PORSCHE’S long-awaited first a pure-electric performance car has been revealed in production specification.
What is the 2020 Porsche Taycan?
Porsche’s more than 70 years of making performance cars powered by combustion engines comes to an end with the Taycan, its first pure-electric production car.
Despite being similarly-sized to the Panamera grand tourer and tipping the scales at a Rolls-Royce-esque 2.3 tons, the Taycan (pronounced tie-kann) is claimed to be as enjoyable to drive as you’d expect from a Porsche sports car.
Both axles have their own electric motor, making the Porsche Taycan permanently all-wheel drive, though most interestingly the rear motor is fitted with a two-speed gearbox to enable quicker acceleration and ensure high efficiency at speed, according to the car maker.
Together with the Taycan’s advanced “4D Chassis Control” systems and low centre of gravity — thanks to having the battery packs under the floor — the Taycan set a new record at the Nürburgring for four-door electric production cars.
The Taycan isn’t just a significant car for the German sports car brand: it shares a lot under the skin with the Audi e-tron GT, so although they will be tuned rather differently, the Porsche gives us an idea of what to expect from Audi’s take on a pure-electric four-door performance model.
How fast is the 2020 Porsche Taycan?
Porsche has taken the unusual step of giving its electric sports car the name “Porsche Taycan Turbo”, despite it not having any turbochargers to speak of. This prompted Tesla founder Elon Musk to tweet, “Um @Porsche, this word Turbo does not mean what you think it does.”
Regardless, the Taycan has the on-paper pace to put many of Porsche’s combustion engined models to shame. Torque outputs have yet to be confirmed, though the car maker claims a mighty 671bhp — good for 0-62mph in 3.2sec.
Taycan buyers who crave more performance will be catered for by the range-topping Turbo S model, which is capable of producing a Porsche 911 GT2 RS-trumping 751bhp. The Taycan Turbo S’s 0-62mph time of 2.8 seconds also makes it faster off the line than Porsche’s most extreme 911 road car to date.
Despite the substantial power differences, both Porsche Taycan Turbo variants top out at 161mph.
How far can the 2020 Porsche Taycan go on a charge?
According to Porsche, the Taycan Turbo S has a range of up to 257 miles before the batteries need recharging, with the less potent Taycan Turbo managing up to 279 miles on a single charge.
While those ranges are quite impressive by electric car standards, they’re not the best you’ll find in a pure-electric performance four-door car right now. The Tesla Model S in its sportiest “Performance” spec (which has similar power, top speed and acceleration statistics to the Taycan Turbos) can go up to 365 miles before it needs to be plugged into a charging point.
Of course, the range of any electric car is affected by how quickly you drive, the road conditions, the weather and use of power-hungry tech like air-conditioning.
Porsche is claiming some ultra-fast recharging times, by current standards. At maximum speed the Taycan’s batteries can be replenished from 5% to 80% in just 22.5 minutes. Finding a charger that is capable of doing so will be the tricky thing — most publicly-available rapid chargers in the UK aren’t that powerful yet.
Taycan buyers will most frequently charge at home, though, and using an 11kW domestic wall box they will be able to completely top up their car’s batteries from flat in nine hours.
What tech will the 2020 Porsche Taycan have?
Being a high-performance Porsche model, the Taycan comes out of the box with tech designed to make it as fast as possible. Chief among this is Porsche’s 4D Chassis Control system, which integrates features including the adaptive air-suspension and torque vectoring system (which decides how much power to send to each individual wheel, helping the car hug corners) to “ensure optimum steering behaviour, maximum agility and stability”.
In the cabin, passengers get a 10.9in touchscreen infotainment system that can be extended even further with an optional dashboard screen mounted ahead of the front passenger seat. For the first time ever in a Porsche, there’s no leather to speak of in the car’s cabin — a nod towards the car’s eco-friendly image.
How spacious is the 2020 Porsche Taycan?
Despite the car’s low roofline, Porsche claims it has “ensure[d] sitting comfort” for rear passengers in the Taycan, thanks to “foot garage” recesses in the foot wells. Exact details on how much leg and head room are available are expected to be revealed closer to launch.
Porsche has been less coy when discussing luggage capacities. According to the car maker, the front storage area (under the bonnet) can store up to 81 litres of luggage, and 366 litres of items can be carried in the boot, resulting in a combined total of 447 litres. That’s roughly equivalent to a mid-sized family hatchback.
If you need to carry even more gear, Porsche says it has engineered the Taycan to accept roofbox loads of up to 75kg — though only if you use the manufacturer’s own “Porsche roof transport system”.
When will the 2020 Porsche Taycan go on sale?
The Porsche Taycan Turbo and Taycan Turbo S models are available to order now. Deliveries of customer cars are scheduled to begin in January 2020.
Porsche says a “less powerful version” of the all-wheel drive Taycan will join the range before the end of the year, and an off-road-style version based on the Porsche Mission E Cross Turismo concept car will go on sale towards the tail end of 2020.
How much will the Porsche Taycan cost?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering it’s a high-performance Porsche, the Taycan will be an expensive vehicle. Taycan Turbo prices will begin at £115,858, with the Taycan Turbo S starting at £138,826.
Like it or not, as the Taycan has zero tailpipe emissions it qualifies for the UK government’s £3,500 Plug-in Car Grant towards new electric car purchases.
What will the 2020 Porsche Taycan’s rivals be?
While there are a few pure-electric hypercars out there, from the likes of Nio and Rimac, there currently aren’t many direct sports car rivals to the Porsche Taycan. The Taycan Turbo’s arch nemesis for now is the Tesla Model S Performance.
Over time, however, more competitors will join the fray, such as the BMW i4, Aston Martin Rapide E and Audi e-tron GT. There are also luxury electric saloons coming soon to showrooms, including the upcoming pure-electric Jaguar XJ and an as-yet-unnamed electric saloon that Mercedes will be unveiling at this week’s Frankfurt motor show.