2020 Porsche Taycan electric car revealed: price, specs and release date
The Porsche Taycan is a Tesla-rivalling electric luxury saloon with up to 750bhp and a 281-mile range...
On sale: January 2020 | Price from: £115,858
You'll hear a lot of talk about the electric car revolution at the moment, with plenty of car markers revealing new zero-emissions models. Few new entries, however, can claim to be as exciting as the Porsche Taycan, because just as it did with the Cayenne luxury SUV years ago, Porsche is hoping to set a new benchmark for handling and performance in this fledgeling market.
2020 Porsche Taycan range and performance
Two versions of the saloon are on offer: the £115,858 Turbo, with an official 281-mile range, and the more potent, £138,826 Turbo S, which can cover up to 261 miles. Cheaper models will come later, along with an estate.
The Taycan’s closest competitor will be the Tesla Model S. That costs £81,550 in 375-mile Long Range form, while the Performance is £96,150 and has a range of 365 miles. Two electric motors produce a combined power output of 616bhp in the Turbo for a 0-62mph time of 3.2sec, while the Turbo S gets 750bhp with an ‘overboost’ function that shortens that sprint to 2.8sec.
The Model S Performance manages 2.4sec when in Ludicrous mode, but Porsche claims the Taycan can achieve its best time several times consecutively, whereas Ludicrous mode requires specific criteria to be met for things such as temperature and remaining range.
Part of the Taycan’s ballistic performance is due to a two-speed gearbox on the rear axle. This has a very short first ratio that allows for maximum acceleration from a standstill, while the second is much longer for best efficiency.
Similarly, the Taycan has a system that enables it to seamlessly switch between four-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and even front-wheel drive depending on the driving mode you’ve selected.
It also stands out by being the first car to use an 800-volt electrical system, enabling charging at an incredibly fast rate of 350kW. This is currently offered only by Ionity, a growing European network to which Taycan buyers get a three-year subscription. It has two stations in the UK and plans for 38 more. When receiving this rate, the Taycan should go from empty to full in less than 20 minutes.
If hooked up to a slower charger, it uses a 400V on-board charger, rather than allowing electricity directly into the battery. This takes up to 50kW – the fastest you get at most motorway services at present – but can be ugraded for a fee to accept 150kW, which BP Chargemaster’s new chargers dispense. If you use an 11kW wallbox at home, a 0-100% charge will take six to eight hours.
2020 Porsche Taycan interior and practicality
The Taycan is shorter than Porsche’s conventionally powered Panamera luxury car and the Tesla Model S, with a four-seat layout in the versions we’ve seen so far. A five-seater might be offered later to improve practicality and match the Model S. However, the Taycan’s boot is considerably smaller than the Model S’s, with a 400-litre capacity.
Inside, there’s a configurable 16.8in digital instrument panel, a 10.9in infotainment screen and an 8.4in screen for the climate control below that. You can add a second 10.9in touchscreen for the front passenger, too.
In addition, wireless software updates are possible, so you’ll be able to upgrade the infotainment or even battery and charging performance without having to visit a dealer.
2020 Porsche Taycan equipment
Standard kit on the Taycan Turbo includes 20in alloys, adaptive air suspension that can lower the car by 22mm, Apple CarPlay (but not Android Auto), a Bose stereo, matrix LED headlights and dual-zone climate control.
The Turbo S adds 21in wheels, upgraded brakes, 18-way electrically adjustable seats and, to enhance agility, rear-wheel steering.
We’ll have to wait for a Euro NCAP safety rating, but we do know that lane-keeping assistance, traffic sign recognition and automatic emergency braking come as standard.
Porsche provides a three-year warranty, on the Taycan itself, while the battery is covered separately for eight years, with a guarantee that it won’t drop below 70% of its original capacity in that time.
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The best and worst electric cars
If the idea of the new Porsche Taycan has got you thinking about going electric, then you'll want to know which electric cars should be on your shortlist. Below and over the next few pages we'll run through our favourites in this ever-widening class, and tell you which models to avoid.
10. Tesla Model X
On paper, Tesla's all-electric family SUV seems to be the dream all-rounder, combining the luxury of a Range Rover Sport with the green credentials of an electric car. In practice, its low running costs and practical interior are hard to fault, and even entry-level versions aren't short on pace, but parts of its interior do feel a little cheap given the price.
9. Renault Zoe
The Zoe’s main strength is that it feels like a conventional, stylish, nippy small car, and just happens to cost pennies to run. The electric motor has enough shove for the Zoe to lead the charge away from traffic lights, and the interior has room for four to sit in reasonable comfort. Even the boot is larger than you’ll find in many regular small cars; it's easily big enough for a family's weekly shopping. The Q90 version managed 132 miles in our Real Range test.
8. Nissan Leaf
This second-generation Leaf is a much better all-rounder than the original model. It’s faster, more sophisticated to drive, bigger inside and, perhaps most importantly of all, capable of longer distances between charges. Just make sure you resist the temptation to go for the e+ version; it may have the biggest range of any Leaf yet, but it's also expensive and hard-riding.