Porsche Taycan: First Drive

DriveNation’s Andrew Frankel has just shared his impressions following an early open-road press drive in the pre-production Porsche Taycan. You can read his full review here, or scroll to the end. Here are some comments worth thinking about:

“You sit low: 911 low, which is odd in a four-door car weighing around 2.25 tonnes. Yes, it’s near silent but what you notice first is the ride quality. It is ridiculously good, the best of any Porsche I have driven.

“The acceleration is violent, even in the Turbo. The steering was a surprise: weighty, accurate, linear, way closer to a 911 than a Panamera. It is the best electric car I’ve driven and by a mile.”

Porsche gears up for Taycan

Taycan is part of Porsche’s €6 billion gamble on a 50% sales split between electrified and pure ICE vehicles by 2025. Taycan production has carbon neutral ambitions: the goal is a factory with no environmental impact.

Stuttgart’s first full electric production car will add 1,200 employees to the factory-within-a-factory in Zuffenhausen. “The Taycan is one of biggest creators of jobs in the history of Porsche,” said Andreas Haffner, head of HR and Social Affairs. Not all of these new employees will be producing the Taycan; they will also build two-door sports cars. Porsche wants a team blending experienced sports car builders and new staff. 

In a programme carried out at last year’s Geneva Motor Show, Porsche apparently measured more than 20,000 people worldwide who were interested in buying a Taycan. Buyers were invited to place a deposit before adding their names to an options programme list. Porsche upgraded its production plans off the back of that information.

The drip feeding of performance data and feedback echoing Frankel’s opinions from first press drives ahead of next month’s launch will no doubt be getting some wallets flapping. Pre-production cars have already been shown at Shanghai, Goodwood Festival of Speed and Formula E season finale in New York to build interest amongst the target demographic.

Taycan covers 2,000 miles in 24 hours

Endurance testing at Porsche’s Nardo facility recently allowed a pre-production Taycan to cover 3,425 kilometres (2128 miles) in 24 hours, stopping only for quick charging and driver changes. Speed tests at Nardo have shown the Taycan to be capable of going from 0-200 km/h (124 mph) 26 times in a row, taking an average of under 10 seconds each time.

The latest testing at the Nürburgring set a new lap record for a four-door electric car of 7 minutes 42 seconds around the 20.6 kilometre Nordschleife lap record circuit. That’s a minute slower than a Porsche 911 GT2 RS, but Taycan used no petrol to do that lap time and the only noises heard came from the tyres and the guy with the stopwatch at the finish line.

Despite owning a Prius for several years and fully appreciating what Porsche is working towards, I’m not an electric car evangelist. I would rather cut my miles and try to drive smarter than pour money into something that is marketed as a zero emissions car but in fact takes substantial energy to produce and needs charging via the national grid every day of its life. There is still financial sense in running efficient petrol engines.

My main thought when I read about the efforts going in to electric cars is that every minute spent developing one thing is a minute that is not spent developing another, which may still have much to contribute. But such is life. Taycan production slots will be released towards the end of 2019, so expect a deluge of press once the kids go back to school. You lucky people!

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