The Porsche Taycan Debuts as One of the Most Anticipated Cars of the Decade

With as much as 560kW on tap and about 380 kilometres of range, Porsche’s all-electric sedan charges onto the market.

By Sean Evans 09/09/2019

Niagara Falls in Ontario, Canada, was chosen as the locale for the reveal of the Porsche Taycan fully electric sedan for good reason: the ginormous hydro-electric power plant that resides there. It didn’t hurt that the Taycan looked imposing in the foreground of the press snaps either. It’ll likely garner attention wherever it goes, especially from whomever it quietly zooms past thanks to the eye-catching, futuristic design and some serious power-train engineering.

In terms of size, the Taycan is smaller than the Panamera, about the same size as a BMW 5 Series or a Mercedes-Benz E-Class, or even the car that it’ll henceforth be benchmarked against: the Tesla Model S. I got a test-ride in a Taycan around a Formula E track. Despite being thrashed around by a professional racing driver, I felt that the backseat was plush and spacious enough for my 6-foot-2 frame. The car was also fast as hell.

The 56kW Taycan Turbo S surges from zero to 100km/h in 2.8 seconds using launch control.
Photo: Courtesy of Porsche AG.

Underneath the floor is a skateboard containing a 93 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which pushes energy to a pair of synchronous electric motors, one for each axle. The front axle receives a single-speed motor while the rear contains a two-speed transmission. For the quizzical, the first gear is for acceleration, and the shift point is around 100 kilometres an hour. While it’s pretty unusual for an EV to include a transmission, the point here is pure power and time will tell whether this will practically benefit drivers.

Onto the name. The base Taycan will be called the Turbo and some engineering tinkering will eke out more power for the Turbo S. As there is no combustion engine to which a turbo can physically be affixed, it’s silly to keep the conventional names, but Porsche is doing so because it believes customers can better equate the products to competitor vehicles. (Later next year, there will be a wagon variant, too.)

A peek inside Porsche’s zero-emissions sedan.
Photo: Courtesy of Porsche AG.

Both the Turbo and the Turbo S generate 460kW, but an “overboost” function affords the Turbo bursts up to 500kW while the Turbo S pushes 560kW to the wheels. The torque is 848 and 1049Nm, respectively, which is good enough to propel the 2336 kilogram beast from a standstill to 100km/h in 3.0 seconds for the Turbo and in 2.6 seconds for the Turbo S. While those numbers are more blunted than a Tesla Model S, Porsche would prefer you focus on the fact that the engineers were more concerned with making an all-around dynamic car with repeatable performance rather than a drag strip winner.

The Taycan Turbo runs with 500kW and 848Nm of torque.
Photo: Courtesy of Porsche AG.

Porsche hopes for a range of 450 kilometres, though no official numbers have arrived. It’ll likely clock in around 380 kilometres, and that’s a little bit of a bummer because the Model S can go about 50 per cent further (595 kilometres) on a battery that’s only about 8 per cent bigger. Perhaps to offset this, Porsche’s imbued the Taycan with 800-volt charging systems, a giant nose-thumb to the norm of 400-volt systems in most other EVs. Still, the battery can only take about 270 kWh at its peak, though Porsche believes to achieve 400-500 kWh as advancements in technology develop. For now, with optimal temperature and conditions, the Taycan can go from five per cent charge to 80 per cent in roughly 20 minutes.

The Taycan’s high-tech interior.
Photo: Courtesy of Porsche AG.

Pricing for Australia won’t be revealed until early 2020, with the first cars arriving to Australia in Q4 2020.

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