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An extremely detailed look at Porsche Taycan's engineering designed to take on Tesla



Porsche's first fully electric car is here, and depending on who you ask, it may be the most serious competition the Tesla Model S has faced yet. It's called the Porsche Taycan, and it's an all-electric sports sedan that promises up to 750 horsepower, zero to 60 mph acceleration in 2.6 seconds, and a fast-charging 800-volt battery with a 280-mile range based on the European WLTP cycle.

I talked in detail with Porsche's engineers about this electric power plant, and I learned that it is a wild piece of technology unlike any Porsche that has come before it. Here's everything you wanted to know, and probably some things you didn't know you wanted to know.

( Full Disclosure : Porsche flew me to Atlanta, placed me in a nice hotel, fed me food, and let me talk to some nerdy engineers about the new Taycan).

The Stuttgart-based company invited me to the Porsche Experience Center in Atlanta, where Taycan's chief engineers gathered to discuss the impressive specifications for the two Taycan trims to be launched later this year, Taycan Turbo and Taycan Turbo S

Both cars can make up to 61

6 horsepower for 10 consecutive seconds, and both have "overboost" features, with the Turbo capable of a 2.5 second continuous performance of 670 horsepower and 626 lb-ft of torque, and the Turbo S provides a full 750 horsepower and 774 lb-ft for the short duration.

This allows the Turbo and Turbo S to reach zero to 60 mph times in 3.0 seconds and 2.6 seconds, and quarter mile times in 11.1 and 10.8 seconds, respectively.

The key to these numbers, Porsche emphasized during the presentation, is that the performance is repeatable, with both cars supposedly managing the said acceleration performance even after 10 races without significant "derating," or loss of performance. To drive this point, Porsche pointed us to the video above of a Taycan tear from zero to 124 mph (the top speed of the vehicle is 160 mph, if you were curious). Porsche says the car did this in less than 10 seconds 26 times in a row, with "less than one second difference between first and last acceleration."

The company also pointed out that the very first electric Porsche completed a 24-hour endurance run on the Nardò high-speed lane in Italy, and despite the air temperatures up to 108 degrees F and the fact that the car had to be charged over 1100 miles, Taycan achieved an average speed of 89 mph.

Porsche wants these examples, and the Nürburgring era – which is apparently the fastest of an EV sedan – to highlight that Porsche Taycan is not just about being fast, it's about being consistent .

This can help the car stand out over the Tesla Model S, which appears to outperform Taycan on paper; I look forward to seeing independent path tests to find out. (Model S, it turns out, may be on the way to & # 39; Call too, so we'll see how it goes.)

To break down how Tayan manages its performance figures, which also includes a fast claimed charge time, Porsche broke the technical workshop into five sections: powertrain, chassis, bodywork, charging and interior.

Let's start with the fun.

Porsche Taycan Powertrain

The Motors [19659002] Porsche Taycan is powered by two permanent magnetic synchronous electric motors, or PMSMs. Unlike AC induction motors used in some other electric vehicles such as the Tesla Model S (although it and Model 3 also use a permanent magnet motor), PMSMs use rare earth magnets built into a rotor (that is, the output shaft is connected) to create a permanent magnetic field. This spins in sync with a stator (as shown in our view of a torn model 3, a stator is only the "tube" shaped stationary portion of the electric motor consisting of a bunch of copper windings) rotating magnetic field, which is created by sinusoidal AC input from the inverter, a device that converts direct current from the battery into alternating current for the motor.

However, the rotor of an AC induction motor does not include rare magnets and instead consists of windings. As the inverter sends alternating current to the stator and creates a rotating magnetic field, the magnetic field induces a current in the rotor windings, creating a magnetic field. The rotor's magnetic field interacts with that of the stator, and the rotor spins, providing mechanical torque. It is called "asynchronous" because the rotor hangs after the rotating magnetic field in the stator – a phenomenon called "slip."

The benefits of permanent magnetic design, Porsche mentions in the slide below, include high efficiency – especially in the low- and mid-speed range – smaller size and better cooling, but at a slightly high price point.

