The Porsche Electric Vehicle: Porsche Taycan

The only Porsche electric vehicle is, so far, the Porsche Taycan. This is one of the first and most impressive luxury electric cars. Being Porsche’s first electric vehicle, the expectations are high.

Basic Information

Image Source: https://www.porsche.com/

Average Cost: $ 150,900

Range Per Charge: 256 miles

The Taycan is a stylish 4-door electric sports vehicle with slightly larger dimensions than the 911. The result is a thick stance and a sleek roofline that gives the Taycan the look of an oversized four-door 911.

Two versions of this all-wheel drive four-door electric sports vehicle have been available since its launch: the premium Taycan Turbo and Taycan Turbo S. 

Performance

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With A standard performance battery, the 4S generates 522 horsepower and increases that power to 563 hp. All 4S models reach 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph. In fact, its performance is such that the need to upgrade to Turbo models is seriously questionable.

But if you’re attracted to the above, the Turbo powertrain generates a maximum of 616 hp (670 hp with launch control activated) and 626 pound-feet of torque. Porsche says this results in 0-60 mph in 3.0 seconds and a quarter mile of 11.1 seconds. The Turbo S comes with a more powerful front engine, along with launch control with an overboost function. Full power at 750 hp with 774 pound-feet of torque, 0-60 mph in 2.6 seconds and a quarter mile of 10.8 seconds. 

The front engine employs a coaxial direct drive design that more or less aligns with the front axle. The reduction gear and differential reside at one end, and one of the latter’s output shafts passes through the hollow center of the engine to power the opposite wheel. The substantially larger rear engine requires a more traditional offset transmission design. But, unlike the front (or almost any other EV), it feeds its power through a two-speed transmission.

This setup may sound strange at first, but the front and rear engines are completely independent of each other. There is no reason why they cannot run at different speeds. Furthermore, the division between the front and rear can be altered almost instantaneously in response to driver demand and changes in the surface.

The more robust rear engine delivers most of the power under acceleration, and having two reverse gears greatly expands its performance. The Taycan Turbo can generate great acceleration and then shift into higher gear to deliver a top speed of 162 mph on the highway.

Additionally, Porsche took the trouble to develop and refine the Taycan’s two-speed rear transmission concept, which changes imperceptibly most of the time.

If it’s in the default Normal mode and you’re casually cruising, the Taycan’s rear engine will start in second gear unless and until it gives the acceleration pedal a hard start from a standstill, at which point it will force it. Range mode locks the rear-wheel drive unit in second gear throughout the day for maximum efficiency.

The Turbo has an EPA-estimated range of 201 miles, while the Turbo S registers 192 miles. We expect a little more scope from the 4S. These numbers are certainly well below the benchmark set by the Tesla Model S, but some mileage has been sacrificed to ensure longer life, reliability, and more consistent performance.

Batteries and Charging

Image Source: https://www.porsche.com/

The Taycan’s battery is fundamentally different from that of any similar vehicle, including the Tesla. The battery, electric motors, inverters and external DC fast charge equipment are built around 800 volt operation. Other cars are built around 400 volts. Taycan’s higher voltage enables faster charging, cooler engine operating temperatures, increased regenerative braking capacity, and smaller on-board cabling that weighs less and takes up much less space.

You will need special 800-volt fast charging equipment to accomplish this, but Electrify America is currently building a coast-to-coast network that includes 800-volt equipment with 350 kW power. While the Electrify America network is not as extensive as the Tesla Supercharger network, it is rapidly building. 

Truth be told, this is primarily a minor problem because the vast majority of electric vehicle charging is done overnight on 240 volt Level 2 equipment in your own garage, with occasional charging in public spaces. Here, the Taycan offers more flexibility because it has Level 2 charging ports on both front fenders (the DC fast charging port is only on the right). Any EV on-board charger rules the day with Tier 2 domestic and public charging, and the Taycan is good for 9.6 kW, which is what it takes to get the most out of Tier 2 gear.

The included charging cable comes with A NEMA 14-50 plug end that is compatible with the common Class A motorhome plug found in RV parks. This plug supports 240 volts at 40 amps, and that means you will only need a certified electrician to install a matching 14-50 receptacle instead of a fully dedicated charging station to charge 9.6 kW maximum. 

Driving Experience

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Taycan models come with a series of electronically controlled shocks and a three-chamber air suspension that can be adjusted for both height and firmness, with built-in lift for additional clearance and a low mode for better aerodynamics. Wheel sizes vary from model to model: The 4S is equipped with 19-inch wheels as standard, while the Turbo and Turbo S feature 20-inch and 21-inch wheels, respectively. Summer and all-season versions are available in all sizes.

In general use, the difference between the two Turbo models is slight. The added grip of the Turbo S’s 21-inch thicker rim certainly helps turn on the track, but the Turbo’s 20-inch setup is nothing special. Both are interesting in terms of a sense of direction as well. Aided by the smaller wheels (which allow for more compliance) in the 4S, the Taycan handles well on poor-quality roads. Once again, Porsche proves that a sports experience does not have to be at the expense of comfort.

References

AutoTrader, 2020 [Online]. Link: https://www.autotrader.com/best-cars/electric-vehicles-most-range-2020-281474979958494

CNet, 2020 [Online]. Link: https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/every-electric-car-ev-range-audi-chevy-tesla/

Edmunds, 2020 [Online]. Link: https://www.edmunds.com/electric-car/articles/best-electric-cars/

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