Porsche has pulled wraps off of the Taycan Cross Turismo, a car that made its debut in concept form as the “Mission E Cross Turismo” at the 2018 Geneva Auto Show. It has now made the transition to production status and it looks, well, pretty much as it did in concept form, which is saying something.
What it’s saying is that with its adventurous-yet-rugged wheels, plastic cladding ‘round the whole of the bottom of the vehicle and fascia shared with the Taycan saloon, the Cross Turismo is very much in-keeping with Porsche’s future styling and powertrain direction.
The powertrain is the same as the Taycan, which means a 93.4 kWh battery (the Cross Turismo doesn’t get the smaller battery option the Taycan does), two EV motors (one on each axle) making between 375 and 750 horsepower, although those figures come with an asterisk because there is more power delivered for short times when using launch control. They also make between 369 and 774 pound-feet of torque, which means that acceleration times from zero-100 km/h can be as low as 2.9-seconds. Even though there’s more room inside the Cross Turismo and it’s seen its ground clearance increase by 30 millimetres over the standard Taycan – not to mention all that extra body cladding — performance hasn’t taken a hit.
“Adding this (Cross Turismo) derivative to this car gives us credibility without losing the performance aspect,” says Detlev von Platen, sales and marketing board member at Porsche. “You can perfectly go on a race track, but I think it makes it the most versatile and the most practical EV we have at the moment because you have such a wide range of usage.” When he says “most practical EV”, he’s not just talking abut the Taycan or Taycan Cross Turismo; he’s talking about all the plug-in hybrid models they offer as well – the Panamera, Cayenne and upcoming electric Macan, too.
It stands to reason that von Platen feels this way when you consider just how successful Porsche EV and PHEV products have been in recent years. Last year, 17 per cent of Porsches sold worldwide were of the BEV or PHEV variety, while 33 per cent of Porsches sold in Europe were PHEVs and EVs. So, the Cross Turismo should be able to hit the ground running when it debuts with four trims – Taycan 4 Cross Turismo ($119,900), Taycan 4S Cross Turismo ($126,800), Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo ($178,000) and Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo ($218,000) – in the summer of 2021.
Power is one thing, but if you’re going to move the Taycan into quasi-crossover territory, you need to add the space and features inside that are befitting of that moniker. In that light, the Cross Turismo has 47 additional millimetres of rear headroom, 1,200 litres of load capacity, and even a specialized bike rack that can fit three bikes and still allows the rear tailgate to be opened when it’s loaded for bear. Oh, and if you want the bikes strapped to your Cross Turismo to keep the theme, know that Porsche is also launching two eBikes — the Cross and the Sport – alongside the Cross Turismo.
In addition to the power and the higher ride height, the Cross Turismo also gets air suspension and a “Gravel Mode” as standard. While we doubt that will make the Cross Turismo adept and climbing boulders alongside Jeep Wranglers in Moab, UT, it will make the winter roads and cottage access roads that the Cross Turismo will likely be spending most of its “off road” time on that much easier and confidence-inspiring to traverse.
Of course, the question with this new EV is the same as it often is with any EV: is the manufacturer going to invest in charging infrastructure as these vehicles continue to proliferate? Well, to Porsche’s credit, they already have.
“We are investing with (Volkswagen Group brands) Audi and Volkswagen to create a fast-charging passage here in Canada,” says Marc Ouayoun, president and CEO of Porsche Cars Canada. “We have already opened 19 stations. Every station has a minimum of six (charging) pedestals and two that are dedicated for fast charging, and there will be another 13 opening in the next six months.” That brings the total charging stations to 32 by mid-2021, and there are already plans for a second phase that will add an additional 10 stations. The end goal? To have no more than 200 km between stations all across Canada. That would mean that Porsche is besting even energy giant Petro-Canada, whose own charging network does span from coast to coast, but has no more than 250 km between stations as opposed to the 200 Porsche is aiming for.
In addition to that, Porsche’s dealers are upping their game when it comes to educating customers about level II home charging systems and is already training more technicians to help customers with the transition.
EVs, PHEVs and charging networks – all great stuff. But let’s not forget that Porsche started as a performance car company, and still has a vast stable full of good-old-fashioned internal combustion-powered (ICE) sports cars. Not much market for alternative power there, right?
Well, not entirely.
You see, in addition to developing the charging network, Porsche is already hard at work building an e-fuels factory in Chile. For the uninitiated: e-fuels are essentially various gas types that can be used in ICE vehicles, just like traditional fuels taken from the earth. E-fuels, however, are created by using electricity to combine oxygen, hydrogen and carbon dioxide to create the hydrocarbons that make up gas. It should come as no surprise that this is an expensive process, but that hasn’t stopped Porsche from trying.
“The first goal we have is to come to the industrialization of e-fuels,” says von Platen. “That means reducing e-fuels to a price which would be acceptable to customers.
“This is the reason why we are building a pilot e-fuels factory in Chile,” he says. “To show…that the price for producing e-fuels in the future could be absolutely competitive with fossil carburants in the future.” He also says that the same logistics used to deliver traditional fuels can be used for e-fuels, so it sounds almost turn-key.
Porsche as an energy company? Who would ever have guessed that?