Updated: Aug 19, 2021
800-volt charging system
Low, sporty seating position
Dual electric motors
0-100km/h in 2.8 seconds
Only uses sustainable energy for production
Electric cars are great, no emissions, less damage to the environment and more, but there’s usually something missing from them, especially if it’s an electric sports car. Granted, more brands are catching up and electric cars are starting to feel just as nice as traditional cars that run on combustion engines, but there’s still a bit of a gap.
We had the honour of being invited to Shanghai to learn about the technology powering Porsche’s first all-electric car, the Taycan, and even got a ride on the Porsche Experience Centre’s track!
The Taycan will launch in two models, the Turbo and the Turbo S. With a top speed of 260km/h for both models, speed demons will be happy to hear that the 0-100 time for the Turbo S is just 2.8 seconds, while the Turbo is a hair slower at 3.2 seconds. So let’s talk about the impressive tech behind this new car.
1. 800-volt System Voltage
Let’s start off with the basics, electric cars need charging, right? And Porsche has outdone the other competitors in the market by introducing 800-volt charging technology that allows you to charge your car from 5% State of Charge (SoC) to 80% SoC in just 22 minutes in Europe and 30 minutes in China with compatible 800-volt fast charging stations.
This is a huge decrease in time needed, as compared to competitors that are using 400-volt charging systems. In addition, Porsche has a Porsche Charging Planner that’s available in the Connect App for drivers to plan out routes, especially if they’re going for long drives.
Drivers definitely don’t want to be stuck with a dead car, so the Planner efficiently optimises the routes and plans for stops at charging stations if the travel distance is more than the estimated SoC can handle.
But what’s a sports car if it doesn’t feel and look like it, right? Drawing inspiration from the original Porsche 911, there are three main principles the design team focused on; a driver-focused cockpit, ensuring the instrument cluster is always the highest point of the dashboard and having a low and sporty seating position.
And the result? An all-electric sports car that not only looks like a sports car outside, but feels like one inside and drives like one.
This forward-thinking design philosophy sees plenty of changes in the interior, resulting in an extremely clean design that will undoubtedly please consumers. Vanes from the aircon vents have been removed, with the driver and passengers able to control how the air flows from the panels in the car.
Speaking of panels in the car, there are plenty. There can be a total of four touch panels in the car if you opt for it, with two in the centre between the driver and front passenger, an additional front screen option for the passenger, and a climate control screen for the rear passengers. That’s a whole bunch of screen real-estate for information displays, maps, music and more.
There’s plenty of tech packed into this car, not just in the components, but also in the overall user experience and that definitely delighted me.
3. Dual Electric Motors
By using an electric motor on both the front and rear axles, the Taycan is essentially an all-wheel drive. The motors are permanently excited synchronous motors, which have a rotor with permanent magnets that generate a natural magnetic field.
The front motor is a single speed planetary gear, while the rear motor has a two-speed transmission installed; first gear is for powerful acceleration while the longer second gear ensures efficiency and power reserve.
But there’s also an option called Launch Control, which allows for maximum acceleration from a complete standstill by using an overboost function, providing the motors with more power. In the Taycan Turbo S, the power output is a total of 560 kW at this point.
4. Body and Roof
Nobody wants to think about crashing a new car, but what if? Porsche has extensively tested the Taycan and even reinforced the battery underside with an aluminium frame, steel plate and crash load paths to ensure that the maximum passive and high-voltage safety is achieved.
The body of the car itself is made from a bunch of materials including hot and cold formed steel, sheet aluminium, extruded aluminium and casted aluminium. There’s also an automatic charging port door that’s able to break through ice buildup and is activated by a gesture sensor, which was a neat touch.
But I was mesmerised by the roof. Instead of the standard opaque roof, the designers at Porsche opted for a glass panel spanning 1 square meter for the top. This makes the car seem roomier than it is, and actually is a very nice touch that’s more noticeable for the rear passengers.
The glass is windscreen quality, and 5.8mm thick with thermal insulation properties to protect against heat loss in colder climates and overheating in warmer regions.
But what good is an electric car if building it still causes a bunch of damage to the environment? Porsche has even taken that into consideration, and built a brand new facility in Zuffenhausen at Stuttgart. This whole facility only uses power generated from wind, solar and water energy for the production and transportation of parts throughout the factory.
With over 6 billion Euros invested into this facility by 2020, the end-goal of Porsche is for the production of the Taycan to be absolutely CO2-neutral. The Taycan will also come in certain trims that use recycled or sustainable materials, such as Econyl which is made from recycled fishnets or OLEA leather, which is tanned with olive leaves instead of chromium.
With the introduction of the Taycan, I think other electric cars now have something to strive towards beating. Porsche has managed to almost replicate the feel of a combustion engine car in the Taycan while packing in plenty of features, and I think the notion that an electric car doesn’t match up to a traditional car will soon be dispelled if other brands can quicken the pace of innovation.
More information about the Taycan can be found here.