NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario — It is the quickest Porsche in production. But it represents a changing universe for the German sports car manufacturer.
At events held simultaneously on three continents last week, Porsche unveiled its Taycan electric car, a product that breaks radically — no roaring engine and no dramatic gear shifts — from what the brand has long meant to many customers.
Instead, the Taycan defines "Porsche" for a new era, executives say.
The car has already drawn more than 20,000 hand- raisers globally to buy it, including more than 12,000 from the U.S., a Porsche executive told Automotive News last week.
Early interest in the Taycan has led Porsche to reconsider its initial production plan of 20,000 to 25,000 vehicles a year.
"We need to adjust because we see the demand higher," Porsche sales boss Detlev von Platen said.
Porsche views the Taycan as its ultimate new conquest model — a four-wheeled weapon to lure new customers to the brand.
Powered by a 93.4-kilowatt-hour battery, the Taycan is a performance beast — with its top variant capable of doing 0 to 60 mph in a blink-of-an-eye 2.6 seconds and of covering a quarter-mile in 10.8 seconds.
Thanks to the battery design and thermal management magic, the Taycan can achieve these bursts of speed repeatedly without performance degradation.
"In the sports car segment, EV doesn't mean sacrificing any kind of emotion or performance," von Platen told Automotive News.
The Taycan is the first production vehicle capable of charging at 800 volts, and it can refill its lithium ion battery from 5 to 80 percent in 22.5 minutes using high-power chargers, with a maximum charging capacity of 270 kW.
While interest is high, it's less clear if Porsche can maintain its historical 15 percent profit margin as it wades into EV development. "It will be harder, to be completely frank," von Platen said. An EV is $10,000 to $12,000 more expensive to build than the gasoline engine equivalent, he said. "That has an impact on the margin of the car," von Platen said.