If, like us, you are interested in how a car drives as well as how it looks and how many cupholders it has, the launch of an all electric Porsche is pretty big news. And this is it, a four door sports executive car. Note not a sports car and not an SUV, we think Porsche has hit the sweet spot of current electric car tech perfectly.
A quick look at the spec sheet confirms that Porsche has taken this very seriously. The basics are front and rear motors providing four wheel drive, a minimum of a 79.2 kWh battery (71 kWh useable) and the option of a 93.4 kWh battery pack (83.7 kWh useable) and a very powerful regenerative braking system which can harvest 265 kW of power and can meet up to 90% of braking demand.
However that is just the start. The Taycan is the first production EV to use an 800v electrical system rather than the normal 400v. This has several benefits including smaller cables that take up less space and are lighter, the ability to sustain consistent high performance output, and the ability to accept very high charging rates. With the standard 4S battery, the maximum charging rate is 225 kW whilst the larger Sports Performance Plus pack can take 270 kW. This means either battery can charge at a 270 kW+ Ultra Rapid charger from 5% to 80% in 22.5 minutes providing 200 – 230 miles of range. Whilst Ultra Rapid chargers are currently rare they will become more common soon and the ability to use them will be welcomed. In the meantime you can still use 50 kW Rapid chargers so there is no downside to the Ultra Rapid capability.
For Fast AC charging the Porsche has an 11 kW on board charger which means it will take around 8 hours to fully charge from a 22 kW chargepoint or from a 7 kW chargepoint, such as a home charger, it takes just under 12 hours. There are two charging ports on the front wings, allowing AC charging on either side and DC Rapid charging on the drivers side. The additional AC port is a nice touch as Fast chargepoints can sometimes be more difficult to access, so being able to position the car on either side helps.
Given Porsche’s drivetrain prowess it is no surprise that there are cutting edge developments here too. Each of the electric machines use a novel winding which gives them the highest power density on the market. The rear motor features a two speed gearbox with 1st gear used for maximum acceleration whilst second gear matches the fixed ratio used on the front motor and enables sustained high speed running.
The Taycan is hugely fast, but not the fastest EV on the market. Instead Porsche has concentrated on repeatable performance and claims that 10 back to back launch control starts can be performed with no loss of performance. To do that, Porsche has focussed on controlling battery temperature as tightly as possible which also helps to deliver those super fast recharging times. The battery pack itself is made up of pouch type cells which are more space efficient and allow the pack to fit around features such as footwells for rear seat passengers which will be welcomed by anyone who travels in the back.
Of course where you really want to be is in the driver’s seat where you will be greeted by a typical Porsche driving environment. The engineers have worked hard to get the seating position low, the dashboard looks great and the myriad of electronic displays blend seamlessly rather than being the standout feature. The screen count is impressive with a 16.8 inch curved display (another first) in the instrument binnacle with 3 configurable sections, a 10.9 inch central infotainment screen, and a centre console screen. In addition two optional displays can be specified, a 10.9 inch unit for the front seat passenger and a 5.9 inch touchscreen for rear seat passengers which controls temperature, ventilation and seat heating.
On the move there are four driving modes (Range, Normal, Sport, Sport+) which control key systems including adjusting the air suspension ride height, aerodynamic features, cooling flaps, ventilation, heating, rear wheel steering, and power distribution. Interestingly Porsche has decided not to use a ‘one pedal’ regenerative braking system, instead lifting off the accelerator lets the car coast and braking is only activated via the brake pedal. We really like one pedal systems but we think Porsche has got this absolutely right as performance driving still feels more natural with a two pedal set up.
The Taycan lays claim to being the first electric car that really nails performance driving and as such we love it. The fact that it is also hugely innovative, looks great inside and out, fits four adults and can accelerate from 49 – 74 mph in 2.3 seconds underlines its rounded capabilities. Any downside? Well it is a bit thirsty so whilst the range is sensible it falls a fair way short of the competition, but it does at least allow Ultra Rapid charging to get you going again quickly. We think the 4S with the larger Performance Battery Plus is the sweet spot of the range, providing all the performance you could ever need with a useful boost to range.
Estimated real world range: 200 – 252 miles
Official range: 206 – 252 miles (Performance Battery Plus 239 – 287 miles)
Official electricity consumption: 211 – 257 Wh/km
Battery pack: 79.2 kWh (gross) 71 kWh (net) lithium ion; 8 year / 100,000 mile warranty (70% SOC remaining)
Recharge time: 7 kW charge approx 11 hours 50 minutes; 11 kW charge approx 8 hours; Rapid CCS 50 kW 1 hour 30 mins (5 – 80%); Ultra Rapid 225 kW 22 mins (5 – 80%)
Please note that CO2 emissions quoted for electric cars are not directly comparable to diesel and petrol cars. This is because CO2 emissions quoted are calculated by Green Car Guide and include the emissions created at the power station turning fuel (e.g. gas etc) into electricity and in transmitting and distributing the electricity to an end user. They do not include the actual production of the fuel (e.g. gas extraction and refinery emissions). Petrol and diesel emissions are supplied by car manufacturers and are based solely on the fuel burnt in the engine (tailpipe emissions) and do not include the production of the fuel or distribution to a fuel station. In practice this means that electric car emissions are over-estimated relative to petrol and diesel. For instance if an electric car, a petrol car, and a diesel car are all reported to emit 100 g/km CO2, the electric car actually has lower emissions.