Porsche Exhibits Product Development

Yes, wrecking cars is part of the process

By Gary S. Vasilash

This is a picture of a Porsche Taycan after it hit—under controlled circumstances, not randomly—a barrier while it was going 50 km/h, a.k.a. 31 mph.

(Image: Porsche)

You think that slow-speed accidents aren’t a big deal?

Look at the picture and think again.

Now as you look at the picture you may notice that the setting is not some engineering facility.

Rather, it is the Porsche Museum in Zuffenhausen, where a special exhibition, “50 Years of Porsche Development at Weissach” opened today. It runs through December 5.

The objective of the exhibition is to show various aspects of how vehicles are developed, from concept through design, engineering, and so on.

Said Achim Stejskal, head of Porsche Heritage and Museum, “Sports cars for the road and thoroughbred race cars have been developed in Weissach for half a century. Dreams are designed, created and tested in the middle of idyllic countryside.”

And as that crunched Taycan shows, it is necessary to do unidyllic things during vehicle development to assure that when the vehicles are on the road or on the track the occupants have measures of protection.

Another Surprise from Porsche

An exercise in cognitive dissonance?

By Gary S. Vasilash

If nothing else, the people at Porsche are imaginative when it comes to promoting its brand.

The latest effort is even more surprising than the hiring of the Science Guy:

A 212-page book titled. . .Hip-Hop Culture—A Road Trip through Europe.

The book is based on a pre-COVID trip that Niko Hüls, publisher of a hip-hop magazine, Backspin, took with people from Porsche.

Hüls and a Cayenne. (Image: Porsche)

The travels gave rise to profiles of hip-hop artists including Kool Savas (Berlin), Lord Esperanza (Paris), Edson Sabajo (Amsterdam), Falsalarma (Barcelona), Lars Pedersen (Copenhagen) and the Flying Steps (Berlin).

In what may be the understatement of the year, Sebastian Rudolph, Vice President Public Relations, Press, Sustainability and Politics at Porsche AG, said, “Hip-hop and Porsche – at first glance, this may seem a surprising combination.”

He added, however, “But this pairing stands for diversity and cultural values.”

The book is available from Back to Tape.

All proceeds from the book are being donated to Viva Con Agua.

Bill Nye, Porsche Guy

Guess this means the big time for the quirky science enthusiast

By Gary S. Vasilash

Bill Nye is not a real doctor, nor does he have a master’s degree—in science. (A BS in mechanical engineering from Cornell.)

But he has made science interesting to the young and old alike.

There he is, always wearing a bowtie (and a suit or lab coat) rolling out in an understandable manner the science behind everyday life.

Well, he is wearing the bowtie. (Image: Porsche)

And he does so in a way that he seems to be the lovable everyman teacher from one’s middle school.

One of the things that a lovable everyman teacher from one’s middle school probably could only dream of is a Porsche Taycan.

But Nye has been hired by Porsche to create a YouTube channel for a series of shows that explain what makes the $79,900 electric Porsche special.

For some people what makes it special are:

  1. It is a Porsche
  2. It has a starting price of $79,900 and goes to $185,000.

It is worth noting that Porsche had also hired Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter to star in a video, “Going the Distance,” during which they take a road trip in SoCal in Taycans.

While that is somewhat understandable (e.g., getting on the accelerator really does earn a “Whoa!”), it is somewhat sad that Bill Nye has gone Hollywood.

Of course, were he Bill Nye Math Guy he would be able to explain the likely sudden increase in his bank balance.

A Garage in Croatia

Millions of Euros for an up-and-coming EV OEM. . .

Although the classic Silicon Valley origin story has it that someone comes up with something in a garage and the rest is history, that story occurs in other parts of the world, as in Croatia.

There, a 21-year-old Mate Rimac in 2009 thought about the prospect of developing an electric supercar.

In 2011 he started Rimac Automobili.

And today Porsche announced that it was investing an additional 70-million Euro in the company so that it now owns 24% of Rimac Autmobili.

In 2019 Hyundai Group invested 80-million Euro in the company, so it, too, owns a chunk.

It is somewhat surprising to think that a small company could become important to larger OEMs.

Perhaps more surprising are comments from Lutz Meschke, deputy chairman of the executive board and member of the executive board for Finance and IT at Porsche: “Mate Rimac inspires us with his innovative ideas.”

Yes, a finance guy talking inspiration.

Meschke went on to note, however, “Our investment in the company has turned out to be absolutely right. Rimac’s value has increased many times since our initial investment.”

Porsche bought 10% in 2018.

Porsche Taycan Driven to a Speed Record–Indoors

As people spend more and more time indoors because of the pandemic, they are doing all manner of things, from baking sourdough bread to learning how to play musical instruments that they had to pull out of the closet where they abandoned them years earlier.

But then there’s Leh Keen.

He decided to set a Guinness World Record: setting a speed record for a vehicle indoors.

The indoor space he chose was not a rec room that hadn’t been used since the kids were small.

Rather, it was Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, which has the largest contiguous-space exhibit hall, of about 1-million square feet.

The vehicle in question Keen selected was a Porsche Taycan Turbo S, an all-electric car that provides 750 hp and has four-wheel drive. The car has the ability to accelerate from 0 to 60 in 2.6 seconds.

Porsche Taycan Turbo S driven by Leh Keen to an indoor speed record. (Image: Porsche)

Here’s something you probably didn’t think about because you’ve not driven in a convention center space.

The polished concrete floor is slippery.

Keen: “The surface is so unpredictable, so slick, that you have to have complete trust in your car. It truly was like ice – and you’re accelerating flat out, facing a really hard wall at the end. Suddenly, even in a massive space like the one we had, it seems very small.”

The requirement for the record was to start from a standstill and to come to a complete stop.

There are no safety nets. No open doors to escape through if things go badly.

The record was 86 mph. It stood for seven years.

Keen made the run—and the record—with 102 mph.

He said, “102 mph inside a building. What was I thinking?”–gsv