Even Elon Musk has talked about cooling limitations for AC induction motors, something Porsche powertrain chief Dr. Boyke Richter says is a result of the stator requiring electricity, which creates heat that is difficult to remove.

"This limits the repeatability of the electric machine," he said. He also went on to mention how important the size was, saying, "With the same power and torque level, the asynchronous machine is always a little bigger."

Porsche also mentioned the rectangular coils in the hairpin that make up the stator – a layout we have seen before on the Chevy Bolt – as an advantage in that it can apparently fill the grooves of the stator with fewer spaces than a traditional one. inntrekksvikling.

The concept of mounting more copper in a given amount of space is quantified by a metric called a "copper filling factor", which Porsche says may be around 70 for a hairpin setup instead of 45 for the traditional "pull-in winding" "Stator setup .

"By increasing the copper filling factor, you increase performance," Richter said. Not to mention that the setup seems to provide better cooling of the windings, with Richter saying that it provides "better direct contact between copper and stator pack, which means you get the heat generated in the copper by the current flowing better out of the machine. , and again … better cooling ability and more repeatable performance. "

The Transmissions [19659002] Of the two engines in the four-wheel drive Porsche Taycan, it is more powerful in the rear, generating 449 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque (or 450 lb-ft during launch with the Turbo S), and sits parallel to and aft of the centerline of the axle, sending power through a Porsche-designed and manufactured two-speed gearbox. This gearbox has a first gear ratio of about 16: 1 and a second gear ratio of 8.05: 1.

"The rear axle module", as Porsche calls it, consists of engine, gearbox and power converter, where the latter, as previously mentioned, receives direct current from battery and converts it to AC power. This whole module, whose casings appear to be made mainly of cast aluminum ( Update : Porsche says: "We will not reveal the exact materials, but cast aluminum is present in the powertrain." ), weighs about 375 pounds, claims Porsche.

The transmission, which also accommodates a coupling-based electronically limited slip differential (I guess you could call it a transaxle), is a fascinating device, as I know of no other electric electric vehicle in the United States currently offering a two-speed transmission .

Porsche says it does to improve efficiency, and also to help optimize both low-speed acceleration and top speed – quite accurately the benefits claimed by car supplier ZF with its new two-stage EV transmission.

Here is another angle of the rear axle module:

The transmission has a torque capacity of 406 lb-ft, which is noticeably less than the maximum power on the rear engine during launch (I try to clarify this with Porsche). The and the entire rear module was designed to be as compact as possible and to sit flat to allow for luggage space. It is set up so that the engine is at the rear and its output shaft enters a gearbox, which extends forward to a differential whose performance is in line with the rear axle. Mounted directly in front of the engine and above and toward the passenger side of the diff is the 600 amp converter box.

Here's a look inside the transaction box:

"We only integrated an actuator into this gearbox for everyone different stages – first gear, second gear, neutral, reverse and park, "Dr. Boyke Richter told reporters. [19659002] Referring to the main shaft of the two-stage trans, Boyke explained the interiors. “On the upper part you see the actuator, it activates two levers that are connected to a dog coupler and a multiplat coupler. Inside the multiplat coupling there is a planetary gear set that secures the relationship for the first gear, "he told us.

In the first gear, he explained, the multiplate coupling is open and the dog coupling is closed, and the planetary gear provides the 16-ish-to-one ratio. "When we switch to second gear, the dog coupling opens, and the multiplate coupling closes, the planetary gear closes, and at this blockage we save the loss of this gear, and we are able to increase the efficiency … [in] other gears, he continued.

"On the output shaft we have the actual differential," an electronically controlled limited slip diff, which is "the same component as you already know from [Porsche’s] other vehicles," he continued.

We have seen other manufacturers such as BMW (in a development car, albeit) use two rear electric motors to avoid a difference altogether and to achieve more instant torque vectoring, but – for packaging reasons and probable costs, I suspected that Porsche decided on a single engine and a conventional limited slip differential.

The single-speed front drive module is similarly fascinating in that it, like the Jaguar I-Pace, has a coaxial transmission design. The transfer bolts directly to the end of the engine, which is right on the centerline of the shaft, between the front wheels. In fact, one of the front CV shafts actually passes through the center of the engine rotor to snap into the gearbox.

