Up Close With Porsche Taycan: Porsche’s First Electric Car!
Here’s what you should know about the Porsche Taycan EV
It was recently that Porsche launched its first all-electric sports car in India. The saloon had debuted in the international market in 2019 and has been witnessing commendable market traction ever since. The Taycan is available in four distinct variants in the Indian market: Standard, 4S, Turbo, and Turbo 4S. We take a closer look at the base spec Taycan, to find out what the ex-showroom tag of 1.5 Cr buys you, and why you should be excited.
Taycan: What’s In A Name?
The nomenclature of Porsche’s first electric car is as fancy as the car itself. The name Taycan should be pronounced as ‘Tai-kan’ and not ‘Taken’. It is a Turkic word that roughly translates to ‘soul of a spirited young horse’, and in this case, holds a reference to the steed of Stuttgart coat of arms. In Japanese however, Taikan means ‘Physical experience’. If or not one should consider this definition valid for this car, is another question.
Porsche’s way of naming the variants is also quite fancy. Much like other familiar Porsche cars, the Taycan variants are named 4S, Turbo, and Turbo S. An electric car with ‘Turbo’ in its name, can sound absurd and it did! Soon after its global debut, Tesla CEO took a dig at the ‘Turbo’ part in its name, on Twitter. Elon Musk’s tweet went viral (Why wouldn’t it?) and soon Porsche came up with an explanation to the same.
The Taycan variants have been named Turbo and Turbo S just to keep the Porsche nomenclature pedigree intact. The manufacturer apparently wanted the EV to sound as much Porsche as it drives.
Design: It Looks Much Of A Porsche
Drawn to perfection by Michael Mauer, the Taycan gracefully contains true Porsche DNA in its overall design. The EV is available in two distinct layouts: 4 door saloon and a shooting brake (quite a fancy name for an estate!). What we are with, is of course the saloon.
The Taycan looks clean, puristic, and fairly futuristic. The front end is fairly wide and flat. The electric sedan gets a few Porsche signature elements like the four-point LED headlamps. The hood and its lines look quite Porsche-ish. What’s even more interesting is that with its electric powertrain, Porsche’s designers could seamlessly blend Porsche’s classic and modern design identities into something magnificent.
The silhouette looks sleek and sporty. There is an evident Porsche air in the way the roof slopes down towards the rear and in the C pillar and shoulders of the wings.
The rear looks fair and futuristic. The tail lamp gets a highly attractive design and LED elements inside. A magnificent light bar runs along the width of the rear. Another noteworthy bit at the rear is the ‘Porsche’ badge that gets a ‘glass finish’ to it and fits gracefully below the light bar. Much in keeping with the brand tradition, the Taycan gets an electric rear spoiler.
Thanks to its design, the Taycan has high aero efficiency. It has a drag coefficient of 0.22, quite remarkable in its class.
Interior And Features
The Taycan’s cockpit would instantly strike you for differing from those of the familiar modern-day Porsches. The structure and layout are evidently fresh and futuristic. There are a number of screens inside the cockpit (rather a hell lotta them!). A central 10.9-inch infotainment touchscreen tops the list. Below it is a large vertically oriented screen serving various information including the battery percentage and range. Instrumentation duties are handled by a large 16.8-inch curved screen with great visual quality and precision on offer. This screen has four different display modes for added convenience: Classic mode, Map mode, Full map mode, and Pure mode. Also noteworthy is the screen for the co-driver that delivers some necessary information.
The drive selector and its design are to be appreciated. The selector is a slick joystick-type controller with a separate button for the ‘Park’ mode. Also, the Taycan deviates from the usual Porsche tradition of plugging the key fob in and turning it to start the car. Here, you keep it, press the ‘Start’ button, shift, and drive away! Another nice bit is the central clock which gets a catchy design and draws clear connections to the brand lineage.
The Taycan gets Porsche’s new-age infotainment system. The interface feels responsive and readable. It gets Apple CarPlay and Porsche voice assistant. Porsche is also offering built-in Apple Music for an enhanced entertainment experience. The audio quality as such is great too.
The overall dashboard design is driver-oriented, something typical of Porsches. The seating position is quite sporty. To ensure higher sustainability than what’s offered by the powertrain, Porsche has used recycled materials in the cabin design. There are a few attractive shades to choose from, for the cabin.
The Taycan has a high focus on the overall practicality and liveability. Porsche’s engineers have placed the battery on the floor in such a way that it doesn’t eat into the cabin space and all four occupants enjoy ample leg and knee rooms at all times. The headroom at the rear feels just adequate for a 6 footer, and the roofline is to be blamed. The rear occupants can enjoy the luxury of having a dedicated set of climate controls for some additional money. Almost every storage need is well addressed. There are a couple of storage spaces inside the cabin. Plus, the boot can hold 407 liters and the front trunk (frunk) can accommodate another 84 liters.
