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Porsche is Offering Free OTA Software Updates for Early Taycan Owners

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【Summary】Porsche announced that its has updated all of last year’s electric Taycan models sold around the world with the latest software free of charge, meaning that customers that purchased a Taycan in 2020 can now get all of the same features and updates offered in the newest Taycan models. Porsche says these software updates offer improvements to the Taycan’s driving dynamics, intelligent charging functions, as well as additional functions for the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system.

FutureCar Staff    Mar 23, 2021 12:30 PM PT
Porsche is Offering Free OTA Software Updates for Early Taycan Owners
Early buyers of the electric Porsche Taycan sedan are getting OTA software updates for free.

Purchasing an older vehicle right before the latest upgraded model is about to be released won't matter so much in the future, since many future vehicles will support over-the-air (OTA) software updates designed to keep them always up to date like a smartphone. 

This is especially true for software-based electric vehicles, where software updates can be used for such things as increasing power or extending range. The new Taycan sedan from Porsche is one example of a software updateable vehicle, as its all of Tesla's electric models. Tesla pioneered the use of OTA software updates in the auto industry and now other automakers are following in the company's lead.

Porsche announced that its has updated all of last year's electric Taycan models sold around the world with the latest software free of charge, meaning that customers that purchased a Taycan in 2020 can now get all of the same features and updates offered in the newest Taycan models.

Porsche says these software updates offer improvements to the Taycan's driving dynamics, new intelligent charging functions, as well as additional functions for the Porsche Communication Management (PCM) system and Porsche Connect features.

For example, for Porsche Taycan models equipped with adaptive air suspension, the latest OTA update includes a new "Smartlift" function. This allows the Taycan to be programmed so that the ride height is automatically raised at certain locations to protect the underside of the vehicle from damage, such as for speed bumps or a steep driveway entrance.

Another OTA update pushed to Taycan models was designed to improve chassis control, which increases in traction in the Taycan Turbo S resulting in faster acceleration. With this particular update, the Taycan can hit 200 km/h (120 mph) just 9.6 seconds while using Launch Control, which is around 0.2 seconds faster than before. 

Although the 0.2 second improvement in acceleration time doesn't seem like much, the fact that the Taycan can be made a little faster via an OTA update is a first for Porsche.

Porsche also updated its Charging Planner function, which allows Taycan owners to set the charge level to reach a specified destination, rather than having to wait for the battery to fully charge to travel a short distance.

With Posche's new Charging Planner with active route guidance, the driver receives a notification via the vehicle's infotainment screen and in the smartphone app when the necessary charge level for the remaining route has been reached so that the trip can be continued without too much delay. 

Other new features include a new Battery-Saving Charging function that allows for the charging capacity to be reduced from 270 kW to 200 kW if desired. This helps reduce the temperature of the battery pack while charging, which over time can help extend battery life and make the charging process charging more efficient.

The Taycan's on-board 22 kW AC charger will be available as a retro-fit option in selected markets from the end of 2021, Porsche announced.

The Taycan's OTA updates are not just for performance upgrades. Porsche said the vehicle's navigation system has also been fine-tuned. This includes displaying online information directly on the map as well as traffic information with lane-level precision, the company said.

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Porsche said that additional updates can be done at any time on current-model-year Taycan via its Functions on Demand (FoD) feature.

The recent Taycan update includes significant software optimization for numerous control units, meaning that the transmission has to be adapted and the drive components calibrated after it has been completed. This is one exception to the Taycan's OTA software updates, as the calibration of the drive components requires a one-time visit to a Porsche Service Center.

Porsche's domestic rival Mercedes-Benz will also offer OTA software updates in the future. In June 2020, Mercedes announced its developing an entirely new software-based architecture for its future vehicles that supports OTA updates using NVIDIA's AI-powered DRIVE platform.

A new partnership between German automaker Mercedes Benz and chipmaker NVIDIA will give owners the ability to add new software to their vehicles, keeping them always up to date with new features, including software updates to support higher levels of automated driving.

Drivers of these future Mercedes Benz software defined cars will be able to add convenience apps to their vehicles the same way Apple iPhone and Android device owners can add new apps to their devices. 

The new electric Mach-E SUV from Ford also supports OTA updates, which is a first for the U.S. automaker.

Porsche said that additional updates can be done at any time on current-model-year Taycan via its Functions on Demand (FoD) feature. These flexible upgrades are available OTA once the Taycan has been originally configured by the customer and purchased. 

Current FoD updates include Power Steering Plus, Active Lane Keep Assist and Porsche InnoDrive, which includes adaptive cruise control (ACC). Taycan owners can choose whether they want to purchase these enhanced capabilities upfront or pay from them via a monthly subscription that includes a three-month trial period. Activation in the vehicle then takes just a few minutes.

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