Porsche has teased its new Taycan electric car in a pair of design sketches. Confirmed by Porsche CEO Oliver Blume at the brand’s annual press conference, the four-door electric GT car will make its public debut in September, most likely at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
The images hint that the overall look of the Tesla Model S rival will stay faithful to the Mission E concept from 2015. Indeed, the most significant difference appears to be that, unlike the concept, the production model will feature conventional door mirrors as opposed to rear view cameras.
Earlier spy shots of a pre-production Taycan model undergoing winter testing showed us that the charging point will be more conventional than the concept’s design, too: a small flap will take the place of the Mission E’s extravagant hinged panel behind the front wheel arch.
Porsche engineers are testing the Taycan’s ability to recharge in sub-zero temperatures. 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. Sales are yet to formally commence, but Porsche claims to have received upwards of 10,000 order requests from potential Taycan customers.
Hands-on with the Porsche Taycan prototype
While we’ll have to wait until later this year to see the Taycan for the first time, Auto Express has already been granted access to early prototypes. The cars, which will go on two join an intensive testing programme, are hand-assembled by a team of workers at a rate of two per day.
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 remains tight-lipped the Taycan’s exact specifications, but we understand the car will feature two electric motors, one on each axle, will produce over 600bhp. 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’.
Charge will be provided by a lithium-ion battery pack denser than anything Tesla currently offers, rated at 270 watt-hours per kilogram, and Porsche is targeting over 310 miles on a single charge. It’s claimed that 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 additional variants of the car, 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.
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.
Taycan Cross Turismo confirmed – and more EV Porsches to follow
An expansion of the Taycan lineup is also on the cards. Following on from the teaser sketches, the E-Cross Turismo Concept is now confirmed for production. Called the Taycan Cross Turismo, it will feature an estate-styled body with crossover touches like a raised ride height and extra body cladding.
Porsche bosses have revealed a fully electric SUV is likely to follow the Taycan pair 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 ID. hatchback next year. Alternatively, a shortened version of the J1 platform underpinning the Taycan could be used. “By 2030 the traditional Porsche could be a niche offering,” Meschke added.
Porsche to invest billions in plug-in vehicles as increased profits announced
While confirming the new Taycan models, Dr. Blume also confirmed an increase in Porsche and profits and sales in 2018, each increasing by 4 percent over 2017 figures.
As a result, Porsche plans to increase investment in new products. Over €6 billion will be invested in the upcoming range of plug-in hybrid and pure electric vehicles by 2022, with a total of €15 billion to be spent developing new cars up to 2023.
A further 1,500 employees will be hired for producing the Taycan, a figure which adds to the current 32,325 workforce – itself a nine percent increase on 2017 numbers.
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