The sound – the acoustic business card of the Taycan
“The drive units are our instruments,” says Tobias Hillers, Active Sound Design Manager. He sees himself clearly as an engineer, not a designer or even composer – but with a flair for music. Even during his studies, he specialised in vehicle acoustics – a passion that has accompanied him since childhood days. He and his team are the specialists behind the sound of the new Taycan. They gave it a voice.
No easy task, because not only the customers, but also the press and Porsche employees who were not directly involved in the development of the Taycan listened very carefully to the sound. And their expectations and demands were high. Even within our own ranks: “Every Porsche has an unmistakeable sound. The different motorisations lend each model its own character, but each vehicle is unmistakably Porsche – we wanted to achieve the same for the Taycan.” At the same time, they wanted to reinterpret and redefine the Porsche sound for the electric vehicles. Add a pinch of future. So how do you do it?
My job is to make our electric vehicles sound like a Porsche
For Tobias and his team, it was clear: the sound must be authentic and match the vehicle. This means that the sound must come from the vehicle. From the drive units – the instruments. Because the drives of an electric vehicle also generate noises. They are just different from those of a combustion engine. When developing a sound for electric vehicles, it is then crucial to highlight those parts of the drive that sound good or match the vehicle and filter out the unwanted sounds.
The result: the Porsche Electric Sport Sound. A potent sound that becomes increasingly voluminous and powerful the more dynamic the driving. And the first electric sports car that manages to reproduce the performance of the vehicle over the entire speed range. A result with which Tobias and his team are extremely satisfied: “The Porsche Electric Sport Sound is unmistakably Porsche. And it bears the sound DNA.” It therefore lays the foundation for the development of all future electric models at Porsche.
The Taycan sound can be distinguished from almost all other vehicles. And it sounds like Porsche
The interior – stunning outside, a statement inside
What shapes the typical character of a Porsche? For Jari Uhde it is clear, “the design, the smell as soon as I get in. And the haptic sensations when I touch various surfaces inside the vehicle.” Ensuring that the Porsche brand and the values associated with it can be found – indeed, can be touched – inside a vehicle is the task of Jari Uhde, Cornelia Rosenbohm and Ekrem Topcu, among others in the Materials Development department, who are responsible for the selection, development and testing of future vehicle interior materials.
In the Taycan, the mission was clear: to create something new. And simultaneously convey a sense of familiarity. Sustainability should be at the forefront of every decision. The greatest challenge was to combine the high demands on the materials themselves with the demands on their sustainability. Because it's not about selling a 'story of sustainability', but about producing in a truly environmentally conscious way. This means that not only the materials themselves are tested for their environmental impact, but the entire cycle – including the production and further processing of the material.
The Taycan was a wonderful opportunity to make a new statement
In addition, every material to be installed in a Porsche must meet high standards. Jaris scrutinises the intended use of the material and deduces stresses and strains: UV radiation, heat exposure, abrasion or soiling. Does the customer possibly use a hand cream that could affect the material, especially on the steering wheel? Measures are then determined to protect the materials against these stresses. Finally, they are tested for robustness, abrasion, wear or strength using various tests and methods, some of which have been developed in-house. Even the odour of materials is tested and assessed in advance under standardised conditions by a team of several trained test persons.
After a 24-month development phase, with the OLEA club leather, the team around Cornelia, Ekrem and Jari have created a leather for the Taycan that meets every demand. It sets new standards in terms of sustainable processing methods because the tanning agent is plant-based, made from olive leaves which are a waste product in food production. Using the vegetable tanning agent is not only good for the environment as no chemicals are used, it also lends the leather a particularly fresh, slighty fruity smell.
And the skin for the leather comes preferably from Southern German bulls. Because their skins are very large, about 5-6 square metres. And they are of a particularly high quality. This means that the leather shows little damage, for example from injuries, which indicates that the animals are kept in a good state of welfare.
Speaking of looks – what about aesthetics? The OLEA leather is inspired by classic club armchairs, which develop a very special character in the course of their natural ageing process. This should also be achieved for the Taycan. Using a specific printing process, a surface was generated that resembles an aniline leather – a very natural leather. This means that the patina of the leather, which is available in four colours, will continue to develop individually during the time in the car.
Sustainability and Porsche go well together for me – we have always created durable vehicles that even become collectors' items
The charging infrastructure – fully-charged Porsche
Simon Schulze always saw himself as a bit of a petrol head. But that changed with his first ride in an electric vehicle. He is particularly fascinated by the dynamic aspect, the unleashing of power of the new Taycan. Because the electric vehicle charges overnight, Simon has a full tank in the morning and a range of over 200 miles.
