The 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S may be the company's state-of-the-art electric car right now, but that may not last long. In one of its own tech articles, Porsche revealed that it's working on a four-motor electric powertrain, which is two more motors than the Taycan has. And this fancier powertrain is slated to show up first in an SUV, not an ultra-high-end sports car.
As Porsche explains, what makes a four-motor powertrain desirable isn't so much more power, but more control. Each motor can be controlled individually and immediately, rather than relying entirely on fancy differentials and braking systems that don't react as fast or as precisely. This is good for stability in inclement weather and for improved performance and handling in dry weather. Basically, it's the most adjustable torque-vectoring system possible. There's also the added benefit that the timing and amounts of power distribution can be adjusted entirely with software, rather than needing to change physical parts like the aforementioned differentials. Porsche even noted that it was able to get the power control system calibrated and operational entirely with the suite of onboard sensors it already uses in its cars.
The question of course is how soon we'll see Porsche's four-motor powertrain in a production car. The fact that this is being tested on an SUV could be a hint. There will be a Taycan Cross Turismo crossover variant of the regular Taycan coming in 2020, but odds are it will continue to use the powertrain from the regular Taycan. The next-generation Macan crossover will be all-electric, so that would seem the most natural fit. The electric Macan is expected to launch in 2021, so that would be the earliest opportunity. That said, 2021 seems really soon to launch a more advanced and complex powertrain. Porsche did say that it got the four-motor system calibrated for bad weather over the course of two winters, but that's probably only one piece of the full development puzzle. If the Macan isn't the recipient of this powertrain, the next logical choice would be the Cayenne, which probably won't get a new generation for a while, since it was just recently redesigned.
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