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Is the Porsche Taycan the world’s most innovative car?

Many automakers make statements about the ingenuity of their machinery. However, when an independent body of scientists from a research cen...

Many automakers make statements about the ingenuity of their machinery. However, when an independent body of scientists from a research centre dedicated to the study of automotive technology say a car is ingenious, one has to take note.

According to such a group, the scientists and engineers at the Centre of Automotive Management (CAM), a scientific institute for empirical automotive and mobility research at the University of Applied Sciences in Bergisch Gladbach (Germany), the Porsche Taycan is “the most important innovation driver in the global automotive market.”

In the AutomotiveINNOVATIONS Report published by the institute in conjunction with the auditing and consulting company PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), experts listed 27 technological innovations in the Porsche Taycan, 13 of which are world firsts. Porsche’s pioneering new electric sports car was named the world’s most technologically advanced passenger vehicle, beating 250 production vehicles in the evaluation process.

Porsche has a well-earned reputation for technological leadership, driven by their eternal quest to build the perfect sports car. In an extensive list of engineering firsts, they boast inventions such as the exhaust gas turbocharger in the iconic 911, sequential turbocharging in the record-breaking Porsche 959, and the first carbon ceramic disc brakes made available to the public on the Porsche GT2 in 2001, to name just a few.

Pioneers in E-Performance

Whilst the Taycan is the brand’s first fully electric model, Porsche has been at the forefront of electromobility for a long time. Ferdinand Porsche, later the founder of the company, designed his first car known as P1 in 1898 featuring an electric motor. Two years later, he presented the world’s first functional hybrid car, the “Semper Vivus”. 

The successful history continued in 2010, when Porsche paved the way for electromobility in the company with the Cayenne S Hybrid. The world’s first parallel full hybrid in the luxury car class, the Panamera S Hybrid, as well as the first plug-in hybrid supercar, the 918 Spyder, followed shortly after that. Today, plug-in hybrids represent some of the most powerful flagship models in the brand’s range, such as the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid or the new Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. With the launch of the new Taycan, Porsche presents its first ever fully electric model, setting another important milestone for the successful future of the company.

Porsche Taycan

(Image credit: Porsche)

No Compromise

From the outset, the sports car manufacturer set out to prove that one does not have to compromise on performance when choosing an electric car. The first models to be made available in the series are the Taycan 4S, Taycan Turbo and Taycan Turbo S, which are among the most powerful production models in today’s Porsche range.

The Turbo S can generate up to 560 kW (761 PS) overboost power in combination with Launch Control, and the Taycan Turbo up to 500 kW (680 PS). The Taycan Turbo S accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in a mere 2.8 seconds, the same time as the 911 GT2 RS. The Taycan Turbo completes this sprint in 3.2 seconds, with the top speed of both all-wheel-drive models is limited to 260 km/h.

And with an estimated driving range of 412 kilometres in the Turbo S and 450 kilometres in the Turbo, both vehicles offer a genuine solution for everyday use.

When equipped with the optional Performance Battery Plus with a capacity of 93.4 kWh, the Taycan 4S offers a range of up to 463 km and delivers 571 PS. 

Sci-fi worthy styling aside, it’s when you look beneath the surface of the Porsche Taycan that it really starts to impress. Extensive thought has been given to every single element of this sports EV, right down to its shape. With a drag coefficient of just 0.22, the aerodynamically optimised exterior lines make a significant contribution to low energy consumption, thus improving its range. 

Even the futuristic looking headlights play their part. The act as ‘air curtains’ guiding air over the front wheel housings, thus reducing air turbulence and resistance. 

Beneath them, the low side air intakes are not simply a static feature. They form part of the Taycan’s Porsche Active Aerodynamics system. With their fully variable, individually controllable cooling air flaps, they supply the two radiators. In addition, the air flow onto the brakes is controlled via a brake air duct.

The chassis control unit continuously monitors the temperature of the brake discs and requests targeted cooling of the discs if necessary – for example on the racetrack. Under normal cruising conditions, the cooling air flaps are closed to reduce drag and increase range.

Porsche Taycan

(Image credit: Porsche)

A Sports Car That Thinks

A powerful computer, the chassis control unit, commands an incredibly sophisticated collection of systems which enable the Porsche Taycan’s exceptional levels of performance. This includes existing technologies such as Porsche Active Suspension Management, Porsche Active Aerodynamics and Porsche Torque Vectoring that we’ve seen on previous models such as the 911, the Cayenne and the Panamera, which are, combined with ground-breaking new systems, created especially for Porsche’s very first EV.

For example, the Taycan is the first production vehicle with a system voltage of 800 volts instead of the usual 400 volts for electric cars. This technology powered the Porsche 919 Hybrid to victory at Le Mans in 2015, 2016 and 2017. It enables the battery in the Taycan to be recharged for a range of up to 100 kilometres in just over five minutes. The charging time from five to 80 percent is 22.5 minutes under ideal conditions.

An area where EVs often demonstrate a weakness is in power consumption during high-performance driving. Consistent rapid acceleration is usually one of the fastest ways to drain the batteries, but Porsche has addressed this challenge with the first-ever two-speed transmission featured in an EV. 

Installed on the rear axle, the first gear gives the Taycan even more acceleration from a standing start, while the second gear with a long gear ratio ensures high efficiency and power reserves. This allows the Porsche Taycan to maintain its charge for longer even under sporty driving conditions. In fact, an all-wheel drive pre-series model managed to accelerate 26 times from 0 to 200 km/h in succession with a difference of just 0.8 seconds between the fast and slowest attempt.

Porsche Taycan

(Image credit: Porsche)

Distinctive Advantages of Electromobility

Porsche has actually leveraged unique advantages of an EV to develop benefits that cannot be matched by an internal combustion vehicle. For example, the immense power of the Taycan Turbo S and Taycan Turbo comes from the two exceptionally efficient permanently excited synchronous motors, one on the front axle and one on the rear axle, making the car all-wheel drive. 

A special innovation in these electric motors is the “hairpin” winding of the stator coils, which makes it possible to incorporate more copper in the stator, increasing power output and torque while maintaining the same component volume. This gives the Taycan’s electric motors the highest power density (kW per litre of package space) of all the electric powertrains on the market today.

In internal combustion engine vehicles, excess kinetic energy at the brakes is converted into heat during deceleration. With electric vehicles, it is possible to recover a large portion of this kinetic energy to recharge the battery using the electric motors as generators during braking.Thanks to the Taycan’s high recuperation output of up to 265 kW, approximately 90 percent of braking operations in everyday use are performed by the electric motors alone, without activating the wheel brakes. As a result, Porsche is recommending that the brake pads only need to be replaced every six years.

Here we have only scratched the surface – it would take many more words to explore all of the technologies featured in this revolutionary machine. For now, we’ll just say that, for a glimpse into the future of electromobility, you need only look at the Porsche Taycan today.



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