Porsche’s first fully-electric car will cost more than $350k w/o COE, and four other things you need to know about it before it comes to Singapore in 2020
Photos: Porsche, Derryn Wong
Sepang Circuit, Malaysia
At Porsche’s e-Performance Night yesterday, the event highlighting its plug-in hybrid fleet and future electrification technologies, the brand revealed more details about the upcoming Taycan battery electric vehicle (BEV).
First outed as the Mission E Concept at the Frankfurt Motorshow in 2015, the official production version has been named Taycan and is slated for a 2020 debut around the world, including Singapore.
Currently the Taycan is undergoing prototype development and will begin production at the end 2019 itself, with deliveries in 2020. Here are five important facts about the Taycan with regards to Singapore.
1. The Taycan will cost more than a Cayenne, but less than a Panamera, or at least $350k w/o Certificate of Entitlement (COE) in Singapore
Porsche says that the Taycan will fill a hole in the existing model line-up and it will cost more than a Cayenne, and less than a Panamera in Singapore.
Assuming the least expensive models in question, the base Cayenne $343,488 without COE, and base Panamera at $370,388 without COE, and that means a pricing of around $350,000 without a COE.
But that should be taken with some leeway, as the car is still two years from launch/delivery, and there are numerous Cayenne and Panamera variants with a spectrum of pricing. For instance the most expensive Panamera is the Turbo S E-Hybrid Executive at $883,988 w/o COE.
Given typical Porsche price and positioning above ‘mainstream’ luxury brands, the
$350k figure tallies with other luxury BEVs coming to market as well.
Porsche representatives say the Taycan has the best performance in its class, but it also admits that competitors include BEV SUVs.
Audi’s e-tron GT (above) will also be debuting in 2020 as a four-door, four-seat sporty EV
That is an obvious reference to Jaguar’s i-Pace and the Audi e-tron, will cost at least $300k, with both scheduled for a 2019 launch in Singapore, though those cars’ prices include a COE.
But from Porsche’s jabs at Tesla, It’s obvious the Taycan’s key competition is the Tesla Model S, although that car is more similar to the Panamera in size. Currently the least expensive Model S, the 85 D, costs $427,800 with COE.
2. It’s basically a smaller, electric-only Panamera with a 911 footprint
When the Mission E was first revealed, it was clear Porsche wanted to go straight into the deep end of high-performance EVs: 600hp, 0-100km/h in less than 3.5 seconds, and a range of more than 500km.
What was less clear is where the Taycan belongs in the line-up, but we now know it’s a four-seat, four-door gran turismo, essentially a smaller version of the Panamera without a petrol engine, and also broadly similar to the Audi A7 Sportback, Mercedes-Benz CLS, and Volkswagen Arteon.
Mayk Wienkoetter (pictured above), Porsche’s spokesman for the Taycan and e-mobility, says “The Taycan fits perfectly between the 911 and the Panamera. We didn’t want to create competition within the current product range, we wanted to find a ‘blank spot’ on the map and go into a new segment.”
The Taycan will have a driving position similar to that of a 911, and lower than that of the Panamera. The battery will be located in the car floor, with cutouts for the feet of the rear passengers (Porsche calls it a ‘foot garage’).
There are also numerous design and tech details on the Mission E concept that will be translated to the production car, such as the new LED headlight design, a floating centre tunnel in the cockpit, and dual touchscreens.
4. It will use electrification technology unique to Porsche
Porsche has bandied around some seriously impressive figures for the Taycan, and it also says that the “technical innovation gives a sports car its soul.”
In other words, it’s unique approaches that give products their character (see 911 for a great example) and the Taycan will be no different.
It uses an 800V electrical system onboard, compared to conventional hybrids, PHEVs, and EVs (the Model S uses a 400V system).
Proud as it is of its competition history and racetrack-to-road technology transfer, the 800V hybrid system was used in the LeMans winning LMP1 prototype cars, such as the 919 Hybrid pictured above.
That allows for cable cross-sections to be halved and smaller electrical components to save weight, and decreased charge time, claims Wienkoetter.
The Taycan is also notable for its use of a pair of permanently-excited synchronous motors (one on each axle) unlike most current BEVs that use asynchronous motors (Tesla, Audi).
We’re not electrical engineers, but our understanding is that synchronous motors are more expensive and complex, but can deliver better performance under certain circumstances.
Porsche says this type of motor performs better by delivering constant power over the entire rev range of the motor (since the rotor and stator are always in sync) and it has (a presumably) higher efficiency than an asynchronous motor.
4. Porsche is making its own super-fast charging network, possibly even in Asia and Singapore too
Perhaps the most ambitious thing about the Taycan is its charge time: For a car boasting 500km of range, Porsche says a 15 minute charging time is possible, as it intends to introduce a 350kW, 800V fast charging system of its own, dubbed ‘Porsche TurboCharge’ technology.
“Customers will expect the availability of 800V charging in 2020,” says Wienkoetter, adding that Porsche is also exploring the possiblity of setting up its own charging networks.
To that end, Porsche Asia Pacific and Porsche Singapore are also investigating the idea of a Porsche TurboCharge network for owners to use fast-charging in public areas.
Dr Henrik Dreier, head of Porsche Singapore, told CarBuyer: “The (BEV) segment is gaining importance with a much broader product offerings and better public charging infrastructure is in the works now. We will contribute by adding public fast charging stations to the network, which is important for the customer’s peace of mind.”
Current DC fast charging supports 150kW charging. For something like the Audi e-tron, which has a 95kWh battery, that equates to a 40-minute charge time, so with 350kW charging, a sub 20-minute charge time could be possible.
Tesla’s SuperCharger can support up to 250kW, while the planned Ionity charge network in Europe – created by BMW, VW Group, Daimler and more – will use the Combined Charging System standard and support 150kW fast charge. In future CCS standard may be able to support up to 900V, 450kW fast charging as well.
5. It’s Porsche’s first BEV, but the Taycan has no shortage of buyers
Porsche has leaped into the BEV game in what seems like a relatively short time frame, but the company is keen to remind us that its experience in electrification is extensive.
Besides the classical 118-year old example of the Lohner-Porsche electric hybrid, Porsche has had hybrids on sale since 2011 with the Cayenne S Hybrid, and was the first to introduce PHEVs to Singapore with the Panamera S e-Hybrid in 2013.
“People can already put deposits for the Taycan, and we see a very high demand in almost all markets, in particular Norway, USA, China and Germany so far have a very strong demand,” said Wienkoetter, regarding the initial customer response to the Taycan.
Porsche Singapore has also indicated a similar situation back home, which seems to reflect the fact that Porsche has tapped into the channel of least resistance with its product approach to the Taycan.