Tech’Splaining: Porsche Taycan Electric Sedan

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The Porsche Taycan is an electric-powered sedan that blends high performance, sharp handling, and rapid acceleration with everyday practicality. Set to be formally introduced in September, the Taycan is Porsche’s first all-electric vehicle and is aimed directly at rivals like the Tesla Model S, along with upcoming luxury focused EVs from the likes of BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz.

  • The Taycan is Porsche’s first all-electric production car
  • Top models will have 600+horsepower and more than 300 miles of range
  • Porsche is taking direct aim at the Tesla Model S electric sedan
  • Base price expected to start around $85,000
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The Porsche Mission E, pictured here, is an electric-powered concept that will inspire the shape and engineering of the upcoming Taycan sedan. Photo: Porsche

 

It will look like a Porsche

So, what do we know about the Taycan? For starters, the exterior design borrows heavily from the Mission E, a sleek concept car that debuted at the Frankfurt Auto Show back in 2015. Based on looks alone, the Mission E was a homerun for Porsche, thanks to its combination of cutting-edge technology and taut four-door shape. Despite being an EV, the Mission E has a strong family resemblance to current Porsche models, like the iconic 911 sports car and luxurious Panamera sedan.

Fitted with an electric motor at the front and rear, the all-wheel drive Mission E concept delivers about 600 horsepower to all four wheels and has a theoretical driving range of more than 300 miles. These numbers are important, because they’ll likely transfer to range-topping models of the Taycan production car.

Test mules have been spotted on roads and racetracks around the world but, for the time being, the final shape of the Taycan remains a secret. For all intents and purposes, however, expect it to look nearly identical to the seductive Mission E. This means exterior touches like wheels ranging up to 21-inches in diameter, and cabin features such as individual rear bucket seats and a dashboard dominated by touch-screen surfaces.

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The Taycan will be Porsche smallest sedan, with seating for four and trunk space in the front and rear of the car. Photo: Porsche

It will drive like a Porsche

“Everybody expects Porsche to enter the battery-electric vehicle market with something that is truly Porsche,” said Klaus Zellmer, CEO for Porsche Cars North America. “It has to behave like a real sports car. That’s what people expect, and that’s what we are trying to then match, or exceed.”

Porsche has spent considerable time and energy – not to mention many billions of research and development dollars – getting its EV powertrain and architecture right from the start. The Taycan’s lithium-ion battery pack will be positioned extremely low and in the center of the car. This helps lower the overall center of gravity, something that’s vitally important to maintain sharp handling in a performance car.

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The Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid (pictured) is larger than than the Taycan, though the two models will likely weigh about the same. Photo: Porsche

 

How big will it be and how much will it weigh? Considering the Mission E concept measures in at about 8-inches shorter and 5-inches lower than the 2019 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid sedan, the production version of the Taycan will be noticeably smaller than its four-door stablemate. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will weigh much less, however.

Batteries are heavy, so it’s likely the weight difference will be minimal between these two green machines. The larger Panamera E-Hybrid tips the scales around 4,700 pounds, and it’s likely the Taycan will weigh about the same. For reference, a Tesla Model S weighs approximately 4,800 pounds, or more, depending on the size of battery that’s ordered.

Porsche estimates the Taycan will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, and top speed will be electronically limited to 155 mph. Except Porsche is being coy about which model these performance specs apply to. Keep reading to see what we mean.

One electric Porsche sedan, many choices

Porsche is set on taking the fight to Tesla and, to do exactly that, the Taycan is likely to be offered in a variety of performance specifications. Some will emphasize all-out power and speed, others could lean more towards comfort and longer driving range. The Tesla Model S is currently available in three main trims: Standard Range, Long Range, and Performance. As you’d expect, Long Range is the distance champion, with 370-miles of driving range available between recharges. For sheer speed, the Performance trim fitted with optional Ludicrous mode ($20,000) accelerates from zero to 60 mph in only 2.4 seconds.

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The Tesla Model S is the electric sedan Porsche is targeting with the Taycan. We can’t wait to try the two of them side-by-side. Photo: Tesla Motors

 

According to one publication that got an early test drive in a development car, the Taycan is going to follow a similar strategy. The base Taycan will be rear-wheel drive, with potentially two choices of battery pack. Stepping up to the “4S” and “Turbo” models nets you two electric motors, all-wheel drive, and ever-increasing levels of power from increasingly stronger lithium-ion battery packs. Whether extra power also translates to additional range remains to be seen.

And yes, it appears Porsche is going to apply the Turbo name to the range-topping Taycan, even though electric-powered vehicles don’t have turbochargers affixed to them. In this case, Porsche is not letting itself get hung up on mundane little details.

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The Taycan interior could closely resemble the tech filled interior of the Mission E. Touch screens are the future at Porsche, apparently. Photo: Porsche

Driving range and future models

The Mission E was advertised by Porsche as having more than 300 miles of range. That’s impressive, though not quite on-par with the 370 miles of range offered by the current Tesla Model S. We’ll know more specifics about miles-per-charge closer to the Taycan’s big reveal in September.

One thing Porsche isn’t shy about describing is how the Taycan benefits from an extremely potent 250-kWh charging system. According to Porsche, it takes only four minutes to gain an extra 60+miles when using this tech. To recharge up to 80-percent of the battery requires less than 20 minutes.

That sounds great, except this fast-changing technology is nearly non-existent right now. For some perspective, the majority of Tesla Superchargers are capped at 120-kWh, or about half the power Porsche is using for its recharging math. Granted, charging technology is constantly improving but, when plugged into a more mundane type of outlet, the Taycan’s headline-grabbing charge time quickly tumbles back to earth.

That shouldn’t detract from how important this car is to Porsche, and the impact it will have in the luxury EV market. Porsche has already committed itself to building a wagon-based variant of the Taycan, called the Cross Turismo. The next-generation of Macan sport-utility, the automaker’s best-selling model, is also due for electrification when it’s redesigned in 3-4 years’ time.

The Taycan marks the very beginning of a wave of electric cars and SUVs to come from Porsche in the years ahead.


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