Porsche officially unveiled the Taycan to the world last night and given the company is one of the biggest names in the automotive and motorsport industry, it’s worth spending some time talking about their very first fully electric vehicle.
The Taycan will come in three variants, but will absolutely be the most expensive EV on the market when it arrives in Australia in the second half of 2020. If you want to express your interest in buying one, it’ll cost you A$2,500 to do so. There’s no final pricing here yet, but don’t expect much change from A$300,000.
The flagship model is the Turbo S, which is frankly a silly name for a car without turbos but does speak to the performance of the car. with a 0-100km/h time of just 2.8 seconds.
Here’s the thing, Porsche hasn’t just built this car for the streets, but also for the track. That means engineering the motors, the battery chemistry, the brakes and the cooling systems to sustain a 0-200km/hr time of under than 10 seconds.
The repeatability of braking and accelerating is something Porsche are promoting heavily, clearly an area of investment for the company as they strive to make the Taycan a real race car of the future.
Today, there’s been plenty of comparisons between this and other EVs, particularly Tesla. Naturally that’s going to happen, but ultimately the side you land on after reading all the specs and pricing is how you feel about the brand and what you expect from a car.
Right now car buyers are making the decision only buy cars that are fully EV. That means its likely the badge on their current car, won’t be the same badge on their next. EVs are still a new space, but they are coming from Audi, Mercedes and other premium manufacturers.
The top of the market (Porsche has gone right for the top) also has the most margins to fund the development of future vehicles, more affordable ones that everyday vehicle owners may actually buy.
In terms of design, I’ve never liked what Porsche had to offer, but with the Taycan, I do. They’ve rethought the entire vehicle, a ground-up rethink on what we expect from vehicles for the next 10 years.
The aerodynamic exterior is strong, bold and looks fast, but it is perhaps the interior decisions that help you understand how Porsche engineers and designers are thinking. The center console now features a touchscreen, with storage underneath, while the dash accommodates additional displays, providing you with more loads of entertainment and technology options while driving.
When it comes to charging, Porsche have also selected the leading standard of CCS2, but they’ve done something quite unique with the charging port. The cover retracts into the bodywork, revealing the CCS type 2 connector.
This is not just a cool party trick, it does avoid the chance someone would snap off the charging port. The Taycan can support recharging rates of between 270kW, while Porsche say they could have 350kW in the future. At these rates, you can put on 100km of range in just 5 minutes.
In terms of total range, the car is good for around 400km of NEDC rated range. That rating seems to be one EV makers love to use as the range number is higher, but WLTP is far closer to real-world range. Don’t be surprised to see the Taycan with an actual range of 350km per charge.
Given Australia’s growing list of CCS2 compatible chargers, the Taycan will certainly be a viable option for driving most of the east coast of Australia.
Yesterday I was in Melbourne and in one of the car parks in the CBD actually had 2x Porsche Destination chargers. It turns out, it’s not just Tesla owners that have to worry about ICEing. The two charging locations were taken by Toyota and Holden SUVs, clearly, we have to do a better job of educating consumers about these spaces.
Another aspect of building a premium vehicle for the future is the software stack, enabled by a mobile connection in the car. The Porsche Connect app lets you check the current state of charge in your Taycan. You can also schedule charging, great if you have on-peak/off-peak power plans, as well as routines for different days of the week.
Finally, the Taycan will feature 2 gears, which I believe is fairly unique in production EVs. This works by leveraging the lower gear off the line to help execute that super fast acceleration, while the top gear is designed to accommodate faster speeds. This shift happens automatically and it’s unlikely you’ll notice when driving.
For those who watch the Formula E, you’ll know that shifting gears in an EV isn’t new, they’ve been doing it for years, ultimately it doesn’t take user interaction, so it’s not a problem, but is noteworthy as Porsche takes quite a different approach to achieve their performance with the Taycan.
Porsche should be congratulated for being on the front end of this EV change. Many others like Nissan are still on the fence about what to do for their next performance vehicles. In my mind, it’s a no brainer, use anything other than EV and your product is dead in the water.
It takes somewhere between 3 and 5 years to develop a new vehicle and when you’re throwing out almost everything you know and starting over, the EV shift is a much more serious undertaking than a normal model refresh. If you turn up in 2024/2025 and are trying to sell an ICE vehicle, good luck to you, especially if the forecasted reduction in battery pricing occurs.
The internal combustion engine has served us well for decades but has reached the end of its innovation life, all the investment needs to turn to EVs if you are an automaker that wants to be around in 10 years, you need to catch up, fast.
Well done Porsche, you’ve put together a compelling (albeit very expensive) product in the market, that’s far more than most of your competitors.
What will be interesting is how hard Porsche push on the autonomous driving efforts, especially when they’re making performance cars for drivers. Still, it’d be nice not to have to drive between tracks.