Porsche finally unveils its all-electric Taycan sports car
Available initially in two pricey trim levels, cheaper ones to follow next yearBy Humza Aamir 21 comments
Highly anticipated: Canada, China and Germany saw the simultaneous public unveiling of Porsche's first all-electric sports car: The 4-door Taycan. Starting with the Mission E concept, years of development, testing (and teasers) later, the company's most important model since the original Cayenne has now been revealed in full.
Give it some time and the internet will be awash with videos of Teslas and Taycans silently battling it out on drag strips, race tracks, country roads and motorways, not to mention the detailed comparisons across each car's interior, exterior, driving dynamics, mileage and everyday usability - exciting times!
But for now, let's do our bit to cover the Porsche Taycan, for which the company certainly left no stone unturned, in demonstrating its capability (and building hype). Currently, it's the fastest four-door electric sedan at the famous Nürburgring racetrack and if somehow you end up with this car on-board the USS Hornet, you'd be able to hit 90mph and return to a standstill - all in 10.7 seconds - thanks to its quick acceleration and carbon ceramic brakes (and the driver's willingness, of course).
With that out of the way, let's take a look at the major highlights of the car.
Cost and Trim levels
Porsche has scheduled the cheaper models (Taycan, Taycan 4s) for next year and given us only two higher-end trim levels for now - "Taycan Turbo" and "Taycan Turbo S". While the base model Taycan is expected to come with a $90,000 price tag, the go-faster Turbo and Turbo S models start at $152,250 and $186,350, respectively, significantly more expensive than its main rival, the Tesla Model S that starts at $101,190 in its Performance trim.
Add a few more bells and whistles and a highly specced Taycan would easily cross the $200,000 mark, around $85,000 more than a fully specced-out Model S.
Despite being more expensive, it seems that Porsche didn't have a hard time finding buyers for the car. With 30,000 reservations so far, the company would have to push its manufacturing facility, which is currently capable of producing 20,000 Taycans - a target set by Porsche for the first year of production. According to the company's board member, Dr. Lutz Meschke, delivery times for some customers could extend to a year.
An official time of 0-60 mph of 2.6 seconds for the Taycan Turbo S (with Launch Control), puts it 0.2 seconds behind the fastest Tesla Model S (with Ludicrous mode). But thanks to extensive testing by Porsche, its four-door EV promises consistent performance where it'll happily do this for a whole afternoon - Porsche's engineers ran 26 consecutive runs from 0 to 124 mph.
The Taycan Turbo S can do the quarter-mile in 10.8 seconds while the slower Turbo does it in 11 seconds. These figures place it neck and neck with the Tesla Model S, which was recently reported to have done it in 10.6 seconds. We'd leave it to YouTubers to settle the differences.
The top speed for both trims is electronically limited to 162 mph and the car will play an enhanced recording of its own drivetrain (taken during development) that's mapped to the throttle position, something that's legally mandated in many countries.
Transmission and Motors
The Taycan is the first EV to use a two-speed automatic transmission as opposed to the usual one-speed. Porsche says that using a multi-speed setup provides the same benefits - improved low-speed acceleration and higher efficiency at high speeds - as the implementation does in conventional ICE cars. For even more efficiency, the car can run on its front-axle alone, with a gearbox that features a single planetary gearset and two clutches that can decouple from its rear motor.
The front motor outputs 175 kW (221 lb-ft) for the Turbo spec and 190 kW (295 lb-ft) for the Turbo S while the rear motor puts out 335 kW (406 lb-ft) for both models that can be boosted to 450 lb-ft with launch control.
Given the green light back in late 2015, the production version of the Taycan is nearly identical to the stunning Mission E concept. The front retains the iconic quad daytime running lights and the tail light spans across the entire width of the car's rear, which is now also devoid of any tail pipes (since the car doesn't smoke).
The sleek design is further helped by retracting door handles and active cooling flaps to make for a 0.22 drag coefficient, the lowest for any Porsche, allowing the Taycan to cut through the air with as little fuss as possible.
Earlier, we saw the company giving us a glimpse of its touchscreen-laden interior. The all-digital instrument cluster makes it the first Porsche without a mechanical gauge, fully taking the leap into the future (the latest 911 still has an analogue tachometer).
A push-start button now replaces the ignition switch with a small shifter that sticks out behind the right of the steering wheel while at the center, a 10.9 inch touchscreen runs Porsche's latest MIB 3 infotainment software.
An identical touchscreen can be opted for the front passenger to perform navigational or DJ tasks that retains full functionality, as opposed to the center screen that gets locked out while the car is in motion.
Other screens located below the air vents include settings for the climate control, parking assist, stereo volume, etc. and a track-pad for operating the main infotainment screen with a pair of cup holders located further back.
A 93 kW battery powers both the Turbo and Turbo S models. Running at 800 volts, the car will be able to accept 270 kW charging from an 800 volt charger. Optimum battery temperature is ensured by Thermal Pre-Conditioning and Charging Planner, systems that Porsche claims will allow the Taycan to charge from 5 percent to 80 percent in under 23 minutes on a 350 kW, 800 volt charging station.
The car has two ports and three modes/levels for charging. For the US-spec Taycans, the slower Level 1 and Level 2 charging is done through an SAE 1772 plug behind the front wheel on the driver's side while the faster DC charging is done via an SAE CCS plug located opposite on the front passenger's side.
According to Porsche, it would take around 36 minutes to charge the car from 5 percent to 80 percent using a 150 kW 400 volt DC charger, where as the Level 1 or Level 2 ports would take a 9.6 kW charger around 11 hours to juice the car up by the same amount.
Range and Warranty
According to the European WLTP tests, the Turbo model is rated between 237 to 280 miles of range. These values are expected to reduce slightly, around 200 to 240 miles, once the official EPA figures become available. Similarly, the Turbo S rates between 241 to 256 miles (~200 to 215 miles under EPA testing).
Like the price, Tesla excels in terms of mileage, where its Model S gets 345 miles (EPA) for the Performance trim and 370 miles (EPA) for the Long Range model.
The Taycan is covered by an official three-year warranty while its battery gets a separate eight-year warranty. Porsche also guarantees that the battery capacity won't drop below 70% from its original value during this time.
Although, for Porsche enthusiasts who usually stick to their cars for the long-term, the company doesn't have an end-of-life plan for the Taycan's battery. Since it's not designed to be replaced, the eventual wear and tear might see the Taycan as a future classic that's restricted to the garage.
It remains to be seen how the Taycan stacks up to its chief rival, the Tesla Model S, as both cars seem to have an edge over each other in different departments.
Although it will take some time for Porsche to be on par with Tesla's Supercharger network, the German automaker is said to be working with Electrify America and other companies for an expansive charging network in the US. Porsche will also supply Taycan owners with free charging for the first three years at Electrify America stations.
In other areas like build quality and driving dynamics, the German counterpart is widely expected to be superior to the Model S. Whatever might be the case, the disruptive Tesla Model S has finally got an equally electrifying rival.