- Porsche is currently working on an e-SUV powertrain that consists of four electric motors
- The company claims extreme stability through software tweaking
- Next-generation Porsche Macan will be a fully electric SUV
Porsche AG just sent out a press release in which it talks about the current development of future electric vehicles, namely an e-SUV powertrain that features four electric motors—one at each wheel. Could this be the basis for the next-generation Porsche Macan?
As a reminder, back in February, the German brand announced that its next Macan will boast an all-electric powertrain, and would probably turn up in 2022 or so. In the meantime, the Porsche Taycan sedan will hit the market in a few weeks’ time, while the Taycan Cross Turismo should arrive in 2021.
If Porsche is working on a four-motor setup for a future SUV, we’re guessing it’s preparing the Macan EV’s mechanical components.
The decision to integrate four motors—the Taycan is equipped with one motor at each axle—is easy to understand. As each wheel will be independently powered from the rest, ideal software programming can assign a wheel to brake or accelerate at any given moment, increasing stability and traction on the slipperiest surfaces such as snow- or ice-covered roads.
Although a conventional electronic stability program can apply braking to a specific wheel, it can’t feed power to an individual corner, and that’s where a four-electric motor setup makes sense. For example, if a vehicle negotiates a left-hand turn on a snowy surface, it might start sliding as it tries to keep a straight line—or what is called understeer. By braking the left rear wheel (that lost grip) and accelerating the right rear wheel (which has more grip as the vehicle’s weight has shifted on it), the vehicle will be easier to rotate.
In addition, an ESP system still relies on a mechanical setup, which can be sluggish compared to the quicker reaction time of the four-motor setup. Simply put, software and wheel sensors will play a crucial role in a future EV SUV’s handling characteristics. Not only that, but four combined electric motors will allow for increased output and performance in addition to the enhanced roadholding capabilities.
After testing its e-SUV system on a frozen river these last couple of years, engineers had to overcome a challenge. “The electric motors respond so quickly that vibrations can occur,” said Ulf Hintze of Porsche Engineering. The software transferred torque between axles so quickly that audible revving of the motors was heard. A close collaboration between the calibration team and the development succeeded in curing the issue. Again, through software programming.
The e-SUV powertrain should turn up real soon in a Porsche utility vehicle, and the company is proud of the development work carried out so far. “It’s almost as if you had a separate gas pedal for each axle or wheel,” said Hintze.
Our fearless prediction: the next-generation Porsche Macan will be equipped with an electric motor at each wheel.