The image above shows the passenger side exit position, and the image below shows the driver's side exit shaft:

Also shown is the inverter, which for the front motor comes in two flavors: 300 amp peak power (190 amp continuous) and 600 amp (380 amp continuous), the latter of which comes in Turbo S and enables a maximum power of 255 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque during short launch events (and 295 lb-ft for longer durations). The standard Turbo model's front engine, with its 300 amp converter, pumps out 238 horsepower and a maximum of 221 pounds.

The two inverters, which provide 168 pounds and 157 pounds total weight for the front axle module, save costs by sharing quite a few components, Porsche says. It is not clear if the 600 amp rear inverter is the same as the previous 600 amp, but I bet it is. ( Update : Tesla says it is different .

coaxial transmission , which has two planetary gears and offers a 8.05 reduction (the same as others on the rear engine), is much lower than that, only 35 kilos dry, and has a torque capacity of 332 lb-ft when accelerating, and a torque capacity of 221 lb-ft when transmitting torque in the other direction when you get in. This rain, says Porsche, happens largely in front but also on the rear engine, with maximum power recovery at 265 kW measured by the battery and maximum longitudinal deceleration at 0.39 G.

Porsche states that the transmission is passively cooled, using the water jacket around the electric motor.

Shifting That Two-Speed ​​Transmission

What is most interesting about all this is how Porsche sets up the shifts in the rear two-speed transmission. To demonstrate the benefit of the two speeds, Porsche displayed wheel torque curves (which are directly related to vehicle acceleration) versus vehicle speeds for each engine / gear ratio combination – see below. (These look like typical EV torque curves).

As shown, at a speed of about 100 km / h, or 62 mph, the first gear runs out of steam, and the engine fails to send much torque to the rear wheels (and at 81 km / h the engine hits its 16,000 RPM max. speed), which hurts the acceleration.

It is at the point around 62 mph vehicle speed that the Tayan shifts, providing the solid green curve you see below, providing more torque at the wheels, thus accelerating to higher top speeds.

The shifting strategy changes based on the drive mode, which keeps the gears different. Range and Normal mode, Porsche told us, gives priority to others to optimize efficiency. It is worth noting that in some cases Taycan can actually drive fully in front wheel drive and disconnect the rear transmission to reduce losses.

Although Porsche considered it, the front transmission has no coupling that allows decoupling, so the engine is always mechanically coupled to the wheels. This, if I understood it correctly, was done for packaging and vehicle control reasons, and with the understanding that the small engine and planetary gearbox does not cause excessive losses.

Back to Modes: Porsche states that "Range" first enters reversing functions (this is due to mechanical limitations, as I understand it) and "Normal" downshift during heavy pedal inputs. "Sport" mode, on the other hand, holds first gear for as long as possible to maximize acceleration. Porsche even provided some shift maps below:

The map here does not look so different from that of a traditional gearbox , with the blue and purple lines representing when the vehicle was going up or down respectively. If I read this correctly and look at the "Range" plot, you can see that just low vehicle speeds and extremely high torque requests (in other words, the driver is deep on the gas), you will cross the purple line and downhill to the first.

If you keep the pedal buried, the car will change to about 75 km / h for a second. Otherwise, in range mode you will always be in second. (In the slide above, Porsche says that the "Range" remains exclusively in other gears, so maybe I read the shift map incorrectly.

The "Sport" map shows that even at low vehicle speeds and low torque requests (your foot is barely on the pedal), you is in first gear and you will not cancel until you hit about 75 km / h. This shift, in case you are wondering, happens about as fast as a dual clutch gearbox.

"We are not faster [19459337""saidRichter"becausewehaveagreatrelationshipbetweenfirstandsecondgears"andthereforetransmissionneedstimetosynchronizeStillthegoodnewsisthataccordingtohim"thereisnodrawinterruptionduringshifting"

Battery and Charging

Taycan's battery pack consists of 33 cell modules, each containing 12 individual 64.6 amp-hour LG bag cell They are arranged so that half of the cells, 198, are parallel to the other half. The large number that has been thrown around for many years now is "800" as it is a fairly high system voltage for an EV.

