Well, it was used on Mars.
Porsche has already given the production green light for two all-electric vehicles with off-road capabilities, the Taycan Cross Turismo and next-generation Macan SUV. The sleek new Taycan sedan is only the beginning of the German automaker's electric future. Engineering an EV for handling corners, however, is not the same as tough terrain, which is why Porsche Engineering is currently developing technology for its upcoming e-SUVs.
This is a new system that utilizes a total of four motors, one for each wheel, which enables an extremely variable distribution of the drive power. Compared to a conventional all-wheel-drive system, where there's just one engine at work and whose power is distributed to the axles through a central differential, this new system controls the torque electronically. It also works a lot faster than mechanical clutches. Every millisecond, the software distributes the forces in such a way that the vehicle always behaves neutrally.
For Porsche's upcoming AWD all-electric SUVs, this torque control system will come in very handy. Porsche engineers aren't so focused on the motors, however, but rather the software that uses sensors and an overall monitoring system to precisely control each of the four motors. One of the goals is to have a system that provides proper safety in slippery conditions, such as heavy snow and ice. Retaining basic grip is always an issue even in the most advanced electronic systems.
This new system, however, is designed to monitor all of the vehicle's important parameters in order to properly understand what's happening to the vehicle in real-time, not only when it's slipping due to a loss of grip. This constant monitoring allows the software to act faster once slippage is detected, adjusting power to the individual wheels accordingly.
Porsche claims this adjustment can happen in just a fraction of a second and the drive won't even notice it happened. Interestingly, this drive technology was only seen in Mars rovers until now. In the very near future (Porsche didn't provide a precise launch date), this torque control system is aimed for production vehicles. Porsche also notes the system can be adapted for additional motor configurations.
Chances are, Porsche will have some interesting demonstrations to show us fairly soon.