The September launch for Porsche’s first electric offering, the Taycan, is drawing closer and as anticipation for what will no doubt be an impressive addition to the range of high-end EVs builds, one question has been eating away the auto watchers: will it be all it is being hyped up to be?
Well, for those who have been wondering, the Taycan has now been put through its paces by UK electric vehicle show Fully Charged, in a world exclusive full speed test drive by a non-Porsche employee, non professional racing driver.
Host Jonny Smith had the opportunity to gun the Taycan on a 2.3 kilometre track at an airfield in south Baden, in a pre-series, 440kW “sprint challenge” – and not just once. He did it TWENTY-SIX times.
The video of the test is cool to watch (you can watch it here) – and from the outset you can see the power sparked into action by what Porsche refers to as “launch control”.
Able to travel at speeds of over 250km/hr, Smith takes it up to at least 200km/hr in each in each launch – 225km/hr in some.
He starts the car up (not that you’d know at first – it is practically silent of course), but once that foot is down the Taycan is off and away, and Smith loses his sunnies.
The popint of doing the run 26 times is, according to Porsche, to prove the repeatability of the Taycan’s performance.
“We set out with a goal to build a Porsche and not have the driver feel the derating of the car in any situation,” Bernd Propfe, platform director for Taycan tells Smith.
So what is under the bonnet (and the floor for that matter) that gives the Taycan its undeniably cracking performance?
Two permanently excited synchronous motors
Both the 200 horsepower on the front axle and 400 horsepower motor on the back axle use premium quality magnets to generate a natural magnetic field maintain the speed of the rotor with that of the rotating magnetic field of the stator (the stationary portion of an electric motor).
They are more expensive to build and require an additional DC power source to get the rotor up to speed, but have the benefit of energy and thermal efficiency.
800 volt power system
The voltage of your average electric vehicle is 400V. The Taycan is twice that – this means higher power output and faster charging than other EVs – it also means that once out in Australia, it will be the only vehicle able to take full advantage of the 350kW ultra-rapid chargers dotting the eastern seaboard.
The copper wires inside the stator of an electric motor are traditionally coiled in loops. The Taycan motors make use of another method, known as hairpin winding.
By bending the wires and inserting them into the stator, more wires are able to fit into the stator, increasing output and torque. Hairpin winding is often used in the motors of high-performance vehicles for this reason, and have the added advantage of being able to cool down more quickly.
Intelligent thermal management
Keeping the temperature of a lithium-ion battery is important, not only for longevity of the battery but also for high power output on demand.
The Taycan uses, like many other EVs, liquid cooling to ensure it is kept at the optimum temperature, as well as “intelligent thermal management” in winter to ensure efficient functioning of the vehicle in cold temperatures.
Flat battery pack on bespoke chassis
One thing many EVs are well known for is the lower centre of gravity thanks to a flat pack that is laid under the floor of the vehicle (the exception of these are usually electric versions of internal combustion engine vehicles).
The Taycan, which has a specially made battery pack to handle the 800V electrical architecture, is no exception. What kind of cells those are Porsche is not saying, despite repeated questioning of Propfe by Smith.
Aluminium and carbon fibre shell
While nothing new in itself, the aluminium and carbon fibre shell of the Taycan is critical in reducing the weight of the vehicle to ensure optimum performance. Even then the vehicle still weighs on 2 tonnes but doesn’t feel like a heavy vehicle to drive, says Smith.
Inside the Taycan is a 2 speed gearbox that is “critical to repeatability”, says Smith. Given one of the engineers then went onto work for Pinninfarina, this must be one hell of a gearbox.
Orders for the Taycan have reportedly been high – while Propfe says over 20,000 orders for the Taycan (which will is Porsche’s flagship and which will be the top-of-the-line version followed by cheaper, lower performance variants), word is there have been as many as 30,000 ordered.
So has the Taycan lived up to all the hype? As Smith says, “It doesn’t get boring, it doesn’t get boring, it doesn’t get boring!”
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.