This morning, in an email extolling the flexibility of in silico development, Porsche sent Ars the first official images of its next Macan crossover. And this Macan, which is still a couple of years from being ready, is entirely electric. Unfortunately, the photos don’t give too much away about this electric vehicle replacement to one of Porsche’s biggest sellers; the prototypes are camouflaged, and that Safari-spec LED roof bar is presumably just there to help Porsche’s engineers test around the clock. The four-element LED headlights are probably the real deal, though.
Porsche first revealed that the Macan would go all-electric in early 2019. The car will use a new electric vehicle architecture called PPE (Premium Platform Electric), which Porsche is developing together with corporate sibling Audi. Audi recently briefed us on one of its first PPE-derived EVs, the 2023 Audi A6 e-tron, which uses an 800 V, 100 kWh battery pack and a motor for each axle, with a combined output of 350 kW (469 hp) and 800 Nm (590 lb-ft). Although Porsche isn’t ready to share its own specs yet, the A6 e-tron offers a ballpark within which we can guesstimate.
In its email, Porsche says that it has built 20 digital prototypes, with different departments conducting their own simulations. “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,” said Porsche’s Dr. Andreas Huber, who manages the digital prototypes. The aerodynamicists were among the first to start modeling the EV Macan beginning in 2017.
There is one other interesting new fact in the press release, however. As mentioned, we’ve known for more than two years that the Macan replacement would be electric and due in 2023. But I hadn’t known that Porsche was working on a conventionally powered replacement, too.
“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,” said Porsche board member Michael Steiner.
The first Macan was introduced in 2014 and got a mid-life refresh in 2019. Now it’s getting another restyle inside and out for model year 2022. And fear not, fans of EV purity—Steiner says that other than the name, there will be absolutely nothing shared between the last of the gas-powered Macans and the first of the electric Macans.
Listing image by Porsche