Hitting 200km/h in a 2295kg electric car in under 10 seconds, and going on to a 260km/h top speed, requires more than just a tremendous amount of energy; it requires an intelligent transmission and high-tech motors.
Continuing our series of stories on the all-new Porsche Taycan, here we'll run through the Permanent Synchronous Motors (PSMs) the new Taycan uses, along with the bespoke two-speed transmission created in-house by Porsche.
We already know the 800V electrical infrastructure allows Porsche to move high amounts of current around the vehicle and to its axles, but it's the types of motors and new transmission allowing it to achieve these crazy acceleration times.
Motors and transmission
Most electric vehicles on the market use asynchronous electric motors. They're cheaper but generate more heat, which ultimately results in less power reproducibility.
Heat is a real killer for electric vehicles wanting to offer continuous high torque production (remember, the Turbo S can churn out 1050Nm of torque time after time).
Just like the Tesla Model 3, the Taycan uses Permanent Synchronous Motors (PSMs) featuring permanent magnets within a permanent magnetic field.
This system requires less total space, but costs more due to the installed magnets. Within the motor itself Porsche utilises a hairpin winding, which fills the usable copper area to around 70 per cent.
The same motor using traditional pull-in windings could only fill around 45 per cent space, and would have a much harder time with cooling harder due to the tighter spacing between windings.
On the Taycan's front axle, the PSM produces 190kW of power (Turbo S) or 175kW (Turbo) and 400Nm of torque (Turbo S, 440Nm when launch control is active) or 300Nm of torque (Turbo). The PSM is attached to a single-speed transmission and a pulse-controlled inverter.
A pulse-controlled inverter works to convert DC to AC power and works at an efficiency of around 98.5 per cent. For Turbo S models it pumps out 600A of current, while the Turbo is capable of 300A.
It acts in reverse when the motors are used to regenerate energy for the battery. The Taycan can produce up to 265kW combined when in full regeneration mode.
The front motor weighs between 76kg (Turbo S) and 71kg (Turbo), and is capable of turning at up to 16,000rpm.
The rear axle is where Porsche begins to change the game. The PSM on the rear axle can produce up to 335kW of power and 550Nm of torque (or 610Nm in Turbo S during launch control). It weighs around 170kg and is also capable of moving at 16,000rpm.
Where the rear axle is different, though, is with the in-house designed two-speed transmission (which weighs around 70kg). Capable of transferring 550Nm of torque, the gearbox features two spur gears, an electronic limited slip differential and a single actuator for transition between the two gear sets.
Depending on the drive mode, the vehicle predominantly drives in second gear. Only when it's in Sport mode, at low speeds, or when the driver requests full torque, does it engage the first gear for maximum acceleration.
The gearbox on the front axle is capable of transferring 450Nm of torque, or recuperating 300Nm of torque, and the 16kg two-speed transmission features two planetary gear sets and passive cooling through the water jacket of the electric motor.
The whole rear motor and transmission structure is designed to move forwards and upwards to protect the battery enclosure in the event of a rear-end crash. This prevents any risk of battery rupture even in a serious rear impact.
While the Taycan loosely shares its platform with the Panamera, the weight and weight distribution differences between the two vehicles calls for an entirely unique ride, handling, and chassis tune.
The introduction of two electric motors and the removal of a central driveline gave Porsche engineers a new level of control over torque delivery and chassis control. Where torque vectoring and power delivery require some kind of lag, or reaction time, the motors introduced on the Taycan can modify their respective movements virtually instantly.
This gave Porsche the ability to introduce a new four-wheel drive control program designed take advantage of this newfound speed.
In addition to air suspension, Taycan uses an all-new three-chamber air spring with an inbuilt pressure tank. It was designed to cope with the flat front end that offers little room between the lower suspension arm mounting point at its respective top mounting point.
This required an air spring that could be tuned for comfort and dynamic driving. Despite the short spring travel afforded, the three chambers offer three unique levels of stiffness ceiling.
So, for example, if the driver wants a comfort setting, a larger chamber can be used to allow a greater freedom of spring movement.
Opt for a firmer sports setting and a smaller chamber can be used to reduce spring travel. In addition to the three chamber spring, a pressure accumulator is mounted in the rear for chassis lift, or in situations where a front lifter is optioned – without it, lifting and lowering movements would take an eternity.
Owners can also option Porsche's 48V Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control system. It uses a central 48V actuator that allows roll bars on each axle to move in opposing directions independent of each other to minimise or eliminate body roll entirely.
Rear axle steering can also be optioned on Taycan, and it works to turn the rear axle in an opposite direction at low speeds to reduce the turning circle, while turning the rear axle in the same direction as the front axle at higher speeds for greater dynamic driving.
Keep up to date with all Taycan related news at our Taycan landing page. CarAdvice will be driving the all-new Taycan at the international launch in October.
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