FRANCIACORTA, ITALY – The automotive industry is in the midst of a mass transformation as we move towards product lines that are mostly or even all-electric. Some are handling this transformation better than others, as supply chain problems caused by the pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine add further complications. Witness the deplorable condition of Jaguar, which at the last minute canceled an electric replacement for the XJ sedan, or the repeated missteps related to electric vehicles we’ve seen from Toyota, Honda and Mazda of late.
At Porsche, however, such problems do not seem to exist. In 2019, he debuted the Taycan, a four-door electric sports car that remains one of the best EVs on the market today. It has since added new Taycan variants, including two different flavors of EV car, all built at an already carbon neutral factory in Zuffenhausen, Germany. (Porsche’s Zuffenhausen plant uses a very heavy mix of renewable energy and biogas from waste materials and is independently certified by the German DGNB.)
But Porsche is not resting on its laurels. As good as the Taycan is, it’s really just the beginning of the OEM’s electric journey — as long as you don’t count some of Ferdinand Porsche’s very first vehicles, such as the Egger-Lohner C2 Phaeton from 1898. Future battery-powered electric cars from Porsche will use an all-new flexible architecture called PPE – for premium platform electric – which the company is developing together with fellow VW Group sibling Audi (with Porsche taking the lead here).
The new platform is designed for rear- or all-wheel drive electric vehicles, with power ratings up to 450 kW (604 hp) and 1000 Nm (738 lb-ft). The permanent synchronous motors are also developed from the Taycan’s and use a new magnet arrangement and have better cooling. Notably, Porsche has switched to silicon carbide for its power electronics, reducing switching losses and enabling higher switching frequencies.
The BEVs are built around a 100 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, consisting of 12 modules of prismatic cells and operating at 800 V. This voltage provides high continuous power, allowing you to utilize the car’s performance without degrading the battery to shorter periods of time. and lighter wiring paths in the BEV.
Long distance and short charging times are both development priorities for the PPE team, and Porsche told us the platform will charge with higher power consumption than the 270 kW that the Taycan can suck up. The goal is 25 minutes to go from 10-80 percent free. (The Taycan takes 22.5 minutes, but the usable battery capacity is smaller at 83 kWh.)
Like Hyundai Motor Group’s E-GMP platform and the Hummer EV, PPE has a party trick for fast battery charging, meaning it can run 400V hardware without significant sluggishness. In this case, the battery splits itself into two 400 V packs, which Porsche says is more efficient than using the inverter as a DC-DC converter. (E-GMP EVs like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 use the inverter to change the voltage, and the Hummer EV normally runs at 400V, but can convert its battery to 800V for faster charging.)
Nestled in a corner of the briefing room was a black, slightly battered SUV, a prototype of the new Macan EV that will hit the market in 2023. It’s called Ludmilla and it’s one of a number of test mules that largely look like a current Macan – complete with ports of (nonexistent) tailpipes on the rear bumper, but under the skin it’s full of PPE hardware.
Since a Porsche should not only be able to perform in a straight line, the driving dynamics of the platform is also a point of development. Porsche has designed a new performance rear axle, which places the rear electric motor behind the rear axle and allows dynamic torque distribution from one side to the other. The new Macan will also feature 5˚-degree rear-wheel steering for increased low-speed maneuverability and high-speed stability, and there’s a new steering controller that Porsche says increases road feedback to the driver.
In fact, PPE is one of two advanced new EV platforms being developed at VW Group. There’s another new platform called SSP, or Scaleable Systems Platform, that Porsche will use for the next Cayenne SUV, but SSP is earlier in its development and isn’t expected until 2026.