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We all know that scene from a sci-fi movie. The captain of the space ship looks at his crew and says: “activate warp speed.” The pilot reaffirms the command by pressing the corresponding illuminated button on the flight instrument deck and the vessel zips through space in a giant blur.
We might not be entirely there yet in space, but we are edging closer to that sensation right here on Mother Earth. Enter the Porsche Taycan, Stuttgart’s first fully electric sports car that is available for order locally. In Turbo S guise, Porsche claims that the Taycan takes 2.8 sec to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h, but some tests overseas since the car’s debut late last year seem to suggest that this number could be as low as 2.4 sec. After spending some time in the Taycan last week, we tend to side with the latter number.
To say that the thrill you get when powering the Turbo S from a standstill is exhilarating would be a complete understatement. With Launch Control activated, overboost of up the 560 kW of power and 1 050 Nm of torque enables the Taycan to generate a g-force output of 1.2 from a standing start. That is faster over the first few metres that the force of gravity, making it faster than a skydiver in free fall.
To put that further into perspective, the Taycan outguns a Formula One car over the first 2.5 sec from a standstill, with the Turbo S able to cover a distance of 28 m compared to the F1 car’s 22m. And the scary part is, the Porsche’s kerb weight of 2.2 tonnes which is the result of the battery mass makes it almost three times as heavy as a F1 car. Furtermore, the Turbo S reaches 200 km/h from a standing start in a tad over 9 seconds with a top whack of 260km/h.
This is achieved not only by sheer brute power, but also exceptional aerodynamics. After spending some 1 500 hours in the wind tunnel, the Taycan offers the best drag coefficient of all current Porsche models as a result of front air inlets guiding the air over the front wheel housings and a completely panelled underbody made possible by the absence of a hot exhaust system.
And the clever designers in Stuttgart did not sacrifice any space in working their wonders. The Taycan has a low roofline similar to the 911 and still manages to offer headroom in the rear which is on par with the Panamera.
Stepping inside, you are immediately struck by the full-scale digital approach of the Taycan, from the instrument panel right through to the infotainment system and the climate control display underneath it in the centre console. But to ensure purists don’t freak out completely at the sight of this futuristic cabin, they’ve been offered solace in the familiar analog clock mounted on the dash and the driving mode selector on the steering wheel.
But should these purists still have their doubts, it will only take a short drive to ensure them the Taycan has the unmistakable soul of a Porsche. The flat underbody battery ensures perfect weight distribution and a low centre of gravity which combines to offer a simply superb driving experience. And outstanding technology, handling, road-holding ability, acceleration and bucket loads of feel-good factor is exactly what the brand is all about in the first place.
For those not convinced that electric power can match the sweet sound of a six-cylinder Porsche boxer engine, the Stuttgart engineers have it covered. If the silence is too eerie for you, the Turbo S is equipped with Electric Sport Sound. This function generates real-life engine sound that was articulately developed with hybrid Le Mans cars and can by activated or deactivated at any time.
The Taycan can achieve a range of over 300 km depending on model and driving style. The braking system is able to recuperate up to a third of the battery in a day, which does not only preserve the range, but also the lifespan of the brakes. With the assistance of a two-gear system, it was initially claimed that the brake pad could last longer than 20 years.
And speaking of battery, the Taycan is the first electric car with an 800-volt system in comparison the usual 400 volts. It is made up of 33 cell modules consisting of 12 individual cells each, which means 396 in total. Its total capacity is 93.4-kWh. The battery comes with an eight-year guarantee and is said to last much longer than that.
The car is sold with a 22 kW wall charger which can fully recharge the Taycan in four and a half hours, which will mean even if you are affected by loadshedding, the car should be fully charged overnight. And you feel like playing instead of setting sail, Porsche claims the Taycan can do 20 Launch Controls starts from 0 to 100 km/h on a single charge.
The Taycan, which features a charging port on either side behind the front wheels, is fully compatible with the GridCars network of charging points. This network is situated on South Africa’s major roads and already provides charging for the other two fully electric local vehicles, the Jaguar I-Pace and BMW i3.
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