Currently reading: New electric Porsche Taycan to be revealed today
Porsche's first electric production car is a four-door sports car set to rival Tesla Model S
News
10 mins read
4 September 2019

Porsche has released a teaser image showing the rear of its first electric production car, the Taycan, ahead of its reveal later today.

The new Porsche Taycan has now been revealed. Click here for the full story

The Tesla Model S rival will be unveiled at an event in Berlin at 2pm UK time ahead of a public debut at the Frankfurt motor show next week. 

Autocar drives a Porsche Taycan prototype

Porsche has previously revealed a number of details about the Taycan, including images of the car's interior, which takes the brand's design and technology to a new level. It's based around up to four digital displays, including a curved, free-standing 16.8in configurable driver's display - Porsche's first fully digital instrument binnacle. 

To the right of that is a 10.9in infotainment screen that handles sat-nav, music and connectivity functions. To the right of that - uniquely for Porsche - is an optional screen of the same size. It can't control driving functions, but it allows the front passenger to programme the sat-nav and media features independently. 

Finally, there's an 8.4in portrait layout screen set at an angle in the centre console, with a trackpad below to help control the upper screen. Unlike the upper two touchscreens, this gives haptic feedback to improve usability on the move. 

Wireless updates - traditionally a big draw for Tesla buyers - are also possible in the Taycan. Buyers will also receive a free six month subscription to Apple Music, with Apple CarPlay integration also included. Android Auto functionality is not available, however. 

Despite the distinctly high-tech approach, classic Porsche features such as the dash-top analogue clock still feature. 

Porsche has been building up to the launch by releasing snippets of information about the Taycan. A pre-production version of the machine recently completed 2128 miles in a 24-hour endurance test run at the Nardò high-speed test track in Italy.

Porsche claims that, in temperatures of up to 32deg C, the electric performance saloon averaged speeds of between 121 and 134mph. Minimal stops were made, with the Taycan only pausing for driver changes and battery top-ups. The Taycan’s battery size is yet to be confirmed, but it's said to offer around 270 miles of range on the WLTP test cycle.

In order to maximise mileage, the test car was charged using Porsche’s 800V ultra-fast chargers, capable of delivering 249 miles of range in 15 minutes. The machine will be the first mainstream production car built using 800V technology, allowing for the use of fast-charging stations.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find an Autocar review

Back to top

The car made its public dynamic debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in lightly disguised form, driven by ex-Formula 1 driver Mark Webber.

The Taycan has previously been previewed with official camouflaged images (below) and has also been spotted testing numerous times in prototype guise.

The Taycan's styling is heavily influenced by the original Mission E concept, which was designed by Porsche’s former head of exterior design Mitja Borkert, now head of design at Lamborghini. Details include a retractable rear spoiler, advanced regenerative braking system and Tesla-style retracting door handles.

All the news from the Goodwood Festival of Speed 

The Taycan is the first in an extended line-up of electric models being developed in a programme budgeted to cost up to £5.3 billion through to the end of 2022. It marks a radical departure from Porsche’s traditional line-up, bringing zero-emissions running together with the promise of what the new car’s lead engineer, Stefan Weckbach, describes as a “typical Porsche driving experience”.

When it goes on sale in the UK, the Taycan will be positioned between the £55,965 Cayenne SUV and £67,898 Panamera five-door coupé in a move that will set the scene for the introduction of other new electric Porsches, including a mid-engined sports car in the mould of the existing 718 and an electric Macan.

Porsche UK boss Marcus Eckermann told Autocar earlier this year that the Taycan is “the beginning of a new era” for Porsche, and is attracting many conquest customers. “We have a lot of interest in the car – and a lot of new customers. Based on the expressions of interest, there are more new people to the brand than existing customers.”

While he declined to give expected sales figures, the Taycan’s share of the line-up is set to be considerably higher than the overall EV market share in the UK, which is below 1%.

Porsche has previously said it expects to produce 25,000 Taycans worldwide annually, which is about 10% of its current sales. In the UK last year, Porsche sold 12,500 cars, so we can expect at least 1250 sales of the Taycan per year.

Back to top

The Taycan will be offered in two bodystyles, with the standard saloon planned for right-hand-drive delivery in Britain in early 2020 and a higher-riding estate-cum-crossover model, previewed by the Mission E Cross Turismo concept, arriving in showrooms in 2022.

