The new all-electric 2023 Porsche Macan is undergoing rigorous testing in Germany, using both real-world and digital prototypes to put it through its paces.
Developed at the Porsche Development Centre in Weissach, the compact SUV is now heading outside the German automaker’s doors for the first time.
By the time the new model launches in 2023, it will have covered around three million kilometres in all kinds of conditions across the world.
According to Porsche, its engineers are among the first to develop a car with a digital prototype, having started with a flow-around model about four years ago working on aspects such as aerodynamics, energy management, operation and acoustics.
Instead of real vehicles, the engineers use digital models which replicate the properties, systems and power units of a real-life car with precision accuracy.
Using digital technology to enhance the capabilities of a car like the all-electric Macan is fast becoming essential, as it helps, for example, to ensure the vehicle has a low aerodynamic drag –fundamental to having a long range.
Other ways the new tech proves its worth is in the development of the overall electric drive system. From the battery through to the motor – the system requires a completely separate cooling and temperature control concept to that of a conventionally powered vehicle.
While a temperature window of 90 to 120 degrees is the target for combustion engines, the electric motor, powertrain electronics and high-voltage battery require a range of between 20 and 70 degrees, depending on the component.
“The digital world is indispensable to the development of the all-electric Macan,” says Dr Thomas Wiegand, Director of Aerodynamics Development.
The first real-world prototypes of the all-electric Macan have been built based on the data obtained from the simulations – in some cases elaborately by hand or using special tools. The vehicles are then regularly adapted based on a virtual refinement process and vice versa with road tests feeding directly back into the digital development.
“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,” says Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board, Research and Development at Porsche AG.
Full details of the fully-electric 2023 Porsche Macan have yet to be revealed, however the car maker has said it will also be releasing an updated version of the existing petrol-powered Macan at the same time.
“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.
It will be the first Porsche to be built on the Premium Platform Electric (PPE), which can also be found underpinning the upcoming Audi Q6 E-Tron (due late 2022), as the two Volkswagen Group manufacturers have co-developed the platform.
The PPE architecture is expected to offer more than 400kW, with both rear and all-wheel drive.
From the photos, it’s clear that the new Macan will have headlights more akin to the Taycan’s styling than its predecessor, while other design cues from the fully-electric performance sedan are likely to also make their way onto the final production SUV.
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