In the case of Taycan, the actual voltage lies somewhere between 610 (depleted) and 835 volts (when full), with a nominal voltage of 723 volts. The maximum energy content is 93.4 kWh, which is slightly less than the Tesla Model S at 100 kWh.

You can see the entire battery pack above; Note that there is a projection where a center transmission tunnel can be on a typical car – that is the battery management system. You can also see two rectangular voids behind it; there are "foot garages" for the rear passengers. And while the rear passenger seat required Porsche to remove battery modules, the company compensated by placing modules across the car under the rear bench.

Porsche says that it went with an 800 volt architecture to meet efficiency, vehicle performance and battery charge time goals. The latter was key, since the company did not want to make the battery pack too big and heavy (Taycan, over 5,100 pounds, still outweighs the Model S).

When we talk about charging, Porsche's electronic chief Joachim Kramer stated: "With dual voltage [of a conventional electric vehicle] … you can simply double the current [with] existing current."

However, Taycan's 800-volt system does not offer twice the charging power of a 400-volt EV, giving it less than that at 270 kW of maximum continuous charging power because the battery imposes limitations. "You could theoretically go higher, but then you sacrifice battery life – what … nobody wants to do," Kramer said.

The architecture is still supposedly built to be future-proof. "When the battery has improved … and the next generation is coming … the architecture of this 800 volt high voltage system is actually able to go up to charging power with the existing contact system, this combined charging system that is on the market so far to 400, even more, kilowatt peak charging power. ”

In addition to charging times, the Porsche 800 volt system theoretically provides more efficient power transmission and allows for thinner wires, since for a given power take-off, a higher voltage system sends less power, and it's electricity that generates a lot of heat in the cabling (losses go up with the current in the square). "It's simply more efficiency in the complete high voltage system, "said Porsche's electronics guru.

More efficient power transmission and smaller wires, says Porsche, means less weight and higher continuous power transmission without derate, but the 800 volt system has disadvantages.

"We had to develop the power electronics, the battery electronics, the charging electronics brand new – it was not there on the market," Kramer said, continuing to say that while this cost the company time and money, it should not be more expensive in the long run, since the components are generally similar to lower voltage systems.

Practically, Porsche advertises a minimum load from 5 percent charging mode to 80 percent in 22.5 minutes. The plot above shows that because the battery can only take a peak current of 334 amperes, at a low voltage, the peak charge power (power is volt times amperes) is less than a maximum of 280 kW, which occurs at about the higher voltage corresponding to a 40 percent charge state.

When the voltage rises above about 40 to 45 percent, the aforementioned battery limitations come into play. Then you have to reduce the power to actually protect the battery … so that no over-voltage occurs in the battery, "Porsche told reporters.

Of course, not only is the charge state of the battery affecting the charging capacity, it is also temperature, as the plot above shows that batteries generally like to be between 25 and 35 degrees, and that as the charging state increases, the charging power decreases. [19659090] Illustration for the article titled An extremely detailed look at Porsche Taycan's Engineering Designed To Take On Tesla “/>

Per the slide above, Porsche identifies about 30 degrees C as the "sweet spot" for battery temperature to provide 270 kW of charging power and a minimum of 5 to 80 percent battery charge in 22.5 minutes, during which a "thermal preconditioning system" starts, and if the car knows that a driver will soon leave they (if, for example, a performance charge is entered in GPS), a “Charge Planner” will get the batteries to the correct temperature so that they can charge at maximum speed even at 0 and 10 degrees ambient temperature.

Porsche mentions that less preconditioning is necessary if a driver builds up heat in the cells by driving hard, or if the car is charged in a lower-performance charging station (for example, 50 kW maximum charge requires no preconditioning).

When it comes to charging gates on the car, there are two, where the American model gets one on the driver's side to accommodate a type one AC plug and a CCS type 1 plug – which holds AC and DC charging – on the passenger side.

Porsche even offers an optional icebreaking function for the charging door doors that vibrate the doors back and forth slightly and hover the door motor torque. These doors are opened via hand gestures or a button on the center console.

