Here’s how Porsche is focusing on performance while making more electric vehicles

Enlarge / Exterior clues that this is a Porsche 718 GT4 ePerformance and not a 718 GT4 Clubsport are subtle; it’s 140 mm (5.5 in) wider and the headlight projectors look more like a Taycan than a Cayman. But it’s a fully electric car with over a thousand horsepower.

Jonathan Gitlin

FRANCIACORTA, ITALY—The auto industry is in the midst of a mass transformation as we move toward product lines that are primarily or even all-electric. Some are handling this transformation better than others, as supply chain issues caused by the pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine add further complications. Witness the sad state of Jaguar, which canceled an electric replacement for the XJ sedan at the last minute, or the repeated missteps related to electric vehicles that we have seen from Toyota, Hondaand Mazda for some time.

However, there do not seem to be such problems at Porsche. In 2019, he launched the Taycana four-door electric sports car that remains one of the best electric vehicles on sale. Since then it has added new Taycan variants, two different flavors of EV wagon included, all built in a factory in Zuffenhausen, Germany it’s already carbon neutral. (Porsche’s Zuffenhausen plant uses a very heavy mix of renewable energy and biogas from waste, and has been independently certified by Germany’s DGNB.)

But Porsche is not resting on its laurels. While the Taycan is, it’s really just the start of the OEM’s electrified journey – as long as you don’t count some of Ferdinand Porsche’s very first vehicles, like the Egger-Lohner C2 Phaeton from 1898. Future battery electric vehicles from Porsche will use an all-new flexible architecture called PPE, for Premium Electric Platform, which the company is developing with fellow VW Audi Group brother (with Porsche in the lead here).

An illustration of the PPE powertrain.
Enlarge / An illustration of the PPE powertrain.


The new platform is designed for battery electric vehicles with rear or all-wheel drive, with power levels up to 450 kW (604 hp) and 1000 Nm (738 lb-ft). Permanent synchronous motors are also developed from the Taycan and use a new magnet arrangement as well as better cooling. Notably, Porsche switched to silicon carbide for power electronics, which reduces switching losses and enables higher switching frequencies.

The BEVs are built around a 100kWh lithium-ion battery, made up of 12 prismatic cell modules and operating at 800V. This voltage allows for high continuous power output so you can harness the performance of the car without derating of the battery, as well as allowing shorter and lighter wiring inside the BEV.

Long range and short recharge times are the PPE team’s two development priorities, and Porsche told us the platform will charge to powers above the 270kW the Taycan can suck in. The goal is 25 minutes to go from 10 to 80% of the state. costs. (The Taycan takes 22.5 minutes but its usable battery capacity is less than 83 kWh.)

Ludmilla is one of the mules that Porsche uses to develop PPE.
Enlarge / Ludmilla is one of the mules that Porsche uses to develop PPE.


Like Hyundai Motor Group E-GMP platform and the Hummer EV, PPE has a fast-charging battery voltage party trick that means it can run 400V gear without significantly slowing. In this case, the battery splits into two 400V packs, which Porsche says is more efficient than using the inverter as a DC-DC converter. (E-GMP electric vehicles like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 use its inverter to change the voltage, and the Hummer EV normally operates at 400V but can convert its battery to 800V for faster charging.)

Tucked into a corner of the briefing room sat a slightly scarred black SUV, a prototype of the new Macan EV which will go on sale in 2023. Called Ludmilla, it’s one of several test mules that looks mostly like a current Macan – with (nonexistent) exhaust pipe ports on the rear bumper – but under the skin is plenty of PPE gear .

Porsche's mules even spent time on American roads and plugged into American chargers.
Enlarge / Porsche’s mules even spent time on American roads and plugged into American chargers.


Since a Porsche must be able to perform in more than just a straight line, the platform’s driving dynamics are also an area of ​​development. Porsche has designed a new performance rear axle, which positions the rear electric motor behind the rear axle and enables dynamic side-to-side torque distribution. The new Macan will also feature 5 degrees of rear-wheel steering for increased low-speed agility and high-speed stability, and there’s a new steering controller that Porsche says increases feedback from the road to the driver.

In fact, the PPE is one of two new advanced EV platforms being developed within the VW Group. There is another new platform called SSP, or Scalable Systems Platform, which Porsche will use for the upcoming Cayenne SUV, but SSP is earlier in development and not expected before 2026.


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