Porsche Taycan has been confirmed as the name for the production version of the Porsche Mission E concept when it arrives in 2019. The rakish four-door electric coupe will take on the Tesla Model S, offering a blend of performance, driver involvement and electric range to challenge its US rival. The Porsche Taycan is expected to be the flagship for Porsche’s electrification of its range, with a number of plug-in hybrids and EVs set to arrive further down the line.
According to Porsche, Taycan translates roughly from an unspecified "eastern dialect" as ‘lively young horse’, in reference to the horse that features on the brand’s shield logo.Technology and performance
The Porsche Taycan will sit below the Porsche Panamera in the range, with prices starting around £60-70,000. It’s expected to cost slightly more than its main rival, the Tesla Model S.
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The Porsche Mission E concept – first shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2015 – has a near-600bhp powertrain consisting of lithium-ion batteries and two electric motors, one for each axle. Porsche claims this will translate to a 0-62mph time of 3.5 seconds in the production Taycan, with a 0-124mph time of under 12 seconds and a top speed of 155mph.
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A Taycan with such performance is expected to sit at the top of the range, although the company"s ambition is to sell 20,000 Mission E models in a year, and this plan may include three variants with 400-600bhp. “We will think of different options,” Porsche CEO Oliver Blume told Carbuyer. “There will be more than one. With different levels of power.”
Range will be a major concern for most buyers; 300 miles or above is expected, with Porsche claiming that the 800-volt system in the car can add 62 miles of range from just four minutes connected to a high-powered charger.
Blume also explained that Porsche"s electric car would be capable of updating its software over wi-fi and might offer Tesla-style downloadable power upgrades. “It will be possible to work with over-the-air options,” he said. “It isn’t decided yet, but it could be possible to charge up with more power. For example when you have 400bhp, it could be possible to upgrade to 450bhp.”
Speaking to Carbuyer on a previous occasion, Blume explained that, although some autonomous features can be expected, Porsche has no plans for an entirely self-driving version of the Mission E. The intent would instead be to ensure owners can enjoy driving their car, although he cited examples of where autonomy might help out – reading a newspaper while stuck in traffic and the ability to park remotely were mentioned.Range and charge time
It"s expected that the Porsche Mission E will deliver exceptional acceleration, but its maker has also promised a 310-mile range. It"s also planned that an 80% battery charge will take just 15 minutes when connected to an appropriate charger. Blume is of the opinion that a quarter of an hour is an acceptable interval when making a long journey.
To achieve this, a fast charging network of at least 150kW (kilowatt) output will be necessary. Porsche is set to lead the VW Group"s fast-charging project and Blume says it"s working with other organisations to bring such a network to being. He also stated that the network would be ready to support the Mission E (now Taycan) when it launches.
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It"s possible that VW group"s fast-charging technology will be compatible with Tesla"s Supercharger network, although the use of an adaptor may be required. Blume sees no reason that Tesla owners should be denied use of the VW network, but there"s no guarantee Tesla will reciprocate with access to Superchargers for Porsche drivers.
A huge investment has been made in the plant that"ll produce the Taycan in Stuttgart, Germany, alongside more conventionally powered models from the marque. The Mission E platform is also rumoured to form the basis of an all-electric Bentley sports car.
When creating the Mission E show car, Porsche drew from experience gained during development of its Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid race car. The concept used the same 800-volt drive system as the race car, along with a powerful battery and two electric motors – a system claimed by Porsche as twice as powerful as any other EV system on the market today. The concept also features four-wheel steering and can send power to whichever wheel is best able to deploy it, thanks to a torque vectoring system.2019 Porsche Taycan: What does it mean for car buyers?
When it arrives next year, the Porsche Taycan is expected to give the Tesla Model S a run for its money, not only in range and performance, but also when it comes to quality and – perhaps crucially for Porsche – driver involvement. Although the Taycan is likely to be more expensive than the Tesla, Porsche will be hoping that current owners of its internal-combustion-powered models might make the switch, as well as tempting current Tesla Model S owners into a Taycan.
With more mainstream premium manufacturers beginning to put their EVs into production – the Jaguar I-Pace is the most recent example of this – traditional Tesla buyers will be presented with an increasing number of viable alternatives as time goes on. Can Tesla meet them head on?