Any Taycan, when plugged into a 800-volt high-performance charger, can offer up to 270 kW of charge directly to the battery. It will give the vehicle from 5 to 80 percent charging mode as fast as 22.5 minutes and add 62 miles to a dead battery in less than six minutes.

But when using a typical 400 volt DC charger, Taycan's standard 50 kW unit DC charger (which increases 400 volts to 800 to charge the battery) can get the car's battery from 5 percent to 80 percent in 93 minutes and add 62 mile range to an empty battery in about half an hour. An optional 150 kW onboard charger increases charging rates to be in line with other 400 volts EV, says Porsche. ( Update : To be specific, Porsche says going from 5 to 80% charging mode takes 36 minutes .

To accommodate home charging or 240-volt "level 2" There is also an AC inverter that converts AC to DC for a battery charge up to 9.6 kW, giving a charging time of zero to 100 percent for a minimum of 10.5 hours. (Note that the image above states 11 kW ; I assume this is a difference in US / EU tax).

The image above shows the charge of port setups on Taycans offered in different markets.

Body and Battery Structure

When discussing a from- The first ground EV, the body and the battery pack are important elements of the overall structure, so Porsche engineers told me that the package – bolted to the body structure via 28 bolts – represents about 10 percent of the vehicle's total rigidity. The company claims that Taycan's chassis is the stiffest of the Porsche available.

Apropos battery pack, releasing the 1,389 kilogram booklet requires not only loosening the 28 screws and disconnecting the high voltage connector, but also removing around 10 screws that hold portions of the front and rear subframes. When the screws are out, the subframes must move slightly and then the battery may fall.

"It's really simple," claims Steffen König, who led Taycan & # 39; s body design. To access the module, the top cover, which is glued and bolted in place, is removed.

The battery tray itself weighs 331 pounds, and is an important structural element for front, side and rear crashes, as shown in the pictures. below, which shows load paths for the aforementioned crash scenarios.

"Without the battery, the car is not safe," König said.

Porsche describes the construction of the battery board and said:

The waterproof housing is a sandwich construction consisting of a cover on the top and a bulkhead on the bottom. Truss-design battery frame with several subdivisions is mounted in between. The cooling elements are glued under the bulkhead plate. The battery housing is secured by a steel protection plate. For the battery frame, the developers chose a lightweight aluminum design.

One of the most obvious compensation cushion components is the 0.6-inch extruded aluminum honeycomb structures that have the length of rocker panels (shown in blue below) that help protect the battery and occupant during side crashes:

Speaking of body components, Taycan's body makeup is pretty much conventional for a Porsche. Nothing particularly exotic, just a bunch of steel and aluminum that is no different from what we saw in the Porsche Cayenne. Porsche himself describes the body as “a fairly normal body for us; It is a mixture of many materials. "

But, as "normal" as it may be, I don't want to deny you the opportunity to see some beautiful CAD images, like the ones above, showing steel used in the columns, floor and the firewall, and aluminum used in the doors, wheel arches, longitudinal elements and support towers, and sheet metal (as shown above).

Porsche claims that steel was used in flooring and main body structure, and not as much aluminum as in Panamera, for acoustic (presumably road noise) reasons. “The frame on the body is usually aluminum. In our case, it is steel cold because of the car's acoustics; we have … no engine in the car, so we have to be very easy to drive, so we have to do this for this acoustic [improvement]. "

I'm not a body engineer, so it's going to be hard to convince me that price wasn't an important factor either, but hey, that's exactly what Porsche claims here.

And if you are a body engineer wondering how the company went about combining all these different metals into one structure, the answer is: Lots of welding, riveting, inhibiting, clamping and screws. [19659128] Illustration for the article titled An extremely detailed look at Porsche Taycan & # 39; s Engineering Designed To Take On Tesla “/>

Aerodynamics and Cooling

Taycan har det laveste st drag coefficient, or Cd, of any Porsche at 0.22 in the case of the Turbo (The Turbo S’s is 0.25). The front surface area, which—like the drag coefficient, air density, and vehicle velocity contributes to overall drag—is 25.1 square feet, and while I can’t find the exact corresponding figure for the Tesla Model S, I did find a 2014 Car and Driver article that listed a 25.2 square-foot frontal area and a 0.24 Cd for the Tesla. (The newer Model S has a 0.23 Cd, and while I bet the frontal area is close to the same, I’m not entirely sure).

