Porsche just revealed 15 years worth of concept cars never before released to the public called Porsche Unseen. It is 15 years worth of design studies, between 2005-2019, of concept cars that started life with no plan to put it into production. But while these concepts exist as freethinking exercises and are shelved, they are not forgotten: One such model started life in this way and eventually became the Porsche Taycan.
“Take this 960 Turismo Concept. The idea came from the fact that nobody really had a hyper sports car with the proportions of the 918 spyder, but with four seats,”
Michael Mauer, Head of Design at Porsche, told us. “Could we do something like this? Knowing that to bring this into production with the existing technology would be really tough. So we did this design exercise.”
Mauer continued, “Everybody thought, whoa, very cool. But then it was stored. A couple years later, a discussion started that Porsche should go into the electric world and do a BEV (battery electric vehicle). We, as designers, realized that this BEV technology would enable us to realize these dramatic proportions, so we pulled the project out again and said that would be our proposal to enter this BEV world. At the end of the day it became the Mission E and finally became the Taycan.”
Kind of crazy to think about isn’t it? Because that means the Taycan’s basic design existed long before the idea of the Taycan did. And the reason why is simple: the 960 Concept’s design did not work well with internal combustion engines. Take that away, and all of a sudden the proportions start to work. Mauer explains it this way.
“This new technology, like we see in the 960 Turismo, was a prerequisite to realize these dramatic proportions. It gives us much more freedom in the design department. This kind of new technology, the big engine block disappears.”
Furthermore, electrification, in Mauer’s mind at least, is a real boon for designers. “Since we are at the beginning of BEV technology, I would hope and expect that we see a lot of development to give us even more freedom as batteries become smaller and more easily distributed in the car, which will give us even more freedom.”
“But, even right now,” Mauer added, “a lot of components linked to today’s technology: exhaust, transmission, all of this stuff, means that already today I have more freedom. And I would say that certain design concepts will come back or we will see even more variety in concepts, since we have more freedom.”
That freedom gave us the Taycan.
The marriage of design and engineering is a fascinating one, sometimes the idea is first, sometimes the design. It begs the question: who knows what ideas people will have—or have already had—that will be the next new Porsche.
What do you think of the 960 Turismo Concept? Tell us in the comments.
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