Why the Porsche Taycan EV's Two-Speed Transmission Is a Big Deal

Photo credit: Porsche
Photo credit: Porsche

From Car and Driver

  • The 2020 Porsche Taycan features a two-speed automatic transmission at the rear axle, a first for an EV.

  • This multispeed gearbox aims to improve both acceleration and efficiency at higher speeds.

  • The Taycan can also disconnect its rear axle and run entirely on front-axle power.

The Porsche Taycan is the first EV with a two-speed transmission, which provides numerous advantages over the single-speed arrangement found in every other electric vehicle.

Having a multispeed transmission in an EV provides the same benefits that it does in a gasoline-powered car: improved low-speed acceleration and increased efficiency at high velocity by lowering the rotating speed of the power source. In other words, the ratio spread of the two-speed transmission will help the Taycan's highway driving range while also making it quicker.

Photo credit: Porsche
Photo credit: Porsche

The Porsche's gearbox has a single planetary gearset and two clutches that handle the ratio swap or decouple the rear motor altogether, allowing for efficient running using only front-axle power. The gearing step is large, with the second-gear ratio roughly half of the first and the shift point happening around 50 mph. In most driving, the Taycan runs in top gear. First-gear starts happen in Sport or Sport Plus mode; to do it in Normal, you'll need a large accelerator input.


Porsche claims that the highest-power Taycan, the 750-hp Turbo S, can pop off 10 consecutive 2.6-second slingshots to 60 mph with no degradation in performance. It says that even when the battery has less than a 50 percent charge, the car’s performance will remain consistent, with a measurable but imperceptible slowdown. Porsche credits the use of the two-speed transmission on the rear axle, the permanent-magnet synchronous AC motors, and the car’s higher operating voltage that creates less heat than lower-voltage setups.

At highway cruising speeds, which is usually EV kryptonite, the tall top gear should boost the Taycan's range, although Porsche has yet to announce EPA range ratings.

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