As I understood it from Porsche, in the front of the Taycan are two openings. One for each of the two heat exchangers, which include a condenser (which is just a heat exchanger like a radiator) on the passenger’s side and a radiator on the driver’s side. Each of those openings, I think, also feed the duct on that side to cool the 16.5-inch (ish) 10-piston front brake rotor.

In the center of the car, what appears to be a grille opening is there to house the radar and camera. The tall openings below the headlights are there to create an “air curtain” around the wheel openings to guide air around and not into the wheel housings, which are filled with either 245 or 265-section tires (the rears are either 285s or 305s).

Other aerodynamic treatments include a completely flat underfloor, which includes includes a flat pan under even suspension components (like the rear control arms), a wide rear diffuser, and an active spoiler with three positions.

The three positions are fully down (used when the vehicle is parked, for “design reasons,” Porsche told us), Eco, where the spoiler is up a bit, and Performance, where the wing is fully up to reduce rear lift. Those modes also dictate the status of the “air flaps” in front of the heat exchangers, which—as I understood it—act just like active grille shutters on conventional ICE cars.

As I heard it, the rectangular brake ducts (shown above) share the flaps with the heat exchangers, which are closed in Eco mode in order to send air around the car to improve aerodynamics. On top of the wing and front air-flap positions, the Taycan’s air suspension also offers aero benefits, lowering the car when cruising on the highway.

But you can’t talk about aerodynamics and not discuss cooling, as they’re intrinsically linked. Unfortunately, Porsche didn’t dive too deep into how the Taycan’s cooling system works, especially not how valves connect the heating, mid, and low-temp circuits.

All I know is that there’s a condenser and radiator up front, a heating element to help warm the battery and cabin, a chiller using the A/C system to pull heat from coolant before it runs under the false floor of the battery pack, and that Porsche has cooling methods in place for the on-board chargers, DC/DC converter (which is under the hood, and converts high voltage to 12-volts to power cabin accessories), inverters, motors, and transmissions.

Porsche describes the hardware a bit in its press release, writing:

On the hardware side, the thermal management system consists of a networked line system with a coolant radiator (front, left-hand direction of travel), three coolant pumps, six coolant valves, two fans and ten coolant temperature sensors. This is supplemented by the linked components from the air-conditioning system with a climate condenser (front, right-hand direction of travel), a separate evaporator (chiller) and a heat exchanger for air-conditioning/cooling (iCond).

You can see some of the components below, including the heat exchanger located under the false floor beneath the battery modules in the battery pack. It looks like a bunch of long, flat “tubes” arranged in pairs running from one long longitudinal “tank” to one on the other side of the pack :

It’s hard to tell how it all works based on just this one circuit diagram, but it looks like the front and rear axle modules—including their inverters, motors, and transmissions—are cooled by liquid coolant coming straight off the radiator at the front driver’s side of the car. Once that cold coolant (which is dark blue in the image above) goes through and picks up heat from each of the drive modules, it then becomes red in the diagram, and goes back to the radiator to lose heat before cycling back to the motors/power electronics.

As for the batteries, based on the image above, it appears that cold refrigerant (light blue) comes out of the condenser at the front passenger’s side of the vehicle, enters a compressor, goes through the evaporator that allows for cabin air conditioning, and then into a chiller. There in the chiller (just a refrigerant-to-coolant heat exchanger), it picks up heat from liquid coolant that has gone through the battery pack, yielding colder coolant and warmer refrigerant. The colder coolant (dark blue) exits the chiller to go back into the pack to cool batteries, while the warm refrigerant eventually makes its way back into the condenser to dump heat to incoming air.

Again, these are just guesses based on the diagram above, and I’d definitely like to learn more—especially since the image above doesn’t show all the pumps and valves in the system.

Chassis—How Does It Compare To The Panamera?

