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Porsche Taycan ushers new age

BY BRIAN BONITTO
Associate Editor ---
Auto & Entertainment
bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, September 06, 2019

THE future is here! Forty-eight hours ago, German automaker Porsche unveiled its latest innovation: the Taycan (pronounced tie-kan), the world's first fully electric sports car. In addition to Germany, simultaneous reveals were held in China and Canada.

The Taycan's big reveal comes after four years of countless spy shots, and drips of information fed to the public about the four-door electric vehicle (EV).

Dr Stefan Weckbach, vice-president product line Taycan, spoke to the Jamaica Observer's weekly Auto magazine ahead of the launch in an exclusive interview at Porsche's North American facility in Atlanta, Georgia, recently. He disclosed some of the challenges of bringing the Taycan from concept to creation.

“Transferring the soul of Porsche into a fully electric vehicle was one of the key challenges, but it worked out perfectly. The Taycan is a true Porsche,” he said.

Weckbach said the transition to fully electric was the next logical step for the Porsche brand.
“We try to work based on a strategy, and our product strategy began about 10 years ago. We had already started working on the electrification of the drive train by offering plug-in hybrids because the electrification is a performance thing that perfectly fits the brand and, on the other hand, it is a sustainability and environmental topic as well. It can lower CO2 emissions throughout cities and the combination of performance and sustainability and performance and responsibility for our environment, this is perfectly fitting for our brand. This is basically our strategy and basically our whole inspiration… First step was ICE (internal combustion engine) cars; the second step, plug-in hybrids; and now fully electric cars, just a logical third step,” he continued.

Currently, the American-made Tesla Model S dominates the large, luxury electric sedan segment unchecked. Whether the Porsche Taycan will be able dethrone Tesla's rule remains to be seen.

“The Taycan is the world's first fully electric sports car. It's the first fully electric car from our brand. We are expecting that we will gain a lot of new customers coming from other brands coming to our brand because they want to drive an electric sports car,” he said.

“We showed the concept car, the Mission E, in Frankfurt in 2015, we showed another concept car in Geneva in 2018, and during these events we spoke to existing customers… We had car clinics. [We] will have a couple of new customers coming to our brand, and they will be enjoying the Taycan,” he continued.

The Taycan will begin its production life as two variants: the Taycan Turbo and the Taycan Turbo S.

Both cars carry a 93.4-kilowatt-hour, high-voltage lithium-ion battery that packs enough electrons to allow the Taycan Turbo to cover 237 to 280 miles on the WLTP scale. The more powerful Turbo S will do 241 to 256 miles. As for charging, both cars use an 800-volt electrical architecture that allows a maximum charge rate of 270 kilowatts. That's fast enough to take the battery from five to 80 per cent in just 22.5 minutes.

Both variants boast a pair of electric motors that, together, produce 616 horsepower. But in terms of maximum output (especially with the standard launch control system engaged), the Turbo and Turbo S radically diverge.

Engage the max propulsion setting in the “base” car and the available 627 pound-feet of torque mingles with an overboosted 671 hp to launch the Taycan Turbo to 60 miles per hour in 3.0 seconds, 62 in 3.2 seconds, 124 in 10.6 seconds, and past the quarter mile just 11.1 seconds after it set off. That's quick, but the Turbo S is much quicker.

With Launch Control engaged, the twin electric motors in the most powerful Taycan up the output from 616 hp to 751 hp. That matches nicely with the always available 774 lb-ft of torque and scoots the Turbo S to 60 mph in 2.6 seconds, 62 in 2.8 seconds, 124 in 9.8 seconds, and across the quarter-mile mark in 10.8 seconds.

“At the end of the day, we are Porsche our priority is not range; we are making sports cars; our priority is performance,” Weckbach added.