Electrified Cayman might be the most interesting Porsche EV on the horizon – but it isn't the most important
By Matt Bird / Wednesday, 11 January 2023 / Loading comments
If you thought we’d heard plenty about PPE over the past few years, be prepared to hear a lot more about it in the coming months. In the world of cars, PPE is Premium Platform Electric, a fantastically expensive bit of architecture co-developed by Audi and Porsche as they plot a path toward world domination. You’ll likely recall the Taycan and e-tron GT shared the J1 Performance Platform, and they turned out alright; now PPE is set to underpin a glut of new electric cars from both, as Porsche aims at more than 50 per cent of sales being electrified (EV or hybrid) by 2025, and more than 80 per cent by 2030.
The electric Macan is, of course, crucial to achieving that target, given the enormous success of the current car. Built on PPE and due to go on sale next year, Porsche maintains that the new one will be the sportiest model in the segment while also boasting the ‘strong, independent character’ of a Porsche, thanks to the flexibility inherent in the new platform. Wheelbase, track width and ground clearance are all subject to modular adjustments, so expect plenty of variation between different iterations – and a multitude of body styles.
Stated development goals for the Macan EV include high-performance fast charging and long-distance capability. As with the Taycan, the Macan will boast 800-volt electrical architecture; advances in battery tech means it’ll be able to accept even more than that car’s 270kW, though Porsche hasn’t said how much just yet. Apparently, a best-case scenario can see the 100kWh battery charged from five to 80 per cent in 25 minutes. Somebody better at maths than us can work out if that equates to 350kW charging or not. The Macan even introduces ‘bank charging’, which effectively splits the 800-volt battery into a pair of 400v ones, which can then be charged in parallel without the need for a booster.
As for the long-range target, Porsche speaks of air suspension that can be lowered to benefit range, the efficiency benefits of using permanently excited synchronous motors against asynchronous, and ‘state of the art battery management’. If that all sounds a bit worthy for a Porsche, there’s plenty to be enthusiastic about as well. Porsche says the initial power output for the Macan will go ‘up to around 450kW’ – or 611hp – with torque rated at more than 738lb ft. More encouraging – because every EV seemingly has more than 600hp – is technology like the Performance rear axle, aka a fully variable electronic rear diff, plus the placement of the second electric motor behind the rear axle for better weight distribution. Porsche says the Macan’s mass will be split 48:52 front-to-rear; exactly how much mass there is will have to wait for another time.
The EV will introduce all-wheel steering to the Macan for the first time, steering the opposite way to the front wheels (by up to five degrees) until 50mph and then with them above that. Porsche is promising ‘the highest precision for all steering manoeuvres.’ There’s also going to be electronic Porsche Active Suspension Management with two-valve dampers, fully variable torque distribution (with Porsche Traction Management lending a hand) and all-new double wishbone front/multi-link rear suspension. The mixed tyre split will be even greater this time around as well, with rears wider than fronts to accommodate that weight distribution and presumably fire the Macan out of bends like a missile. ‘Porsche will always be Porsche’ reads the press release, and to its credit the Taycan did set the handling benchmark for electric saloons. Now the time for SUVs…
Interestingly, despite the detail and the extensive testing that’s underway, the latest update on the electric Macan doesn’t yet mention an on-sale date. That might be because the car is thought to have suffered delays inflicted by wider VW Group issues, but given the ambition outlined for plug-in and EV Porsches – plus the insatiable demand for electric SUVs – you can expect to hear a good deal more about it as the year goes on. Then we can start thinking about a 911 hybrid…
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