Electric cars are still referred to as something of the future, almost ignoring the EVs that have been whizzing around for over a decade now in various forms and capabilities. For many renowned manufacturers, a production-model EV is still a new venture, so when they make one, the expectations are much higher as compared to newcomers. That is the case with the Porsche Taycan. The first production-spec EV from the same Stuttgart company better known for some of the best race cars and sports coupes in the world over the last 75 years.
Porsche first announced their EV as the Mission e back in 2015 and its production badge-name announced in summer last year. The Taycan is a four-door sports EV and the flag bearer for driving enthusiasts in the new era of automotive technology. It had to be more than just a straight-line starship, more than a clean car for the green-minded and more than a novelty project. The Taycan has to be good enough to be desired by those who will one day have to hand over the keys to their combustion engines. Many reviewers across the world will be lucky enough to test it themselves, but we’ll have to make do with what it says on paper.
The Taycan uses a 93.4kWh battery pack under the floor to power two permanently excited synchronous motors, one for each axle. It is the first production vehicle to feature 800-volt technology for high power, reduced charge time and less weight, even though it still has an unladen weight of 2,305kg. If you can find a DC fast-charger with a 270kW rating, the battery can be charged from 5-80% in under 23 minutes. If you can only find a 50kW DC fast charger, it would take around 93 minutes for the same amount of charge. Using a regular 11kW AC charger, it would take 9 hours to fully charge the Taycan’s battery from empty. But how does all that translate into range and performance?
Well, depends on the variant. Porsche is offering the EV in two variants to start with – Turbo and Turbo S. Yes, the brand does need to sort out its nomenclature table for the new range of products that no longer have turbos and engines, but that is how it is for now. The entry-spec Turbo claims a combined range of 450km (WLTP cycle for highways and city driving) with 500kW(680PS) and 850Nm on offer and can accelerate from nought to a 100kph in 3.2 seconds with launch control and can reach 200kph in 10.6 seconds. Meanwhile, the sportier Turbo S offers 560kW(761PS) and 1050Nm under the right foot which reduces the combined range to 415km.
The Taycan Turbo S claims a 0-100kph acceleration time of 2.8 seconds with launch control and 9.8 seconds to reach 200kph. Both cars have a top speed of 260kph. Without the use of Overboost for maximum power the Taycan Turbo and Turbo S offer 460kW(625PS) only. Still, the Taycan Turbo S offers enough on paper to compete with the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Executive.
On the inside, the Taycan gets the latest tech and many touchscreens. The new cockpit layout is more of an evolution than a revolution. It gets a new, freestanding 16.8-inch digital instrument cluster with no cowls. There are small, touch control fields on each edge to control the lighting and the dynamic settings of the Taycan. It has a 10.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system and an 8.4-inch touchscreen control panel with haptic feedback in the central console for climate controls. The drive select stick is the same design as the new 992-gen 911 but located on the dashboard between the cluster and the infotainment display. Porsche has also put a new steering wheel in the Taycan and doesn’t feature any paddles behind it but it does get a drive mode selector dial. It also has an optional screen for the front passenger along with an optional touchscreen in the back for controlling the four-zone climate control.
The Taycan is a pricey offering, not exactly an electric revolution for the masses. Its interior is made of nice things and new-age materials with plenty of personalisation options and can seat four in comfort. The exterior is similar to that of the Panamera but still distinct with its curves, styling and aerodynamic elements. After all, Porsche isn’t exactly known for doing things completely different but simply working a base idea until the point of near-perfection. The Taycan is their first take on a production-spec EV, but I have faith that each iteration will be a better one.
Porsche has priced the Taycan to start at £116,000 and can easily stretch beyond £150,000 with options. It is the first major player in the EV business after the Tesla Model S. The Taycan Turbo S has claimed the current Nürburging lap record for its segment (7m42s) but Tesla is working on something to go even faster. The real questions around reliability and driving experience will be answered in the coming months.
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