Porsche unleashes its all-electric Macan on the open road
After first revealing plans for an all-electric Macan back in 2019, Porsche is moving ahead with the project following extensive in-house testing of prototypes at its development center in Germany. The company's next-generation compact SUV is now being rolled out for real-world testing on public roads, as the automaker continues to refine the design ahead of a commercial launch within a couple of years.
Porsche has slowly but steadily been building out its stable of electric vehicles since announcing its Mission E concept way back in 2015, launching the production version as the all-electric Taycan in 2019 and then announcing a Cross Turismo version to go with it.
The forthcoming Macan will be built on the same 800-volt architecture as the Taycan but, other than that, technical details remain relatively scarce. That may be because Porsche is still hard at work testing and developing the vehicle at its facility in Weissach, much of which has involved using digital prototypes to fine-tune the design.
This actually involves 20 different digital prototypes, which act as computational models that simulate various functions of the vehicle, from the power and cooling units, to the acoustics, to the aerodynamics and the effects of that on the electric vehicle's range. This allows the team to pinpoint sources of conflict in the vehicle, resolve them, and move forward with the design.
“We regularly collate the data from the various departments and use it to build up a complete, virtual vehicle that is as detailed as possible,” explains Dr Andreas Huber, manager for digital prototypes at Porsche.
Another part of this ongoing testing and development involves constructing a mock cockpit known as a seat box to mimic the driver's environment, which works with an immersive display and simulation to replicate various aspects of a journey. This enables the Porsche team to study interactions between the vehicle and the driver, with both test drivers and non-experts used throughout.
The knowledge gained led to the first physical prototypes of the all-electric Macan, which has been tested in closed facilities and in turn informs further development of the digital prototypes. Porsche is now rolling the physical prototype out beyond the confines of its development center for the first time, for testing on public roads in real-life conditions ahead of a launch planned for 2023.
“Testing in a real-life environment is now getting underway – one of the most important milestones in the development process,” says Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board, Research and Development, at Porsche AG.
Testing of the all-electric Macan is shown in the video below.