Porsche’s new weapon to defeat Tesla
PORSCHE is out to prove its upcoming Taycan electric car will cop punishment and perform like any petrol-powered Porsche.
The German sports car maker is in the final throes of a six-million-kilometre development and validation program for its upcoming Taycan, incorporating a series of high-performance tests usually reserved for its traditional sports cars.
The latest trial involved laps of the legendary Nurburgring track in Germany, where the company's first all-electric car set a time of 7 minutes 42 seconds.
The time is nothing special in Porsche terms; the fastest Porsche road car, the 911 GT2 RS, completed the 20.6km section of the track almost one minute faster, and the entire 20-something-strong 911 sports car range is quicker around what is the unofficial benchmark for fast cars.
But the Taycan is shaping up to be the fastest all-electric production vehicle in lapping tracks - for now.
In the past some Porsche engineers have been quietly critical of Californian EV maker Tesla because its cars typically go into a low power mode when driven fast on a track.
To be fair, Tesla has never pitched its cars as racetrack specials, instead focusing on everyday performance and the ability to take off from the lights like a Ferrari with things such as Ludicrous mode.
But Porsche being Porsche wants to ensure its Taycan is up to the task of racetrack thrashes, even if its prime reason for being is for everyday cruising.
"The Taycan is also suitable for race tracks and it convincingly proved that here on the world's most challenging circuit," said Porsche test driver Lars Kern after setting the new record for a four-door electric vehicle.
Porsche says it has worked hard on "thermal management", implementing a dedicated track-focused mode that opens the cooling flaps to help reduce heat in the batteries, one of the key challenges when driving fast with electric cars.
Porsche also recently put the Taycan through a punishing 24-hour test that relied on six test drivers thrashing the car around the Nardo test track in Italy. Speeds topped 215km/h in heat up to 42 degrees Celsius.
The Taycan only stopped for fast charges, using its world first 800-Volt charging system that allows an 80 per cent charge in about 15 minutes.
The Taycan is expected to be priced from about $200,000 when it goes on sale in Australia in 2020.