It is Simon's job to ensure that everything runs smoothly. As the Product Manager for charging infrastructure, he focuses on the existing and future products that make up the Porsche charging ecosystem on a daily basis. The department is responsible for developing hardware, services and networks, such as the Porsche Destination Charging programme. With this programme, Porsche customers can use exclusive charging stations at special destinations such as hotels or restaurants. He ended up in the Electromobility department more by chance, but then somehow "got stuck there", as he says himself. "Working on this topic feels like working on the ravages of time."
The special thing about it is that every morning I can get into my car with a full tank
Here you can help shape the future. Starting with an initial idea, a need, which is laid down in the Product Mission, Simon accompanies the complete development process of a product until it is ready for series production. He defines requirements, lays down specifications, works with designers, meets suppliers. His most important task: to take the place of the customer. “My main job is to express the customer requirements. Also to tell the developers, I know it's expensive or elaborate, but we need it for our customers. ”In doing so, he also faces the challenges posed by charging equipment. For example, many countries need different connector types to be connected to the respective infrastructure, or require different certification measures. Finally, all products undergo end-to-end testing, i.e. product function testing. For example, all interfaces to the back end, the vehicle and the external energy management system of a Porsche charging station are tested. This ensures that all products that are or will be integrated in the charging ecosystem are functionally interlinked.
Because that is what makes Porsche so special: the customer gets everything from a single source. The vehicle, the charging pedestal for their home, and the Porsche Home Energy Manager, which regulates household consumption efficiently and safely. The devices harmonise not only on a functional level, but also visually – everything meets the typical Porsche standards of design, quality and feel. And Simon always keeps in mind that everything should work as simply as possible. True to the motto of the whole team: making charging easy. “The customer should just be able to plug it in and then not have to worry about anything.”
Production – break new ground
When Milan Spasic comes to work in the morning, he knows exactly what to expect: “First we meet before work starts, have coffee together, talk a little and then, at 6 am on the morning shift, we start work.” Milan has been part of the Porsche family, as he himself calls it, for eight years. When he joined Porsche for the second time in 2011, one of his dreams came true. Because he always wanted to be a 'Porscheaner'.
Starting with the assembly of the sports cars, he then moved to the final assembly of the 918 Spyder. When he heard that a new plant was being constructed for a new model that no one had ever built before, it was immediately clear that he had to be a part of it. You can feel his passion for the brand and the vehicles. And for his work. He really knows his way around the new production facility, which was built especially for the Taycan in Zuffenhausen. After all, he has been there from the very beginning to accompany the processes that have been conceived from scratch. Milan makes sure that everything goes according to plan, trains new colleagues and supports them in their tasks.
The biggest change with the switch to an electric drive is probably working with the high-voltage battery and its components. The 'marriage', as the joining of the body with the engine is called in automotive manufacturing, now means the connection of the rear axle, front axle and battery. Cable harnesses and coolant hoses are laid, various HV (high-voltage) components and the battery are screw-fastened and contacted. But there are also other things that are different in the new plant, which in the long term is to become a 'Zero Impact Factory'. This is a production facility without a negative environmental impact: new equipment, new facilities with unmanned systems, new cycle times.
Among all the innovations, the increasing digitalisation is particularly noticeable: there is no longer an accompanying folder in the vehicles. All information can be accessed digitally via monitors. The factory is almost paperless. “I think it's right that we display much more digitally in the work steps," says Milan, “because we have a high-quality standard, and only through digitalisation can we ensure it sufficiently.” For example, 80 per cent of the screwdrivers in Milan's section are controlled via Bluetooth. This means that each screw connection is stored in the system and the respective screw system only works when that particular vehicle is driven in. After the screw connection, it is marked as completed by a visual signal – 100 per cent assurance that every screw joint has been made.
Before the vehicle leaves the first floor, after five conveyor sections, and heads to final assembly, the colleagues once again check that all HV components are correctly connected and the cooling water hoses are contacted. “No one here would be able to assemble the vehicle alone. Only as a team can we deliver the quality we want to achieve before the vehicles go to the customers.”
Teamwork. Enthusiasm. Passion for our own craft. And a pinch of pioneering spirit. These are the ingredients that go into the new Taycan – well, actually in all Porsche models. It is the personal expertise and experience of our employees that significantly shapes your experience in our sports cars. The feeling when you grip the steering wheel. Start the engine. And the butterflies in your stomach just before you press the accelerator pedal all the way down.
At Porsche, we have a significant sports car heritage and therefore a great task, but also a great opportunity to transfer the classic Porsche values in the Taycan to the modern world