Porsche Enters A New Era With The Taycan, The First All-Electric Sports Car
One marks the beginning of a new era, the other the end of a phenomenal one. For Porsche, the arrival of its first fully electric sports car, Taycan, signifies its commitment to propelling the field of electromobility forward. On the other hand, the Star Wars film premiering in cinemas across Asia this month will be the last in the series. In October, the two icons announced that they are joining forces to commemorate these major milestones of innovation together.
"Although one brand is placed in a fantasy universe and one in the real world, it’s interesting that both are defined very much by their iconic design principle,” says Doug Chiang, vice president and executive creative director of Lucasfilm, the production company behind the film franchise, on the tie that binds Porsche and Star Wars.
In late November, the two brands came together for a very special occasion in Singapore—to unveil the Taycan for the first time in Asia-Pacific, ahead of its regional market launch in 2020. The event saw Stormtroopers guarding the car as it was driven onto the stage, while a fleet of drones put on an electrifying show in the night sky to illustrate the features of the brand new Porsche model.
A new order emerges with the Taycan
On where the Taycan stands within the Porsche fleet, Arthur Willmann, managing director of Porsche Asia-Pacific, says, "The Taycan links our heritage to the future. It is a fascinating sports car with exciting driving dynamics, performance and technology—and like every Porsche ever built, it comes with a soul. Something you feel immediately, once you get behind the steering wheel."
Michael Mauer, vice president style at Porsche AG, explains how boundaries have been pushed to create that sensation: "By pursuing the strategy of making it the sportiest in the segment, we have defined a new architecture for purely electric vehicles. Just like what the 911 has achieved, my vision is that the Taycan will become an icon of this new era, a synonym for a purely electric sports car."
And with its design, Mauer says, the Taycan itself won’t look out of place in a Star Wars film. “At the rear of the Taycan, the light bar is more than just a traditional tail lamp. In fact, I think it looks quite like a Lightsaber.”
And just as every Lightsaber has its own unique identity, so does every Porsche car. This is thanks to a two-part strategy that Mauer and his team abides by when they design a car. “We consider two things: brand identity, so you recognise it as a Porsche, and product identity, so you recognise which Porsche it is.”
With the Taycan specifically, he says, “We never questioned about doing everything differently, because we needed design elements that clearly made it a Porsche. But the model also needed its own identity, and because it’s the first time we were working on an electric car, we wanted to go one step further. So now, for example, our headlights are no longer just lamps. They are now a light source and an air intake [to improve aerodynamics]”.
The Taycan on the road
Equipped with two electric motors—one on each axle—and a two-speed transmission, the Taycan gets its power instantaneously. "I couldn’t believe how sporty it was,” says Mauer. “It feels completely different from the usual [combustion engine cars]. It’s like being in a starship from Star Wars—you feel like you’re flying.”
When translated into numbers, the flagship Taycan Turbo S boasts 761hp overboost power with Launch Control and a century sprint timing of 2.8sec, while the Taycan Turbo can generate up to 680hp overboost power with Launch Control and go from zero to 100km/h in 3.2sec. Both variants have a top speed of 260km/h and an impressive range—the Turbo S can travel up to 412km, while the Turbo can do a slightly longer journey of 450km.
Porsche's innovative design for the Taycan has also significantly reduced charging times. While most electric cars feature a system voltage of 400 volts, the Taycan is the first production vehicle with one of 800 volts. This means its battery can be recharged from five to 80 per cent in just 22.5min.
In a galaxy far, far away, a familiar-looking spacecraft appears...
At the unveiling event in November, guests were also able to see sketches of another product born out of the collaboration between Porsche and Star Wars—a fantasy starship that is true to the signature design aesthetics of both brands. This was the first time the drawings were revealed to the world.
“The worldwide appeal of the Star Wars and Porsche brands is shaped decisively by their iconic designs,” says Chiang, who oversees all the designs for the Star Wars franchise. “We are bringing together two worlds with this project: the exotic film design of a galaxy far, far away and the precision work that goes into developing emotive Porsche sports cars. This collaboration promises to produce an innovative design that will blend the best of both brands to create an exciting new starship worthy of Porsche and Star Wars.”
The spacecraft is set to appear in the film franchise’s final instalment, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, which opens in most Asian markets on December 19.