This story was updated 6/8/18 with the official name of the production Mission E, the Taycan. It will be continually updated as we learn more.
Porsche stunned the world two years ago with the debut of its all-electric Mission E sedan concept, later promising it'd go into production as the Taycan in 2020. The spy photos seen throughout this post provide an early look at a Taycan prototype testing in public near Porsche's development center in Weissach, Germany.
Here's everything we know about this incredibly exciting car.
It's Called the Taycan
At first, we thought Porsche would just call this car the "Mission E," but today, the company has announced that won't be the case. On the occasion of its 70th anniversary, Porsche announced that its first electric car will be called the Taycan, pronounced tie-con. It's a Eurasian word that translates, roughly, to "lively young horse."
"Our new electric sports car is strong and dependable; it’s a vehicle that can consistently cover long distances and that epitomizes freedom," Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said in a statement announcing the name.
It's Not An Electric Panamera
Yes, Porsche already sells a sedan, the Panamera, but it's not just modifying that car to create the Taycan. Instead, the Taycan will ride on its own bespoke platform, internally called J1, with its lithium-ion battery making up the floorpan between the its two axles, just as on a Tesla.
This platform will also underpin Audi Sport's first EV, the upcoming e-Tron GT four-door. Bentley's first EV will also ride on the J1 platform and there's a rumor that Lamborghini is working on an electric car based off the Taycan, but we'll believe that when we see it.
There Will Be Model Variants
Porsche doesn't just make one 911, and the same will be true for the Taycan. with Porsche boss Oliver Blume who confirmed that the car will likely follow Porsche's model preexisting hierarchy—that means you can expect a Taycan S, or a Taycan GTS. Maybe not a Taycan Turbo, though, since it won't actually have turbos.
Automobile Magazine got to drive and reported the car will be initially offered with three power outputs 402 hp, 536 hp, and 670 hp. Like a Tesla Model S, the Taycan will have electric motors at the front and rear axles for all-wheel drive, but Porsche might eventually sell an entry-level rear-drive version.
After driving a prototype at Porsche's Weissach test track, factory driver and brand ambassador Mark Webber said the Taycan has 600 HP.
It's Got a Clever Drivetrain
The Mission E concept offers 605 hp from its all-electric drivetrain, which consists of two permanent=magnet synchronous motors at each axle. These are the same sort of motors used in the three-time-Le-Mans-winning 919 LMP1 hybrid, and can recover heat energy from braking. With this setup, Porsche promises that the Mission E concept hits 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, 124 mph in under 12, and that it'll run a sub-8:00 lap at the Nürburgring Nordschleife.
The production Taycan will likely get four-wheel steering and torque vectoring as well. Porsche boss Oliver Blume promised in 2015 that the production carwould drive like a true Porsche. Typically, that means good things.
It'll Have Two Battery Capacity Options
Car and Driver, which , reports the production Taycan will be offered with a choice of battery packs—one offering around 80 kWh and another offering 95 kWh. If you want the most horsepower, you'll need the biggest battery.
Stefan Weckbach, head of EV development at Porsche, also told Car and Driver the Taycan will have a battery cooling system. Porsche wants the Taycan to offer consistent, repeatable performance, and keeping the battery within an ideal operating temperature is essential for this.
It'll Be Priced Like a Panamera
that the Taycan will start at around the same price as a Panamera. In the US, the base Panamera starts at $85,000 and prices climb up to nearly $190,000 for the most expensive variant, the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo. Blume also said that the Taycan supposed to sit between the Panamera and the 911 within the Porsche range.
For reference, a base 911 Carrera starts at $91,100 in the US, while the Taycan's most obvious rival, the Tesla Model S 75D starts at $74,500.
It'll Offer 800-Volt Fast Charging
At its Supercharger stations, Tesla uses 480-volt chargers that can provide its cars with around 170 miles of driving range in 30 minutes. Porsche is working on an 800-volt system that can provide around 250 miles of range in just 15 minutes. Of course, these 800-volt chargers won't be plentiful, so the Taycan will be able to be charged on a 400-volt system or a typical household plug.
, Porsche Cars North America CEO Klaus Zellmer said that the company will build a network of 500 fast chargers for the US. The chargers will be installed at Porsche dealers and other highway locations across the country.
The Production Car Will Look Like the Concept
The Mission E concept combined futuristic looks with classic Porsche proportions to stunning effect, and thankfully the production car will too. Oliver Blume told Car magazine that the production car is "very close to what you saw two years ago at Frankfurt. It will be exciting but a bit different from the concept."
Don't expect the suicide doors of the concept to make production, though.
It'll Be the First of Many Electric Porsches
The Taycan's platform is scalable, and Porsche is reportedly already working on a smaller version of the car. At the Geneva Motor Show in March, Porsche showed off the striking Mission E Cross Turismo concept, a lifted wagon that shows off what's possible with this platform. Car and Driver reports that Porsche is very seriously thinking about putting the Cross Turismo into production.
Porsche also announced that it will invest $8 billion by 2022 in electrification, a large part of which will go towards developing the Taycan and cars based on its platform.
We should look at the Taycan as a preview of what's to come for Porsche. While the 911 will always have a flat-six behind its rear axle, it's entirely possible that future generations of the Panamera, Macan, and Cayenne might be electric only. The Taycan is Porsche's first foray into all-electric cars, but it won't be its last.
It'll Be On Sale By 2020
Barring any delays, the Taycan should go on sale sometime before the end of 2019 as a 2020 model year car. We wouldn't be surprised to see it debut in production form at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2019, the same place the concept debuted back in 2015.
The Taycan will break new ground for Porsche, and while that's scary, it's also incredibly exciting. We can't wait to drive it and see what the future holds for one of our favorite automakers.