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Porsche's First Electric Car: What to Know About the 2020 Taycan

Popular Mechanics logo Popular Mechanics 2/20/2019 Andrew Moseman

a car parked in front of a building: Porsche's Tesla competitor, the Taycan, is coming in 2020. Here's What You Need to Know About It.

Porsche's Tesla competitor, the Taycan, is coming in 2020. Here's What You Need to Know About It.
© Porsche

She's electric. Say hello to the first Porsche EV, the 2020 Taycan.

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Back in 2015, when Porsche debuted its sleek, battery-powered concept sedan, it promised to bring something very similar to production, and it signaled to the world that the Stuttgart automaker was coming for the luxury EV space then occupied by the Tesla Model S. Now, we're tantalizingly close to the realization of the first all-electric Porsche. Here's everything we've learned.

It's Called Taycan

Porsche initially called the project Mission E, with the "E" standing for electric, of course. But that sounds like the name of a science project, not a sports car. So in June of 2018, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume announced that the car would be called the "Taycan."

The name, announced during 70th anniversary celebrations for the automaker, apparently means "lively young horse." It's a reference to the prancing pony in the center of Porsche's shield.

Just as many people struggle to pronounce the name "Porsche," the new model's moniker tied many a tongue in knots. People have mocked the moniker as if it were straight out of the "particular set of skills" Liam Neeson movie franchise. Hoping to clear up the confusion, Porsche just released a new teaser to make sure you know the proper pronunciation of the EV's name. It's pronounced "TIE-con."

Related video: Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo Prototype: World's first drive - Provided by CNET

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It's Serious About Charging

Porsche's most ambitious play may be its move to outdo Tesla when it comes to high-speed charging. Whereas Elon Musk's superchargers offer 480 volts, Porsche is working on 800-volt infrastructure to charge the Taycan and its all-electric successors. That's enough juice to take the Taycan 250 miles on just 15 minutes of charging. Oh, and it'll have charging ports on both sides of the car.

Porsche dealerships are supposed to be outfitted with those serious chargers when the Taycan hits the streets. And in January 2019, the company announced another piece of good news: The first three years of charging are on Porsche.

Volkswagen subsidiary Electrify America is at work building a network of fast charging stations around America. This morning, Porsche issued a press release that Taycan buyers would get three years of free charging at those Electrify America stations included in the admittedly steep price of buying the car.

Porsche isn't just worried about the spread of chargers-it wants its chargers to be the fastest, too. Ever since the Taycan project was announced, the company has been touting its forthcoming 800-volt charging technology. In a press release, it added:

"Electrify America highway and metro stations, and many Porsche dealers, will offer DC fast charging at rates up to 350 kilowatts. Using 800 volt technology and the combined charging system (CCS) plug, the Taycan will be able to add more than 60 miles of range in four minutes -- the fastest in today's automotive market."
a car parked on the side of a road: Mission E Concept© Porsche Mission E Concept

It's Got Some Muscle

The Taycan will come with multiple variants. Reportedly, the three initial power outputs offered will be 402 hp, 536 hp, and 670 hp. Electric motors at the front and rear will give the Taycan all-wheel drive.

It's Not Just an Electrified Panamera

Porsche already has a big sedan with the Panamera, a car that already comes in hybrid variants. But don't suppose Porsche's plan is simply to toss in a big battery and electrify that car. The Taycan will ride on a custom-built platform called J1 with a big space in the floor for its hulking lithium-ion battery. In time, Audi's e-Tron GT four-door and Bentley's first electric car will ride on this same platform.

That platform will also give rise to multiple versions of the Taycan. One of those will be a wagon-looking crossover version that was called the Mission E Cross Turismo when it was shown off in 2018.

It'll Look Pretty Much Like the Concept Car

Porsche has insisted that the real 2020 Taycan will closely resemble the Mission E concept car seen back in 2015. According to spy shots obtained by Road & Track and Car and Driver, that appears to be true.

It's Coming Soon

You can expect to see the Taycan on sale in later 2019 as a 2020 model car. Production is ramping up. Porsche targeted 20,000 Taycans per year as its production goal and, in the face of reports that it was considering doubling that number, the carmaker at the very least admitted that its 20,000-car goal was "conservative."

Porsche has hinted at the price of its upcoming all-electric sedan, though it has not provided much information outright. Porsche's Robert Meier told Automotive News that the Taycan would be priced between the Cayenne SUV and the Panamera sedan-in Europe, at least. Jalopnik says: "That means it’d start out between 74,800 euros and 90,600 euros including taxes, or roughly between $86,000 to $104,000."

Many in the auto world speculated that the Taycan would come in as the most expensive car in Porsche's range. However, the company clearly wants its Tesla Model S challenger to be just cheap enough to compete with the flagship car by Elon Musk's company. 

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