What was once previously all the buzz as Mission E, has now been re-christened ‘Taycan’. We’re talking about Porsche’s new all-electric performance car, an impending 600hp four-seater EV that’s got its LED headlights set not on its German counterparts, but on electric powerhouse Tesla.
What’s in a name?
According to the boys at Stuttgart, Taycan roughly translates to “lively young horse” in a Eurasian dialect. Pronounced “tie-con”, it’s presumably a noble reference to the leaping steed that’s taken over the crest since 1952, but we predict the inevitable confusion with a certain exotic bird. Non-futuristic name aside, the Porsche Taycan is destined for greatness. After all, the Porsche 918 hypercar, while not fully electric, was a beast that ended up setting a Nürburgring lap time record — not bad work for a firm that only started offering the family-friendly Cayenne and Panamera hybrids a mere four years earlier.
The Taycan’s performance figures are impressive, but they’re also underestimated and awfully ambiguous (in keeping with Porsche’s tradition of modesty). A zero to 100kph sprint is said to be achieved in ‘less than 3.5 seconds’, and it’ll hit 200kph in ‘less than 12 seconds’. Top speed? ‘More than 250kph’.
That speed is brought about by a pair of permanent magnet synchronous motors — one at the front and one at the rear — that’re more power-dense, temperature-stable and lighter than Tesla’s induction ones. There’s a promise of repeatable acceleration figures even as the battery level wanes — surely a dig at Tesla’s ultra-quick Ludicrous Mode, which saps the battery after about two launches. Two-speed gearboxes are used to keep acceleration unbiased all the way, likely placed at the back with the more powerful rear motor.
Which comes down to the issue of charging. Fifteen minutes is all it’ll take for the Porsche Taycan to replenish its juice from flat to 80 percent, and by 2020, a network of chargers is expected to pop up around Europe to ensure you don’t run dry. They’ll also be placed at all dealers, only converting electricity from renewables to ensure the EV serves its purpose as an eco-friendly ride.
These chargers are part of the Ionity network the firm is investing with alongside Ford, BMW, Audi and Mercedes, but only when plugged into a Porsche will it deliver its full potential of 800 volts (350kW), thanks to a more advanced electronics and cooling system that can cope. Still, with its Euro-standard CCS plus, the Taycan can charge at non-800 volts outlets — it’ll only take longer. By comparison, Tesla’s superchargers only offer 480 volts.
Equipped with the more efficient computer blended braking, it’s supposed to (on paper) do 500km on the NEDC cycle, but expect a slightly more modest range in real life on motorway speeds. This isn’t a problem unique to Porsche; Tesla’s Model S 100D is supposed to provide for 632km NEDC, but the firm states 449km when going at a steady, more realistic speed of 120kph.
Technicalities aside, the Porsche Taycan is actually a handsome all-electric vehicle. The firm voted in favour of a sleeker and lower silhouette that was bestowed upon the very first concept version in 2015. This is quite a departure from the initial raised chassis and body cladding of this year’s concept.
It’s not going to be a modified Panamera either. The Taycan rides on its own bespoke platform, internally nicknamed J1.
Porsches have long been associated with the kind of sweet grunt that’s capable of raising goosebumps, but the Taycan won’t sing the symphony of a V8 or flat-six for obvious reasons: It doesn’t have either. Sure, it could synthesise it, but to save you the embarrassment of the faux pas, it’ll produce a low noise that’s more in line with the technology it harnesses.
The announcement of the Porsche Taycan comes after the firm revealed its 911 Speedster Concept ahead of the “70 years of the Porsche sports car” celebrations this weekend. It might be the 991-era 911’s last hurrah, and designed to echo the early Porsche 356 Speedsters.
Porsche 911 Speedster Concept
Like every good throwback, the speedster sports a racy two-tone paint job, and Fuchs-style 21 wheels with centre-locks, Talbot-shaped wing mirrors and a shorter windshield. There’s also a fuel filler cap located in the center of the hood, and a ‘double-bubble’ rear cover in carbon-fibre. Look closely, and you’ll see the headlight lenses have a ‘taped over’ design that hark back to Speedsters of the past.
Its body comes from the Carrera 4 Cabriolet, but the chassis is borrowed from the 911 GT3, from which it also cops its formidable 500hp 4.0-litre flat-six engine. Within, you’ll sit in carbon fibre bucket seats, trimmed in a pleasant dose of ‘Cognac 356’ leather, and with nothing but the exhilarating sound of the wind and engine for company. The air-conditioning, navigation, and radio have been removed to save weight.
Porsche will announce in the coming months on whether it’ll put this baby into production, which it should (and we’re quite sure, will), and it’s without a doubt that it’ll sell out in seconds.