4 Fancy Stuffs Inside The Taycan!
Here are four fascinating things you would find inside the Porsche Taycan EV.
The Drama Of Accessing The Charging Ports:
The Taycan’s charging ports are well concealed inside the bodywork. The EV gets CCS ports that are neatly hidden under the body panels that would remind you of the fuel tank covers on regular Porsches. The way you access is dramatic. There are no physical buttons or levers to open these, but a pair of touch controls! Touch the Gloss Black strips on the front fenders and the lid moves elegantly to uncover the ports! Watch it now…
The Door Handles
The design and mechanism of Taycan’s door handles are fancy. These are designed in such a way that they pop out when the car is unlocked and seamlessly tuck into the overall bodywork otherwise, indeed some signature Porsche bit. The boot can be opened by gently pressing a button at the rear.
A Glass Roof Without Sunshades!
The Taycan gets a panoramic glass roof (as an add-on of course) What’s different here though, is that there is no proper sunshade on offer for the roof! Though we have seen similar scenarios in the I-Pace and Tesla model 3, the Taycan chooses to differ in the actual experience. While the two former EVs would require you to spend a fair chunk of charge to get the temperature down to habitable figures, on a hot day, the Taycan gets a tinted panoramic roof that is claimed to keep the cabin cool even under direct sunlight, meaning it is a sunshade in itself!
The Central Screen As A Touchpad
Regardless of how responsive the screen or surfaces are, having to operate the infotainment and other functions based on touch alone, can be cumbersome. This is why even the most futuristic cars come with a scroller or some physical control for easy navigation through the screens.
The Taycan misses out on these. To compensate for the same, the lower portion of the vertical touchscreen at the center can be used as a touchpad for easier navigation. Of course, this doesn’t give you as much flexibility or convenience as a physical trackpad or rotary knob but definitely makes things better.
Mechanicals (Ehm! Electricals)
Taycan is underpinned by Volkswagen Group’s all-new J1 platform. VW Group has put extensive efforts and technology into the development of this dedicated EV platform. As a matter of fact, the Audi e Tron GT is also built on the same architecture.
The attention to detail that has gone into packaging the EV components on this chassis is massive. Porsche claims the Taycan’s chassis to have the maximum stiffness any Porsche has had to date. The battery pack itself is bolted to the structure using 28 bolts!
Porsche Taycan is mostly known as an AWD car, with a total of two motors, each powering an axle. However, even while the European markets had just the dual-motor iteration, China had had a single motor version of the car on sale there, which happens to be rear-drive! (Finally some real fun!) Interestingly, the same has made its way to India as well, and even better, the same is what you see here today-the Porsche Taycan Standard!
The single motor Taycan churns out 321 hp (402 hp with Overboost and launch control) and 345 Nm. Of course, the Taycan 4S, Turbo, and Turbo S would give you much higher figures, but would you really need them? Especially when they are all AWD and a lot very expensive?
Another key area of difference between the top-spec and the Standard would be the battery capacity. The standard Taycan comes with a 79.2 kWh battery pack with a usable 71 kWh. Expect a combined WLTP range of around 400 kilometers on this setup.
A major thing to spot on the mechanical side would be the transmission. Unlike many other electric vehicles, this high voltage EV gets a two-speed transmission! Sitting on the rear axle, this transmission’s first gear offers maximum acceleration and is used while attempting a standing start. The second is more of a high-speed gear that offers high-efficiency and high power reserves at high speeds.
Performance And Handling
The Taycan stands out with its performance and has promising figures. The single motor Taycan can do the 0-100 kmph sprint in just 5.4 seconds, with the launch control engaged, and has a top speed of 230 km/h. 80-120km/h run requires 3.0 seconds. The handling and road manners are claimed to be great on the Taycan. However, we cannot cast a more authentic opinion on this, until we get to drive it in real or do a proper road test.
Rivals And The Road Ahead
The Taycan has globally been a great success for the carmaker. It is expensive and might even have a few niggles left to be sorted, but this Porsche EV is worth putting your money on, and the global sales numbers say nothing but the same! India as a matter of fact, is still underdeveloped in EVs, than many of the global markets. However, the Taycan is expected to witness decent market traction here and is hoped to bring more fortunes to the brand.
The only proper rival to this car here would be the Audi E Tron GT, which is more or less a slightly more comfortable Taycan. All other EV players here are SUVs, coupes, or electric luxury offerings, which might not strictly be the best competition for the Taycan…