The 2020 Taycan is the first-ever electric vehicle from Porsche.
It has dual-electric motors and an 800-volt electrical architecture.
Porsche will offer the Taycan in two trims with different power outputs.
Folks, the 2020 Porsche Taycan is finally here. The Taycan is a number of firsts for Porsche. It’s the first-ever electric vehicle from the Stuttgart-based automaker, and it’s the first EV to come with an 800-volt architecture. It’s also notable for the clever two-speed transmission, which we will discuss in a moment. The Taycan is also the record-holder as the fastest four-door, all-electric sports car around the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
It did it in seven minutes and 42 seconds.
But alas! Elon Musk announced on Twitter the Tesla Model S will make an appearance at the Nürburgring next week, which is right smack in the middle of the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show – an international car fest dominated by popular German brands like Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and yes, Porsche. Will the Tesla Model S beat the Taycan’s record, or will the Porsche finally lay claim to the mythical title of Tesla killer?
For now, let’s take a closer look at the 2020 Porsche Taycan, which is essentially a four-door electric 911.
Proprietary 800-Volt Architecture
I’m not big on electric jargon, nor am I pretending to know a lot about the inner workings of an EV. But I know the Taycan’s 800-volt architecture is unprecedented. It’s also a dominating factor for the Taycan, responsible for the longer range, higher efficiency, and overall performance. You may know the Taycan managed to sprint from zero to 200 mph repetitively? It did so without any degradation from the electric motors and battery pack, and the 800-volt architecture has a lot to do with that.
You see, other electric cars are running less than half the voltage – in particular, the 375-volt system in the Tesla Model S. In the Taycan, a higher voltage means lower current, which also equates to less heat generated by the motors and battery. It also means less weight since the vehicle comes with lighter and thinner wires that take up less space.
And since the whole electrical system produces less heat, it allows the motors and battery to deliver consistent power outputs without losing a beat. The 800-volt system also means faster charging times without overheating the 93.4 kWh battery pack. In fact, it only takes around 22 minutes to charge the battery to 80 percent using a 270 kW DC fast charger. Meanwhile, it takes 6 to 8 hours to fully charge using the standard 11 kW charger.
This feature is one of the most unique about the 2020 Porsche Taycan. Frankly, we’re surprised Tesla didn’t come out with this first, and we’re constantly blabbering on why electric vehicles only come with a single-speed transmission. It only makes sense to have more than a single gear in a torquey EV, and Porsche seems to know this all too well.
The two-speed gearbox is specifically-developed by Porsche for the Taycan EV. The entire unit is mounted on the rear axle. With two electric motors in the front and rear, the Taycan is an all-wheel drive electric sports car, but it’s not a full-time system constantly spinning all four wheels. When you’re not pushing it to the limit, the Taycan is using second gear with power coming exclusively from the front wheels.
However, in Sport or Sport Plus mode, first gear is engaged during acceleration to deliver maximum thrills with all four wheels burning the tarmac. First gear remains until 50 mph and switches to a taller second gear to maximize the range and top speed.
Porsche Taycan Styling: 911 Meets Panamera
And then we get to what is conceivably the most important factor of all: the way it looks. The Taycan pretty much resembles the 911, especially when viewed from the front. But as you gaze towards the sides and rear, it borrows certain styling cues from the four-door Panamera. Then again, the Taycan sits lower to the ground and is shorter than the Panamera. Think of it as a stretched 911 with four doors and you won’t be far off.
Truthfully, we weren’t blown away by the Porsche Taycan’s styling. I don’t know about the rest of the team here at Automoblog, but I personally think the Taycan is a bit underwhelming in terms of style points. Maybe it’s because I’m all too familiar with the Mission E concept car, or maybe I’m expecting the Taycan to differ greatly from the concept first seen at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show.
The interior is a different story altogether. You can get five touchscreens in a full-spec Taycan, and you also get the 911’s steering wheel as an added bonus. You sit low in the Taycan like in the 911, which contributes greatly to the vehicle’s sporting appeal.
Porsche Taycan Production Specs
Porsche is peddling the Taycan in Turbo and Turbo S trim. No, there are no actual turbos in the Taycan, but who are we to judge? Both cars have two electric motors. The Taycan Turbo has a maximum output of 670 horsepower and 626 lb-ft. of torque. The Turbo has a range between 237 and 280 miles. Meanwhile, the Turbo S is good for 750 horsepower and 774 lb-ft. of torque. The Turbo S achieves 241 to 256 miles of range. Both have a top speed of 161 mph, and both have the 800-volt architecture and rear-mounted, two-speed transmission.
As you can see, even the base Taycan is powerful enough to outrun most sports cars. The Taycan Turbo rushes from zero to 60 mph in three seconds while the Turbo S is faster yet at 2.6 seconds. For all these impressive numbers, we can’t help but wonder if all this is enough to outpace the Tesla Model S Performance version. The Tesla scampers to 60 mph in 2.4 seconds and has a range of 345 miles.
Unfortunately, all the marvelous features in the Porsche Taycan won’t come cheap. The Taycan Turbo starts at $150,900 while the Turbo S comes in at $185,000. While the Turbo S undercuts the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, Tesla’s Model S Performance is less than $100,000 and is presumably faster and more “ludicrous” in the real world.
However, the Model S is a proper sport-luxury touring car, while Porsche is designating the Taycan as a true four-door electric sports car. We’ll find out soon enough which is which.
Alvin Reyes is the Associate Editor of Automoblog. He studied civil aviation, aeronautics, and accountancy in his younger years and is still very much smitten to his former Lancer GSR and Galant SS. He also likes fried chicken, music, and herbal medicine.