Electric vehicles are doing a number on the automotive lexicon. For instance, Jaguar is petitioning the Oxford English Dictionary to update the definition of "car" to include vehicles with electric powertrains. And now Porsche is trying to redefine what the word "turbo" means.
On an internal combustion engine, the turbo — a compressor, basically — uses exhaust gases to spin a turbine and pump air into an engine's cylinders, thereby increasing horsepower.
One version of Porsche's new Taycan electric car has "Turbo S" emblazoned across its rear end in chrome letters, even though there is no turbo because there is no gasoline engine.
"Um @Porsche, this word Turbo does not mean what you think it does," Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted last week after the Taycan's unveiling.
In Porsche's world, turbo now is a generic term for performance, Stefan Weckbach, the Taycan's head of development, told Automotive News recently. "The subbrand Turbo is something that has a long history within Porsche," Weckbach said. "We decided that we are going to carry the subbrand forward into the fully electric world."