Taycan rivals include Tesla Model S

Among the key rivals for the new Porsche is the Tesla Model S, which was used as an initial benchmark during the early phases of the Taycan’s development. However, Weckbach acknowledges the model will also compete against a host of other upcoming electric offerings, including the E-tron GT from sister brand Audi and the Mercedes-Benz EQS.

Taking full advantage of the packaging advantages inherent in its drivetrain layout, the Taycan combines the fundamental short-nosed proportions of traditional Porsche models at the front with the stretched proportions of modern front-engined models towards the rear, providing clear design links to existing models.

One major departure from the earlier Mission E is the adoption of sturdy B-pillars and four front-hinged doors in a measure aimed at increasing body rigidity. At the rear, the Taycan also receives a short notchback-style boot lid housing a full-width light band that provides access to one of two luggage compartments. The other is under the bonnet and claimed to have a capacity of nearly 100 litres.  

Back to top

The Taycan is around 4850mm in length and 1990m in width, making it 199mm shorter but 53mm wider than the Panamera. By comparison, the Model S is 4975mm long and 1965mm wide.

More than one bodystyle due

The initial saloon and crossover are just two bodystyles created by Porsche designers for the Taycan. Others not yet revealed to the public include two-door coupé and cabriolet proposals, the likes of which insiders at the German car maker’s headquarters say could be added to the line-up, if demand warrants it, once production capacity is freed up.

The basis for the Taycan is the J1 platform, a high-strength steel, aluminium and carbonfibre structure designed to house battery modules of varying sizes as low as possible within the confines of a long wheelbase. This will also underpin the E-tron GT in a move aimed at increasing economies of scale.

Significantly, the platform has been conceived exclusively as a dedicated electric vehicle architecture, with Weckbach confirming it doesn't accept a combustion engine. It does, however, form the basis of a more versatile structure being developed in an engineering programme between Porsche and Audi called the Premium Platform Electric (PPE).

The interior of the Taycan is described as providing a typical 911-style driving position up front and two individual seats with adequate space in the rear. Prototype versions sighted by Autocar at Porsche’s Zuffenhausen factory reveal the otherwise entirely flat floorpan of the J1 structure features two sizeable foot wells to increase rear-seat accommodation.

The technology behind the Taycan

The Taycan is powered by an electric drivetrain with a permanent magnet synchronous motor housed within each axle, in a layout that provides it with four-wheel drive capability.

Porsche chose synchronous motors against the asynchronous motors favoured by Audi due to their ability to provide strong sustained performance at high energy density levels – characteristics it says are key to the car’s development aims.

The electric motors are similar in design to the unit employed on the petrol-electric hybrid driveline used by the Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid, with a solenoid coil featuring rectangular, rather than round, wiring.

Back to top

This has enabled Porsche to package the copper wires within the solenoid coil more tightly together to make the electric motors smaller than they would be using more conventional round wires. A similar solenoid design is being considered by BMW for the motors in the production version of its Vision iX3 concept car, which is due out in 2020.

In a move aimed at imbuing the Taycan with the sort of rear-biased handling traits that have characterised Porsche models through the years, the two electric motors have varying outputs, with the one at the rear more powerful than the one at the front. A torque vectoring function on both axles also regulates the amount of drive sent to each individual wheel.

A rear-wheel-drive version of the Taycan, featuring a single electric motor on the rear axle, is also currently undergoing production as part of a planned 200-strong fleet of prototypes and pre-production examples. Sighted by Autocar on the production line in Zuffenhausen, it's expected to be offered from the start of sales as part of a multi-tiered line-up similar to that of other Porsche models.

The channelling of drive is handled by a two-speed gearbox - a choice that also differs from the single-speed gearboxes used by most electric cars. This has been chosen for its ability to provide a second gear for sustained high-speed performance, which Porsche considers crucial if its new electric car is to make a mark on typical Porsche customers.

Back to top

Porsche plans to offer the Taycan with a number of different power outputs in a strategy not dissimilar to that of Tesla with the Model S, which comes in 75D, 100D and P100D guises. Nothing is confirmed, but officials suggest variants with up to 402bhp, 469bhp, 536bhp and, at the top of the range, 603bhp are being developed, but it remains to be seen whether they will all be offered for sale over the car’s planned seven-year lifecycle.

