Game Changer

Porsche Launches Its First Electric Sports Car In Niagara Falls

The game changed on September 4, 2019.

The game is electric vehicles. The player — and the one to beat — is the new Porsche Taycan.

After several years of development and part of a six-billion-euro investment in electric mobility, the Taycan has arrived and is ready to blow the doors off the competition — packing up to 761 horsepower from two electric motors, zero-to-100 acceleration of a blistering 2.6 seconds helped along by all-wheel drive. The Taycan reaches a top speed of 260 KPH, has a range of 450 kilometres, and an innovative 800-volt fast-charging system that recoups 100 kilometres of range in just over five minutes.

But most importantly this new electric vehicle is, through and through and foremost, a Porsche sports car. Performance driving is at its essence. The Taycan is not about hypermiling or mindless autonomous driving. It is about conquering S-curves, feeling the road and engaging the driver. And so unlike other electric cars out there, you can take the Taycan to the track and have an absolute blast, literally and figuratively.

Of all places on Earth, Porsche chose PCA UCR’s back yard to launch the Taycan on September 4, not only in the city of Niagara Falls but directly in front of the actual waterfalls, symbolizing sustainable clean energy (hydro power). This was a worldwide event also simulcast from a solar farm near Berlin (solar power) and a wind farm on Pingtan Island in China (wind power). These locations also represent Porsche’s largest markets — North America, Germany and China.

Journalists from all around the world attended these events. PCA UCR was invited to the Falls and, quite conveniently, your author lives just 20 minutes from this natural wonder.

Not only does the Taycan possess genuine Porsche performance DNA, it also fully embodies the automaker’s design ethos, including smooth muscular fenders at all four corners, the signature roof fly line traced from the 911 and other models, as well as the recently adopted red LED light strip along the rear.

A huge black box was set up distinguished only by a small Porsche insignia in the top right corner, setting social media abuzz. It contained bleachers for media and a large display area for the guest of honour, not to mention an adjacent catering kitchen and other private areas. A huge black box. After a multimedia presentation and words from several high-level executives from Porsche in Germany, the Taycan rolled out in high dramatic fashion, coloured spotlights blazing and sweeping, the back of the box peeling open to reveal the rushing spectacle of Niagara Falls. The weather was sunny and perfect, check out the video on the club’s social media. I made sure I was front and centre, and with no backs of heads in the way, for the reveal, Porsche’s biggest launch since the 911 nearly 60 years ago. Representatives from Porsche Germany and Porsche Canada both asked for a copy of my video.

Not only does the Taycan possess genuine Porsche performance DNA, it also fully embodies the automaker’s design ethos, including smooth muscular fenders at all four corners, the signature roof fly line traced from the 911 and other models, as well as the recently adopted red LED light strip along the rear. The coefficient of drag is amongst the lowest of any production car at just 0.22. Tesla’s Model S is slightly less aerodynamic at 0.24.

The interior is cutting edge with no fewer than five digital screens including one in front of both the driver and the front passenger and one in the back console. The display directly in front of the driver, although fully digital, still shows the traditional circle gauges to which we’ve all become accustomed. As is typical of many Porsche cars, the Taycan has both a trunk and a frunk.

The Taycan is available in two trims — Turbo and Turbo S, the former with peak 680 horsepower and a price tag of $173,900, the latter with 761 peak horses and priced at $213,900. Lesser models will come by year’s end. A Taycan 4S, with a still-incredible 571 horsepower, was announced just before this magazine went to press, at a more palatable price of $119,400.

Purists scoff at the “Turbo” nomenclature as the Taycan surely boasts no such mechanical device. But in a sense the Taycan does in fact have a turbo, in the form of an overboost function that allows a temporary boost of maximum performance, particularly exhilarating for launch control. In regular mode the Taycan makes around 615 horsepower. As a marketer, I also appreciate how the “Turbo” naming ties in Porsche’s new-world electric with its legendary sports cars of the past.

As one can imagine, typical of Porsche, the options list is a very long one and includes an air suspension with Porsche Active Suspension Management damper control, Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control Sport, Porsche Torque Vectoring Plus, rear-wheel steering, as well as a plethora of paint colours, wheel styles and other styling flourishes, inside and out.

Many fans know the true pronunciation of Porsche and shudder when someone enunciates incorrectly, so they should also know how to say Taycan. It is “tie-con.” And it translates to “soul of a spirited young horse.”

“Tesla killer” is the term being thrown around and way over-used but the Taycan plays on a whole different level, in price, all-around performance and perception. The Taycan is a true Porsche sports car first and foremost, one that also happens to be cutting-edge all-electric.

And like it or not, the future is electric. The Taycan is here. Next year comes the Taycan Cross Turismo wagon. By mid-decade comes the next Macan — Porsche has already announced that this volume seller, which often outsells all of its other models combined, will be electric. </>

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