• Sonny Neil

Porsche showcases the all new all-electric Macan

The new model has been tested using both physical and digital prototypes, helping improve efficiency and sustainability

The all-electric Macan is ready for the road: after initial testing on the proving grounds of the Porsche Development Centre in Weissach, the well-camouflaged next-generation prototypes of the compact SUV are now heading outside Porsche premises for the first time.

“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.

Currently slated to release to the public in 2023, the new test-models will have covered some three million test kilometres worldwide in varying conditions. The prototypes are able to incorporate the experience gained from countless previous test kilometres – driven in a virtual space.

These digital tests not only reduce the time and costs required but also the resources needed, allowing early testing to much more sustainable. These tests are performed by computer based prototypes which replicate the various properties and systems of a vehicle to a high level of accuracy. These 20 prototypes are then tested under various degrees including aerodynamics energy management, operation and acoustics which allows Porsche to identify any design conflicts earlier in the development process.

“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.

The first physical prototypes of the all-electric Macan were built based on the data obtained from the simulations – in some cases elaborately by hand or using special tools. These are then regularly adapted based on the virtual refinement process. Similarily, findings and data from the road tests are then fed back into digital development.

Michael Steiner states: “Endurance testing on closed-off testing facilities and public roads in real-life conditions is still indispensable to ensure that the vehicle structure, operational stability and reliability of hardware, software and all functions meet our high quality standards.”

The demanding test programme carried out under the extremes of climatic and topographical conditions, includes disciplines such as the charging and conditioning of the high-voltage battery, which has to meet very rigorous standards.

“Like the Taycan, the all-electric Macan, with its 800-volt architecture, will offer typical Porsche E-Performance,” promises Steiner, citing development goals such as long-distance range, high-performance fast charging and reproducible best-in-class performance figures: “The all-electric Macan will be the sportiest model in its segment.”

The market launch of the all-electric Macan – the first Porsche to be built on the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) showcases Porsche's plans to flexibly transition themselves to pure electromobility. However they are also planning the release of a combustion powered version.

“In Europe, demand for electric vehicles continues to rise, but the pace of change varies considerably across the world. That’s why we’re going to launch another conventionally powered successor to the current Macan in the course of 2021,”.

The new combustion-engined Macan models will be offered alongside the all-electric Macan in the future. Until then, however, extensive tests and millions of test kilometres will need to be covered – both physically and virtually.