If you’re among those wondering if Porsche used components from its other four-door sedan, the Panamera, in the Taycan’s design, the answer is “yes.” At least in some ways.

First, let’s look at the sizes. The image above shows the silhouette of the Taycan in comparison to that of the 911 and Panamera. The EV’s nose is lower than that of the Panamera, and overall, it’s a bit shorter in length and height, though the seating position is a bit higher. Still, Porsche says the Taycan’s center of gravity is lower than that of a 911 GT3, which I guess isn’t surprising considering how much the battery pack weighs on this thing.

Dr. Ingo Albers from Porsche’s chassis team said right away that the Taycan’s suspension is indeed “derived from the Panamera,” and that the team wanted to use quite a few of the Panamera’s suspension components, as “it would be very efficient to use them.” But, while the new Taycan shares control arms, bushings, bearings, and the wheel carrier with its internal combustion engine-powered sibling, Albers said “[Porsche engineers] couldn’t’ use the complete subframe.”

Looking at the overlapping silhouettes and the image of the front and rear subframes above makes it pretty obvious why that’s the case. Though the rear axle module isn’t huge, the motor, inverter, and two-speed transmission dwarf the Panamera’s differential.

And while this was a main reason why Porsche had to design a new subframe, Albers also talked about safety. “We were not allowed to have any intrusion into the cell modules,” he mentioned, before pointing out a ramp-like member in the subframe to push drive module components up and over the battery pack during a rear collision.

He also mentioned the importance of the rear axle steering to safety. “The rear axle steering is a kind of barrier for the… components if it comes to a rear crash,” he told us, saying that if the vehicle doesn’t come with rear axle steering, there’s a member there to act as protection.

As for the front suspension, not only did the team have to ensure that the subframe kept the battery safe during a collision, but even if that weren’t critical, using the Panamera’s suspension wouldn’t have been possible due to the low height of the five-seater electric sedan’s hood, which is enabled by a lack of a large internal combustion engine in that space.

“The components of the Panamera, they would just stick out. They were too long,” Albers told us. As a result, he said, “[engineers] brought down the upper control arm, and the complete air suspension.”

There’s Lots More Cool Tech

As you might imagine with a ground-up electric sport sedan, there’s a lot more to be said, but I’ve already written over 5,000 words. So, to avoid my editor yelling at me, I’ll have to conclude without describing how the fun HVAC air vent system’s (shown above) aim is adjusted via touchscreen.

I won’t relay Porsche’s discussion on charging infrastructure, I won’t show the center console screen that lights up and tells you the battery state of charge when it’s detected the fob is nearby, I won’t talk about the passenger’s side infotainment screen that senses when there’s someone in the front seat, and I won’t talk about how Porsche uses the car’s front camera to alter its regenerative braking strategy.

I won’t talk about the new three-chamber air suspension, the 82-liter frunk, the electronically adjustable sway bar that can allegedly keep body roll at zero degrees while blasting around corners, the three-valve air suspension, the tungsten carbide-coated brake rotors (these last three are used in other Porsches), or the special low rolling resistance tires.

No, instead I’ll say this: I think some people may be disappointed that the Taycan’s max range is lower than the Tesla Model S’s, or that its claimed zero to 60 mph time isn’t quicker, or that it doesn’t come with Tesla’s supercharger network, and it starts (at least for now) at $150,000, or 70 grand above even the Model S’s base price.

But looking at this car from an engineering standpoint, it looks to me like an extremely well-thought-out package. This is not just a Panamera stuffed with batteries.

It may not be as revolutionary as the Tesla Model S was when it debuted (the two actually share quite a few design elements), and it may not quite match the S on paper, but that’s just a statement of just how compelling of a car Tesla has built.

That said, Tesla has had some issues with prolonged track driving in the past, and it’s in this area that sports car maker Porsche says it’s put lots of focus. It’s meant to be more of a track car than the Tesla is, in theory.

Elon Musk tweeted that a Model S is headed to the Nürburgring next week. The results of that, if they’re truly objective, could provide much-needed insight into just how impressive the Taycan’s really is or isn’t.

Update, September 6, 2019, 5 P.M. ET: This story has been updated with Porsche’s answers to follow-up questions.


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