After initial testing on the proving grounds of the Porsche Development Centre in Weissach, prototypes of the all-electric Porsche Macan are now heading outside Porsche premises for the first time.
By the time the all-electric Macan is launched onto the market in 2023, it 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.
Instead of real vehicles, the engineers previously used digital prototypes – computational models that replicated the properties, systems and power units of a vehicle to a high degree of accuracy.
There were 20 digital prototypes for the purpose of simulation in a number of development categories, such as aerodynamics, energy management, operation and acoustics.
After the virtual testing phase, 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.
Real world testing
“We started with a flow-around model when the project first started about four years ago,” reports Dr Thomas Wiegand, Director of aerodynamics development. Low aerodynamic drag is fundamental to the all-electric Macan with a view to ensuring a long range.
Even minor flow enhancements can make a huge difference. The engineers are currently using simulations to fine-tune details such as the cooling air ducts. The calculations not only take into account different arrangements of the components, they also reflect real-life temperature differences.
Like the Taycan, the all-electric Macan, with its 800-volt architecture, will offer typical Porsche E-Performance with development goals such as long-distance range, high-performance fast charging and reproducible best-in-class performance figures.
The market launch of the all-electric Macan – the first Porsche to be built on the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) – is planned for 2023, with the brand positioning itself flexibly for the transition to pure electromobility.
“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,” says Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board, Research and Development, at Porsche AG.
The new combustion-engined Macan models will be offered alongside the all-electric Macan in the future. Until then, however, it still has millions of test kilometres to cover – both in real life and virtually.