After four years of teasing and meticulously-metered release of technical details, Porsche unveiled the production version of its Taycan electric vehicle (EV) at this week’s Frankfurt motor show. Porsche’s fast and expensive 4-door competitor to the Tesla Model S is scheduled to be in European showrooms later this year and in the U.S. in early 2020.
Launching with two variants, the Turbo and Turbo S, the Taycan’s curvaceous sheetmetal is satisfyingly loyal to the Mission E concept car that presaged the Taycan when it was unveiled at the Frankfurt show in 2015. Although it is based on an all-new EV platform, the Taycan’s exterior dimensions—overall length of 195.4 in. (4963 mm), wheelbase of 114.2 in. (2900 mm) and width of 77.4 in (1966 mm)—are quite similar to Porsche’s current 4-door sedan, the Panamera.
But with just over 94 kWh of capacity from the 396 pouch-type lithium-ion batteries of the Performance Battery Plus (insinuating lower-capacity battery packs are probable for lower-specification variants) even a multi-material steel and aluminum body-in-white cannot disguise the Taycan’s Turbo S's stupendous listed curb weight of 2,295 kg (5060 lb).
The primary difference between the Taycan Turbo and the Turbo S is total power output from the twin permanent-magnet electric motors, one for each axle. Porsche said the Turbo generates maximum power (in launch-control mode) of 500 kW (670 hp) and the Taycan Turbo S raises system output to 560 kW (751 hp) and 1050 Nm (774 lb-ft). Apart from delivering on the baseline EV goal of zero tailpipe emissions, the brand’s brief is for the Taycan to uphold the performance credentials established by its internal-combustion history; thus even at two-and-a-half tons, the Taycan Turbo S can hammer from 0-to-62 mph (100 km/h) in 2.8 s. The Turbo variant needs just 3 s to accomplish the feat and top speed for either model, said Porsche, is 260 km/h (161 mph).
The company confirmed less-powerful and rear-drive variants will follow.
Meanwhile, the company listed the power efficiency of the Taycan Turbo at 26 kWh/100 km and the Turbo S model at a slighter higher draw of 26.9 kWh/100 km. In the all-important metric of driving range, the Taycan Turbo’s maximum—based on the European Worldwide Light-vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP)—is 450 km (279 miles) and 412 km (256 miles) for the Turbo S. When certified in the U.S., the Taycan’s rated driving range is almost certain to be markedly reduced. This comparatively abbreviated range is well short of the 370-mile (595-km) maximum for the long-range variant of Tesla’s Model S and poses the likelihood of Porsche offering longer range in a future Taycan variant.
The traction motor for the Taycan’s front axle drives through a single-speed reduction gear, while a two-speed transmission for the rear axle offers optimized acceleration, with the second ratio enabling maximized efficiency, Porsche said.
Electronic torque vectoring, adjustable air suspension and rear-wheel steering are chassis highlights, as well as de rigeuer oversized brakes (despite the fact Porsche said 90% of “everyday” braking can be accomplished with regenerative braking) including the option for Porsche’s now-famous carbon-ceramic brake rotors.
Speedy charging – kinda
Porsche had long promised the Taycan’s industry-first 800-V electrical system and onboard capability for direct-current (DC) fast-charging at up to 350 kW would make for liquid-fuel-rivaling recharging times. But the Taycan is launching with a maximum recharging capability of 270 kW, which the company said offers a recharge time from 95% depleted to 80% charged in 22.5 minutes “under ideal conditions.” Five minutes of such charging can bring 100 km (62 miles) of added range.