In range-topping four-wheel-drive 603bhp guise, the Taycan is expected to eclipse the 3.5sec 0-62mph time announced at the unveiling of the Mission E, placing it on a similar performance plane to the 911 Turbo for acceleration. Although the top speed has yet to be announced, it's claimed to be “well over 200kmh [124mph]”.

One factor Porsche is pushing heavily in the lead-up to the launch of the Taycan is its ability to provide what it describes as reproducible performance.

“Drivers won’t need to worry about throttling performance,” said Weckbach. "The Taycan will offer reproducible performance and a top speed that can be maintained for long periods.”

Electrical energy used to run the electric motors is stored in a battery that uses cells supplied by Korean company LG. The capacity of the lithium ion unit has yet to be revealed, but Porsche is sticking to earlier claims that the Taycan will have a range of up to 311 miles.

The Taycan's charging set-up

A retractable body element located behind the Taycan's front wheel arch provides access to the charging port. Porsche is also working on inductive charging, although it won’t be drawn on whether it will be available as an option from the start of sales.

Porsche has developed an 800V charging system for the Taycan to fulfil an early pledge that its first electric model would be fast not only to drive but also to recharge.

"With the 800V technology, it can be recharged in just over 15 minutes for a range of around 400km [249 miles], so it only takes about half as long compared to today's systems," said Weckbach.

As well as providing fast charging, the 800V system allows the Taycan to use a lighter and more compact wiring loom than if it had chosen a more widely used 400V system – all apparently without any crucial safety concerns. Despite this, the car is still expected to tip the scales at more than 2000kg.

Even so, Porsche is convinced the Taycan will bring lofty new dynamic qualities to the electric car ranks.

Back to top

“The underfloor battery gives the Taycan a very low centre of gravity – even lower than with the 911," said Weckbach. "It drives like a Porsche, looks like a Porsche and feels like a Porsche; it just happens to have a different type of drive”. Weckbach added that the saloon also has a 50:50 front-to-rear weight distribution.

Although the Taycan isn’t expected to break the Nürburgring electric car lap record of 6min 45.0sec held by the ultra-low-volume 1341bhp Nio EP9 hypercar, a good deal of recent prototype testing has taken place there as Porsche continues to engineer the car to production maturity. Insiders say it should be good for a lap time at the legendary German circuit – still considered the ultimate test of any new car – of less than 8min.

As well as concentrating its engineering efforts on honing the Taycan to deliver the sort of steering feel and chassis characteristics of its more traditional combustion engine models, Weckbach said Porsche has also spent a lot of time on the programming the electric motors and brakes to deliver the response and feel it thinks buyers will expect of the car.

In a development brought over from Porsche’s more recent combustion engine models, the saloon will use four-wheel steering as a means of balancing low-speed manoeuvrability around town and high-speed stability out on the open road.

Weckbach said: "The very first vehicles, in an early phase of development, were already showing the driving characteristics you’d expect of a Porsche. They felt right at home from the beginning. And a lot has happened since then.”

Production of the Taycan will take place on a dedicated £617 million site established at Zuffenhausen – the same facility that has produced the 911 since 1963. 

Porsche confirmed production capacity for the Taycan is set for between 20,000 and 25,000 per year on a two-shift basis, but that volumes could be significantly increased if demand warrants it through the addition of a third shift and contingency plans that could lead to the Taycan being produced in other Volkswagen Group factories.

Read more

The new Porsche Taycan has now been revealed. Click here for the full story

Autocar drives a Porsche Taycan prototype

First ride in the Taycan prototype

Porsche 718 Cayman review

New 992-series Porsche 911: mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions detailed​

Join the debate

Comments
113
Add a comment…
lexaplay 24 August 2019

run 3

The information you have posted is very useful. The sites you have referred was good. Thanks for sharing.  run 3

 

Citytiger 23 August 2019

Meanwhile in other news

I dont think Teslas main rival will be a legacy car brand, or even from Europe, I honestly believe it will come from Polestar, the Polestar 2 will be viable rival to the Model 3 and the Polestar 3 will be a viable rival to the model Y, but with the financial backing of Geely, and access to the support and parts bin of Volvo.  The Polestar 2 almost matches the specs of the Model 3 but at a cheaper price point, its better looking, its more conventional, and will have better quality control.  

Citytiger 23 August 2019

Why is it

they have catered for Apple, but not for the far more popular Android user, I suppose that sort of identifies the sort of customer they are after, those that are more interesed in a brand than actual funtionality. 

Find an Autocar car review