There's a lot of technology beneath the Taycan's sleek lines.
The internal combustion engine is a dying breed and electric vehicles are taking over. You can sigh loudly, complain about it to your friends, or stomp over to your nearest Dodge dealer and buy something unruly with a supercharged V8 in protest, but it doesn't change this reality. Porsche, the maker of some of the best flat-six engines ever, is one of many companies to embrace electrification with models like the Taycan.
Due to the relative newness of electric motors in cars, the German marque has delved into some of the details of how its innovative motors actually work. Porsche has a surprisingly long history of electric innovation, pointing out that steered wheelhub motors are not new. Over a century ago, Ferdinand Porsche created a vehicle of this kind, essentially coming up with what would be the first hybrid car ever.
Things have changed since then, of course. However, modern electric motors are still based around the concept of magnetism, with both a north and south pole; whereas equal poles repel, opposite ones will attract. In a permanent magnet design, there are two components; a rotating part known as the rotor and a stationary component called the stator. When the electrical voltage goes through a repetitive process of turning on and off, opposing forces are generated and the rotor then turns.
Many EVs such as the Audi e-tron use a more affordable asynchronous machine (ASM) or asynchronous electric motor, but Porsche uses a permanently excited synchronous machine (PSM) that it says is less prone to overheating.
Describing the supply and control of three-phase AC voltage for the PSM, Porsche says: "The speed of the motor is determined by the frequency at which the alternating voltage oscillates around the zero point from plus to minus. In Taycan motors, the pulse inverter sets the frequency of the rotating field in the stator, thereby regulating the speed of the rotor."
Another important feature of the Taycan's electric motor is the hairpin winding, which has little to do with actual hairpins. "Here, the coils of the stator consist of wires that are not round but rectangular," says Porsche. "Unlike classic winding processes where the copper wire is obtained from an endless reel, hairpin technology is what is known as a forming-based assembly process."
Essentially, a U-shape much like a hairpin is formed when the rectangular copper wire is bent and divided into numerous sections. This design offers numerous advantages.
The wires can be more densely arranged, increasing the copper fill factor to nearly 70 percent, greater than the usual 50 percent of other EVs, improving power and torque in comparable installation spaces.
Other Porsche firsts include an 800-volt propulsion architecture, developed initially for the Porsche 919 Hybrid race car. Today, this setup decreases weight and shortens charging times thanks to slimmer cables. In the case of the Tacyan, it is also the first electric sports car to use a rear-axle transmission with two shiftable gears.
In the Taycan Turbo S, all of these innovations converge to create one of Porsche's quickest cars; it produces up to 750 horsepower and will reach 60 mph in just 2.6 seconds with launch control. Perhaps most astonishing is that it does all of this in near silence.