburgring andset to go on sale next year in 2020. Porsche have been a bit secretive about the Taycan, we know how fast it is, what it looks like, the technology, drivetrain, battery capacity, and we’ve seen pictures of the interior. It’ll be sold in two variants – Turbo and Turbo S. There is no engine, of course, but the names sound cool.
The Taycan is a ground-up electric car – every component has been exclusively designed to work with Porsche’s electric drivetrain. The approach is modular – subassemblies are packaged in the form of cast aluminium bits that are bolted on to the chassis. Like the entire rear transaxle-motor-inverter assembly. It incorporates a two-speed transmission and an electronic-clutch limited-slip differential.
Most electric car makers prefer to keep things simple, but the Taycan revels in its mechanical complexity. First gear in the transmission is a planetary gear system with a reduction of 16:1. There are two clutches – a dog clutch and a multi-plate clutch. The latter only actuates first gear. Second is made up of helical spur gears and offers a reduction of 8.05:1. All of this makes the car capable of 0-60 mph in under 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 160 mph.
The Taycan is all-wheel drive, courtesy a smaller, 200 hp motor attached to the front wheels with a single-speed transmission. The front wheels do less of the driving but more of the braking and regeneration. The battery pack goes under the floor and has an attached battery management system. To prevent a high boot floor for people in the rear seat, Porsche designed two “foot garages” into the battery pack module design. The displaced cells are moved to a location under the seat, within the module. The battery gives this car a range above 300 miles. A charge from 5% to 80% on 800-volt charging takes 22.5 minutes. For the onboard 50W charger, the same would take 93 minutes. Charging at 240 volts at home will yield a full battery in about 10.5 hours.
The brakes are massive and have 10-piston callipers. That’s great because the Taycan weighs more than 5,000 pounds. Most of this car is made from steel, not aluminium, and Porsche claims that was done for better acoustics. The chassis is the stiffest of any Porsche, so we let it pass.
The current debate and speculation are about whether a Taycan would be able to out-drag a Tesla. Because even though prices haven’t been announced yet, the Porsche is expected to be more expensive than a Tesla Model S. According to Porsche, that’s not the point of the Taycan, it’s supposed to be very fast, and it is. The focus however, is on repeatability – that’s how this car could get around the Nürburgring. We can’t wait for the drivetrain tech to spawn rear-drive versions and sports cars in the future.