Porsche Taycan takes on Tesla Model S
Power and performance are comparable but range appears to fall short.
At the 2019 IAA, Porsche revealed its long-awaited Taycan EV to the Frankfurt buying public after a high-profile launch the week before, simultaneously in North America, China, and Europe. Sustainable energy management was the focus of those events, which took place at Niagara Falls (at the border between the U.S. and Canada) representing hydropower, at a solar farm in Neuhardenberg near Berlin, and at a wind farm near the Chinese city of Fuzhou, Fujian province.
The elaborate launch emphasizes the debut’s importance globally not only for Porsche but for parent VW Group. By 2022, Porsche will have invested more than €6 billion in “electromobility.”
“This day marks the start of a new era.” said Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG, who opened the world premiere in Berlin.
“We promised a true Porsche for the age of electromobility….Now we are delivering on this promise,” added Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board of Porsche AG - Research and Development.
The Taycan represents the first serious challenger to Tesla’s Model S, which was launched 8 years ago. The first variants of the new model shown in Frankfurt are the Turbo and higher performing Turbo S. Less powerful variants of these all-wheel drive vehicles are promised for later this year. The first derivative model to be added will be the Cross Turismo at the end of next year.
The flagship Turbo S generates 460 kW normally, but up to 560 kW in “over-boost” in combination with launch control; the Turbo produces 460 kW, but up to 500 kW. Maximum torque is 1050 N·m for the Turbo S, 850 N·m for the Turbo. The Turbo S accelerates from 0 to 60 mph (97 km/h) in 2.6 s, the Turbo in 3.0 s. For WLTP range, the Turbo leads with 381 to 450 km (237 to 280 mi), the Turbo S at 388 to 412 km (241 to 256 mi). Overall capacity of the Performance Battery Plus is 93.4 kW·h. NEDC combined power consumption is 26.9 kW·h/100 km for the Turbo S, 26.0 kW·h/100 km for the Turbo. The less-generous EPA range estimate for North America is pending. The top speed of both cars is 161 mph (260 km/h).
The Taycan is the first production vehicle with a system voltage of 800 V instead of the usual 400 V for electric cars. The primary benefit is charging time. According to the WLTP, up to 100 km (62 mi) can be had in just over 5 min using direct current from a high-power charging network. Going from 5% to 80% state-of-charge takes about 22.5 min under ideal conditions at a maximum/peak charging power of 270 kW. The Taycan can be charged at home with up to 11 kW of alternating current, but in the U.S it is 9.6 kW of AC using a standard SAE J1772 connector.
The Taycan measures 4963 mm (195.4 in) long, 1966 mm (77.4 in) wide with mirrors, and 1378-1381 mm (54.3-54.4 in) tall on a 2900-mm (114.1-in) wheelbase. Mass ranges from 2295 to 2305 kg (5060 to 5082 lb), according to DIN. It represents the beginning of a new electrified era, but its design retains some Porsche design cues. Up front, it is wide and flat with highly contoured wings, and the sporty roofline slopes significantly downward in the rear with a drawn rear C-pillar and pronounced rear shoulders. The overall shape has a 2.33 m² frontal area and a best aero Cd of 0.22 for the Turbo, 0.25 for the Turbo S, contributing to low energy consumption and thus long range.
Inside, the Porsche design theme continues with a freestanding, curved instrument cluster in front of the driver with five “gauge” circles. Running horizontally across the instrument panel is a central, 10.9-in infotainment display and then an optional passenger display. The setup’s user interfaces are completely redesigned for the Taycan, with the number of traditional switches and buttons greatly reduced. Many functions are controlled by touch or voice, the latter responding after the command “Hey Porsche.”
The Taycan offers an entirely leather-free interior, with many recycled materials underscoring the sustainability of the car. Recesses in the battery in the rear footwell called “foot garages” were designed in to ensure rear-seat comfort while enabling a low vehicle height. Cargo can be stored in two luggage compartments, with 2.8 ft³ (81 L) up front and 12.9 ft³ (366 L) in the traditional rear location.
Porsche says that the Taycan has two exceptionally efficient, permanently excited synchronous electricmotors, one each on the front and rear axles. The electric motor, transmission, and pulse-controlled inverter are combined into each compact drive module. Porsche says that those modules have the highest power density (in kW per liter of package space) of any on the market. “Hairpin” windings in the electric motors’ stator coils enables greater copper in the stator, increasing power output and torque while maintaining component volume. The rear drive module features a two-speed transmission, an innovation developed by Porsche so that first gear can give the Taycan greater acceleration from a standing start, while a longer ratio second gear ensures high efficiency at very high speeds.
At up to 265 kW, the potential recuperation braking power is significantly higher than that of competitors. Porsche driving tests have shown that approximately 90% of everyday braking is performed by the electric machines, without the hydraulic wheel brakes being activated.
A centrally networked 4D Chassis Control analyzes and synchronizes all chassis systems in real time. Those systems include adaptive air suspension with three-chamber technology including PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management) electronic damper control, Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport (PDCC Sport) electromechanical roll stabilization, and Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus (PTV Plus). As with other Porsche model series, there are four driving modes—Range, Normal, Sport, and Sport Plus—and individual systems can be configured in Individual mode.
Suspension is by aluminum double wishbones in front, aluminum multilinks in back, with rear-axle steering with power steering plus. The Turbo has 20-in wheels with 245/45 tires in front and 285/40 in the rear, the Turbo S has 21-in wheels wrapped by 265/35 ZR tires in front, 305/30 ZR tires in back.
The Turbo S and Turbo are now available to order and cost €185,456 and €152,136, respectively, in Germany, including country-specific equipment and VAT.