Words: Calvin Chan
Published: September 4, 2019
NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario - Porsche's highly anticipated fully electric performance sedan is finally here. This is the 2020 Porsche Taycan, pronounced tie-kahn, and we argue that it’s conjured up more attention than even the brand’s signature 911. Porsche says they have spent more than six billion Euros investing into electrification with new factories and plants in Germany. The Taycan debuts simultaneously in three locations all around the world: Niagara Falls to represent hydropower, a solar farm near Berlin representing solar power, and a wind farm in China representing wind power, all reflecting Porsche’s mission of zero-emission mobility. Originally known as the Mission-E, the new Taycan is arguably the first direct Tesla competitor, and is bringing the fight to Elon Musk's front lawn by blending EV driving with luxury and peerless performance.
First to the doorstep are the Taycan Turbo and Taycan Turbo S. Now you might be wondering, why is it called a Turbo when there isn’t even a turbocharger in sight? We asked Porsche, and they stated that Turbo is their branding of the highest performance model in a lineup, rather than hinting to a forced induced motor under the hood. Good luck explaining that to skeptical customers, but I see their point. Just think of how much money they have spent marketing that Turbo brand name - why waste it?
Here are the official specs. The Taycan Turbo will produce 670 horsepower, 626 lb-ft, and accelerate from 0-60 mph in 3.0 seconds, while the more hardcore Turbo S will generate 750 horsepower, 774 lb-ft, and will accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 2.8 seconds. The top speed of both of these all-wheel drive models is 161 mph, or roughly 260 km/h. That was enough for the Taycan Turbo S to lap the Nurburgring time in a staggering 7 minutes and 42 seconds.
There are two electric motors, one on each axle, with a two-speed transmission mounted to the rear. The Taycan is also the first production vehicle to use a system voltage of 800 volts, whereas conventional electric cars commonly use 400 volts. While the EPA range is pending for the North American market, we were quoted 280 miles (WLTP), or roughly 450 kms. The charging time from 5-80% is just under 22.5 minutes, with a maximum charging power of up to 270 kW. The Taycan will come equipped with their whole army of PASM (Porsche Active Suspension Management), electronic damper control, PDCC Sport (Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport), electromechanical roll stabilization, and Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus. Rear axle steering, air suspension are also in its arsenal.
Expect to see Porsche release less powerful variants of the Taycan later this year, and by following their known nomenclature, there should be a base Taycan, Taycan S, and Taycan 4S. Porsche has also announced a Taycan Cross Turismo (wagon variant) to be unveiled by the end of next year. A fully electric Macan is coming as well on a brand new platform, so this is just their vanguard into electrification.
Hop inside, and you’re treated to a massive slab of digital real estate. There are screens everywhere, all touch-capable, high-definition, and with crisp and vibrant graphics. The central 10.9-inch infotainment display and optional passenger display all hide under a sleek piece of bonded glass for a seamless look, and it makes use of Porsche’s voice control function which now responds to “Hey Porsche”, much like Mercedes-Benz’s.
Porsche wants their Taycan to be both GT sedan and an electric track weapon. I’m fine with that. There’s a small niche that the Tesla Model S has filled with its P100D variants, dominating the streets with its otherworldly acceleration. Now, there’s a Porsche in the fray, and based on the automaker’s official claims, it appears poised to take over the Californian king. You can expect the Taycan to reach dealerships later this year, with US pricing quoted at $173,900 CAD for the Taycan Turbo, and $213,900 CAD for the Taycan Turbo S.