The time is nearing for Porsche to unveil its first all-electric car. The Taycan, a four-door GT tasked with taking on the Tesla Model S, will be revealed towards the end of the year, and our spy photographers have caught it once again.
These new shots of the Taycan undergoing winter testing reveal something not seen before – the car’s charging port.
While the overall profile of the vehicle looks set to remain faithful to 2015’s Mission E concept, the charging port is one aspect of the vehicle which has been toned down for production. The concept featured a huge moving panel, shifting a large portion of the front wheel-arch. These images reveal a much more contemporary approach, with a much more normal looking flap.
Porsche engineers are testing the Taycan’s ability to recharge in sub-zero temparatures. The Taycan’s charging capability is something Porsche is keen to push as a selling point. The firm promises that it’ll be the first production vehicle capable of recharging at 800-volts, where possible, when it arrives on sale.
Hands on with the Porsche Taycan prototype
The all-electric Porsche Taycan isn’t set for its reveal until the later stages of 2019, followed by its UK launch some time in 2020. Despite this, Auto Express has had access to early Taycan prototypes, which are being hand-assembled by a team of workers at a rate of two per day.
These prototypes will go on to join an intensive testing programme ahead of the Taycan’s official debut, which is is expected to be at next year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. Sales are yet to formally commence, but Porsche claims to have received upwards of 10,000 order requests from potential Taycan customers.
Our first clear glimpse at the undisguised Porsche Taycan cars reveals a design that remains true to the original Porsche Mission E concept, apart from the necessary modifications to satisfy typical production requirements.
The four-door saloon format is described as a ‘four plus one’ with space for luggage front and rear, while the driving position is “almost identical to the 911”, according to Robert Meier, Director Complete Vehicle Model Line Taycan.
In the Porsche Taycan’s interior, a freestanding curved digital instrument displays sits directly ahead of the driver, as it did in the original concept. To the right is a small toggle-style gear selector for Drive, Neutral and Reverse. A large infotainment screen, much like the 10.1-inch unit used by Audi, sits flush within the vertical gloss finished panel that stretches across the fascia.
A second touchscreen sits in a sloped centre console between the front seats, making the cabin almost devoid of physical buttons. In the back sits a recessed foot well, which Porsche calls a ‘foot garage,’ made possible by the company’s decision to do away with the battery cells in the area.
Porsche’s engineers remain tight-lipped on exact driving range and battery size, but tell us to expect upwards of 310 miles on a single charge; fast charging at up to 350kW could add 180 miles of range in nine minutes. Inductive charging is also in development, but won’t be available at launch.
Buyers may be able to buy temporary or permanent upgrades via over-the-air updates, similar to Tesla. More power and different chassis setups are all possibilities according to Lutz Meschke, Deputy Chairman for Finance and IT at Porsche.
Initially, the yearly Porsche Taycan production output will be between 20,000 and 25,000 units. “We are capable of ramping up our production capacity substantially if demand exceeds expectations,” said Meschke.“We will be able to ship significant numbers in the coming years,” he added.
According to Porsche, Taycan is a word taken from an eastern dialect and is pronounced ‘tie-can’. It translates as ‘lively young horse’ and is a reference to the horse that’s been rearing up on its hind legs on the Porsche badge since 1952.
Porsche Taycan engine and performance
Porsche is revealing little about the exact specifications of the Taycan powertrain but we understand the car will develop over 600bhp via a lithium-ion battery pack denser than anything Tesla currently offers, rated at 270 watt-hours per kilogram. Two permanently excited synchronous electric motors (PSM), one on each axle, will provide drive. The PSM motors are derived from Porsche’s Le Mans winning 919 LMP1 car, the marque claiming that the key advantage offered by PSM is compact packaging and weight saving.
Porsche claims this powertrain will allow the Taycan production car to cover 0-62mph in under 3.5 seconds and 0-124mph in under 12s before hitting a top speed of 155mph. Crucially, we’re told the performance will be repeatable with the electric car able to accelerate hard ‘over and over again without losing performance’.
The target is for the Porsche Taycan cover upwards of 310 miles on a single charge and Porsche says the 800-volt system can take on 62 miles of charge in just 4 minutes, or almost 250 miles in 15 minutes. Of course, these figures are entirely dependent on the availability of 350kW CCS chargers compatible with Porsche’s 800v system. Currently, the IONTY network is expanding throughout Europe and building chargers capable of delivering such voltages. Porsche also has plans to deploy 500 of its own chargers across the United States in the coming years.
This version of the Taycan is expected to be the flagship model but Porsche has invested a further 500million Euros (£437million) to develop additional versions of the car. The variants, of which there is likely to be three, will vary from around 400bhp up to 600bhp. Porsche CEO Oliver Blume told us: “We will think of different options and there will be more than one, with different levels of power.”
All-wheel drive is expected to be standard on all versions initially, but there is the possibility that Porsche will launch a more affordable rear-wheel-drive edition in the future. It also plans a crossover version of the car, as previewed by the Cross Turismo concept that made its debut at March’s Geneva Motor Show.
Over-the-air updates will be possible on the Porsche Taycan, upgrading on-board infotainment systems and safety tech, but also offering to boost power if the customer wishes. The new architecture the car introduces will be used as a base for a fully electric model from Bentley.
More electric Porsche models on the way
Following on from the Taycan, Porsche bosses have revealed a fully electric SUV is likely to follow the saloon into showrooms. Meschke told Auto Express: “Expect an SUV BEV (battery electric vehicle) by 2022 at the latest.”
The SUV could make use of the VW Group’s MEB platform that will debut on the VW I.D hatchback next year. Alternatively, a shortened version of the J1 platform underpinning the Taycan could be used.
An expansion of the Taycan lineup is also on the cards, with the Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo having already been given the green light for production. “By 2030 the traditional Porsche could be a niche offering,” Meschke added.
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