The Electrified Soul of Porsche
—By Piero Facchin
Pictures by Khalil Souilhi
Little do people know that Porsche, more precisely Ferdinand, the founder of the company, was fascinated by electricity? One of the first cars that he actually designed, the Egger-Lohner C.2 Phaeton of 1898, had an octagonal electric motor and reached a speed of 25 km/h. This was way before Ferdinand founded his own company, Porsche AG in April of 1931 in Stuttgart.
Back then, the lack of infrastructure and short range of electric motors versus the rise of the internal combustion engine put an end to electromobility for a long time.
But wise old “Ferdy” never forgot about his first experiments with electric motors and although he had long passed away, his successors came back with electrification via some hybrid models like the Panamerauntil the fully electric Taycan came to be in 2019. Simply finding a proper name for such an innovative model at Porsche was a major undertaking. After consulting with experts in varied fields within the Porsche organization, the name was filtered down from 600 to only a few interestingly phonetic pronunciations of which the final name was determined; Taycan. This word is of Turkic origin and can be roughly translated as “the soul of a spirited young horse”. The people at Porsche say that this is exactly what the first fully electric Porsche will be: lively, impetuous, vigorous, light-footed on long stretches without tiring, and free-spirited.
The Taycan represents a giant leap forward for the technology of electric vehicles but it has also established many records on the road; fastest lap by a four-door all electric vehicle at the legendary German track of theNurburgring-Nordschleife with an impressive time of 7m42s to cover the 20.6 kilometers of treacherous racetrack; on the skid pad, it established the longest drift by an electric car, doing 210 laps with the wheels neverpointing in the same direction as the curve. And among many other endurance records, the latest one, quite quirky indeed, is for indoor speed, also held by the Taycan reaching a whopping 165 km/h inside the New Orleans Convention Center!
The Taycan’sendurance records could not be possible without mentioning the vehicle’s brilliant 800-volt electrical architecture and advanced thermal management system. A maximum charging rate of 270 kWh allowed the Taycan to charge its 93.4 kWh battery pack from five to eighty percent in only 22.5-minutes.The Turbo S version of the Taycan has two electric motors producing 750 horsepower and 774 pound-feet of torque, while the Taycan 4S with the larger tires, the 93.4 kWh battery produces 563 horsepower. Taycan’s are quite manoeuvrable, with optional rear-wheel steering that reduce the turning circle.
The only downside that automotive experts mention about the Taycan is that they’d like more range, especially considering the price tag (in Canada) that varies between 120K for the 4S all the way to 215K for the Turbo S. Presently, the range allows the Taycan to cover roughly 400 km but the people at Porsche will probably be increasing this value as technology evolves for this type of vehicle.
A Vegan Interior for the Taycan Technology
Always at the forefront of design and innovation, the Taycan was the first all electric automobile with an optional“vegan” interior. In a release of information about the production Taycan interior, Porsche said that it will offer both an option of tanned Club Leather, using a natural olive-leaf process (OLEA) and a vegan option—a fully leather-free interior with Race-Tex microfiber partly made of recycled polyester fibers. For the latter, Porsche says that it produces 80 percent less CO2 that for traditional materials. And for the floor of the Taycan, Porsche is using the Econyl recycled fiber made of recycled fishing nets.
Up front, the “sport plus” seats are nicely sculpted and the driving position is quite adequate, with a good footrest and three sets of settings to remember. The sports steering wheel has a large dial on the right to choose one of five driving modes. It’s flanked by a pair of classic levers – whose plastic sounds hollow for a car of this price – and capped with useful keys and knobs.
In front of the driver, the dashboard is very minimalistic, except for the tiny gearbox selector. This minimalist dashboard is made up of four digital screens, three of which are tactile. Everything is clear and readable, with well-placed haptic control keys. It takes a bit of curiosity and willingness to learn to find your way through the multiple menus. It is wise to spend a few minutes identifying the icons that lead to menus buried in the multimedia interface before you hit the road.
Porsche has succeeded in making the Taycan look and feel like every other Porsche; only this one has a plug and battery instead of a filler pipe and gasoline tank.
In the end, the Porsche Taycan is a fully electric, well-integrated, luxurious, fast addition to the company’s lineup of sports cars, sporty sedans and SUV’s.
How does it drive?
The Taycan, which started off as the Mission E, is the embodiment of Porsche’s future direction in the world of electric vehicles. One look at the car and you can instantly recognize the Porsche DNA. It is a four door luxury sport sedan with incredible performance and technology.
Depending on your mood and type of road, the Taycan will respond to your every whim. We all know that electric motors have an incredible amount of torque, making hard accelerations absolutely hair-raising but the Taycan can also be driven in the most docile manner if you wish.
From the first moments driving the Taycan, you can feel the poise and the solidity of this car. The ride quality is impeccable and the body movements superbly controlled by the air suspension and variable damping.
The Taycanis breaking all kinds of records since itwas unveiled to the world but it is also « the most technologically advanced car in the world ». Don’t just take my word for it; this honour was bestowed upon the Taycan by the Center of Automotive Management (CAM) based at the University of Applied Sciences in BergischGladbach where they identified 27 new developments of which 13 are world firsts.
Photographer : Khalil Souilhi
Car Editor : Shervin Shirvani