Understanding the Taycan's electric powertrain
The Taycan will be able to fill that brief without the Panamera’s internally combusted element. It’s a five-door hatchback, marginally smaller than a Panamera, built on a new platform, with a raft of lithium ion batteries beneath the floor. They total 93.4kWh, good enough for a WLTP range of up to 280 miles in the Turbo (which has an exceptional drag coefficient of 0.22) or 256 miles in the Turbo S (Cd 0.25).
There are two motors – one front, one aft – powering all four wheels. The rear motor has a two-speed transmission, although it drives around mostly in second gear, with the low ratio reserved for the sportier of its drive modes at lower speeds. The Turbo S gets active rear steer, carbon-ceramic brakes, a different inverter to allow the overboost and bigger wheels as standard, but generally the differences over the Turbo are limited.
All Taycans will come with a close-to 800V electrical system, twice the norm for EVs. Porsche says that by doubling the voltage, it can halve the current running through its cables (Ohm’s law, I think), allowing them to be thinner and their turning radii therefore smaller, so Porsche can thread them where it wants and save 40kg over a 400V system.
They can all charge from an 800V charger, if you can find one, at up to 270kW – taking it from 5% to 80% juice in a little over 20 minutes. There was talk, originally, of 350kW charge capacity, but Porsche says 350kW referred to partner Ionity’s charger outputs, not the car’s ability to take it: that was always meant to be 250kW-plus. Looking through Porsche’s newsroom back issues, this rings true, but there’s enough 350kW talk for it to have been inferred.
On more common 400V chargers, the Taycan will charge at just 50kW as standard, with 150kW capacity only as a £294 option. Porsche isn’t the only car maker to start offering better charge capacities as options and it’s not a great look. Optional ‘up to’ rates could become the auto industry’s equivalent of overstated broadband speeds. It’ll confuse and justifiably annoy people who haven’t yet forgotten the diesel scandal. Just fit what conscience says you really should, and be consistent about it.
Anyway, we charged mid-journey in the Taycan and, while the range is less than Tesla’s Model S, in mixed and sometimes quick driving, the car does deliver what it says.
How does the Taycan perform on the road?
The Taycan, then, feels like a true Porsche, they say. And even at first introduction, it does. The driving position is familiar and right; low slung and straight, with a small round furry wheel. There are four- or five-seat options, with great leg room and mediocre head room in the rear, and moderately sized boots front and rear. Build and materials feel terrific, and the infotainment system, instruments and drive options clear and driver focused.
Pedals are medium weighted, the steering likewise, and as in everything from a base Cayenne to a 911 GT2 RS, you get back the expected amount when you put in. Turn the wheel and it responds crisply, accurately. Push the throttle or the brakes and it goes and stops as much as it ought to. This is the kind of thing that marks out the best driver’s cars – and something you find in all Porsches but too few EVs.
Taycans, for now, roll on air springs (base models, later, might be on coils and even run just rear-wheel drive) and there’s a broad array of Porsche chassis and stability systems: they’ve chucked just as much at this as any other Porsche.