Production-ready 2019 Porsche Taycan spied on the road

An undisguised version of the all-electric Porsche Taycan has been snapped on the road ahead of its Frankfurt reveal

Porsche’s upcoming all-electric saloon has been caught almost completely undisguised ahead of its official debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this year. The saloon will be the German manufacturer’s first electric vehicle and go head-to-head with the Tesla Model S when it goes on sale in 2020.  

These latest spy shots give us our best look yet at the Taycan’s styling, which reveals a surprising amount of 718 Boxster and Cayman influence at the front end. Smaller details such as the retractable, flush door handles, and the conventional door mirrors can also be picked out.

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Porsche isn’t giving much away about the Taycan’s exact specifications, but we understand the car will feature two electric motors, one on each axle, producing over 600bhp. The PSM motors are derived from Porsche’s Le Mans-winning 919 LMP1 car, the marque claiming that the key advantage offered by PSM is compact packaging and weight saving.

Porsche claims this powertrain will allow the Taycan production car to cover 0-62mph in under 3.5 seconds and 0-124mph in under 12 seconds before hitting a top speed of 155mph. Crucially, we’re told the performance will be repeatable, with the electric car able to accelerate hard “over and over again without losing performance.”

Charge will be provided by a lithium-ion battery pack denser than anything Tesla currently offers, rated at 270 watt-hours per kilogram, and Porsche is targeting over 310 miles on a single charge. It’s claimed that the 800-volt system can take on 62 miles of charge in just four minutes, or almost 250 miles in 15 minutes.

Of course, these figures are entirely dependent on the availability of 350kW CCS chargers compatible with Porsche’s 800v system. Currently, the IONTY network is expanding throughout Europe and building chargers capable of delivering such voltages. Porsche also has plans to deploy 500 of its own chargers across the United States in the coming years.

The 600bhp-plus Taycan is expected to be the flagship model, but additional variants of the car, of which there is likely to be three, will vary from around 400bhp up to 600bhp. Porsche CEO Oliver Blume told us: “We will think of different options and there will be more than one, with different levels of power.”

All-wheel drive is expected to be standard on all versions initially, but it’s possible that Porsche will launch a more affordable rear-wheel-drive edition in the future. Over-the-air updates will also be possible on the Porsche Taycan, upgrading on-board infotainment systems and safety tech, but also offering to boost power if the customer wishes.

Hands on with the Porsche Taycan prototype

Earlier in the Porsche Taycan’s production cycle, Auto Express was granted access to early prototypes. The prototypes, which were being prepared to join Porsche’s intensive development programme, were being hand-assembled by a team of workers at a rate of two per day.

Porsche’s Director for the Taycan’s Complete Vehicle Model Line, Robert Meier, described the Taycan’s four-door saloon format is described as a “four plus one” with space for luggage front and rear, while the driving position is “almost identical to the 911.”

In the Porsche Taycan’s interior, a freestanding curved digital instrument display sits directly ahead of the driver, as it did in the original concept. To the right is a small toggle-style gear selector for Drive, Neutral and Reverse. A large infotainment screen, much like the 10.1-inch unit used by Audi, sits flush within the vertical gloss-finished panel that stretches across the facia.

A second touchscreen is housed in a sloped centre console between the front seats, making the cabin almost devoid of physical buttons. In the back sits a recessed footwell, which Porsche calls a ‘foot garage’, made possible by the company’s decision to not have any battery cells in the area.

Initially, the annual Porsche Taycan production output will be between 20,000 and 25,000 units. “We are capable of ramping up our production capacity substantially if demand exceeds expectations,” said Meschke. “We will be able to ship significant numbers in the coming years,” he added.

According to Porsche, Taycan is a word taken from an eastern dialect and is pronounced ‘tie-can’. It translates as ‘lively young horse’ and is a reference to the horse that’s been rearing up on its hind legs on the Porsche badge since 1952.

Taycan Sport Turismo spied – and more Porsche EVs to follow

Porsche will also expand the Taycan’s line-up with the Taycan Sport Turismo. A battered-looking mule for the all-electric estate has already been spotted undergoing testing at the Nurburgring. We expect it’ll feature the same drivetrain as the saloon, but its styling will be heavily revised with a shooting-brake style extended cabin.

The German firm has also previously confirmed the E-Cross Turismo Concept will reach production. It’ll feature the same estate-styled body as the Sport Turismo, with a range of crossover touches like a raised ride height and rugged exterior cladding.

Finally, Porsche bosses have revealed a fully electric SUV is likely to follow the Taycan trio into showrooms. Meschke told Auto Express: “Expect an SUV BEV (battery electric vehicle) by 2022 at the latest.”

The SUV could make use of the VW Group’s MEB platform that will debut on the forthcoming VW ID. hatchback. Alternatively, a shortened version of the J1 platform underpinning the Taycan could be used. “By 2030 the traditional Porsche could be a niche offering,” Meschke added.

Which do you prefer, the Porsche Taycan or the Tesla Model S? Let us know in the comments section below…