Porsche Taycan: Anatomy of the Tesla challenger

September 05, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Porsche Taycan
Porsche is currently officially introducing the Taycan, the manufacturer's first battery- powered super sports car. At an engineering conference a couple of weeks ago, Uwe Michael, head of electrics and electronics at Porsche, provided a deep look into the technical heart of the potential "Tesla Killer".

The electrical system of the Taycan works with an unusually high voltage of 800 volts. The voltage in the auditorium of the annual Automobil Elektronik congress in Ludwigsburg was just as high when Porsche's top electronics developer Uwe Michael appeared: after all, the vehicle was not to be presented before the IAA 2019 (12-20 September, Frankfurt). How far would Michael open the lid of the Taycan electronics compartment?

When designing the vehicle, Porsche engineers paid particular attention to six aspects: electronics architecture, high-voltage network, battery, charging processes, the so-called Smart Functions and an area that Michael labelled "Additional Highlights".

The electronics landscape of the Taycan is surprisingly conventional – no futuristic central computer with virtual ECUs, as it is currently discussed in the automotive industry. Instead, it consists of more than 100 function-specific ECUs, which (at least) are networked with each other via a central Ethernet backbone. The future comes via the central gateway into the car, because the entire software can be updated via data download over the entire life cycle of the electric sports car. This functionality made a security concept for all levels of the architecture a mandatory prerequisite. Michael frankly admitted that this development was not an easy undertaking. "We had underestimated the complexity," he sums up.

The OTA (Over-the-Air) updates offer a wide range of functions - from simple updates for the navigation map to warranty functions such as bug fixes, unlocking features or downloading completely new functions. Under the buzzword "Function on Demand", Porsche intends to continue to offer future customers new functions after the purchase and to bring them into the car via OTA download.


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