Porsche firmly in the EV race with the new Taycan
The Porsche Taycan is the beginning of a new era for the storied German sports car maker. It puts Porsche firmly in the electric car race, where it will go up against the formidable Tesla Model S. Possibly, the most important car for the brand since the Cayenne, it is meant to provide buyers with all the good Porsche bits like dynamic ability, everyday usability and real-world pace in a new-age eco-conscious EV package.
The Taycan's styling seems to echo this sentiment. While the overall shape is unmistakably Porche, taking cues from cars like the 911 and the Panamera, there is a unique spin to the whole design. This is most evident towards the front of the car with the low nose and the muscular wheel arches on either side. The lighting is a flatter version of the four-LED look of other new Porsches but the vertical aero element adds to the car's unique face. In profile, the most striking bit is the flowing C-pillar which ends in a flat boot lid and another set of muscular arches. The rear gets the wide LED light bar, but again this seems to be placed higher up the rear, giving it a more assertive stance. Porsche claims that the Taycan has a drag coefficient of 0.22, making it the slipperiest ar in its line-up. The production version seems to to have stayed quite true to the Misson E concept that previewed it a few years ago.
Two versions are available at launch, the Taycan Turbo and the more powerful Taycan Turbo S. Both come with a twin-electric motor set-up, one on each axle and drawing power from a 93.4 kWh battery pack placed under the floor. The cars sits on a skateboard-like EV platform developed by Porsche for the VW group and termed the J1. The power output for the Turbo is 625PS, although a 3s overboost function bumps this up to 680PS. This and the 850Nm torque figure lets the Turbo get to 100 kmph from standstill in 3.2s. The Turbo S bumps the overboost power figure up to 761PS and the torque number to 1,050 Nm. This drops the 0 to 100 kmph time to 2.8s. Both cars have the same 280 kmph top-speed. The WLTP certified range for the Turbo is 450 km which drops to 412 km for the Turbo S.
Porsche has also used the Taycan to debut some tech unseen on EVs before. The four-door coupe is the first production vehicle to have a system voltage of 800V instead of the usual 400V. This lets it user get up to 100 kms of range in under five minutes via a DC fast charger. Charging from five to 80 per cent takes 22.5 minutes while users can also charge the Taycan at home via an 11 kWh AC charger. Another first is the two-speed transmission. This aids acceleration in the first gear while the long second ratio allows of better efficiency and higher power reserves. This also lets the Taycan achieve higher top-speeds.
The insides of the Taycan also put a new spin on the classic Porsche look. The layout is similar to other new Porsches but most of the physical buttons and dials have been replaced by screens. The instrument cluster is 16.3-inch, curved, free-standing and with no analogue rev-counter, although the five-pod look remains. The infotainment is a similar 12.3-inch unit from other Porsches but the buttons on the central tunnel have been replaced by a screen. Both these work in conjunction to control most of the car's convinience and assitance systems. Uniquely, an optional screen is availble for the front passenger too. There is a blue-tinged theme to the whole layout, and the four seats are done up using eco-friendly materials. Boot space is 366 litre for the rear and 81 litres for the front.
Prices for the Taycan start at Rs 1.08 crore internationally before taxes and duties. India will get the new Porsche EV by the end of the first quarter or beginning of the second quarter of 2020. Porsche is also looking at developing some infrastructure to support buyers of its EV like tie-ups with hotels etc for charging infrastructure as well as home and office charging units for owners.