Porsche aims to be a leader in sustainable mobility. And this ambition will not be limited to racing and road cars alone in the future. Together with the renowned Frauscher Shipyard in Austria, the sports car manufacturer has developed an electric yacht that sets new standards on the water with its characteristic Porsche E-Performance. The Frauscher x Porsche 850 Fantom Air also scores with impressive acceleration, abundant thrust, superior sustained performance and inspiring design. The Macan will also enrich the market for all-electric compact SUVs with these same attributes from 2024, just as the Taycan sports sedan did in its segment in 2019.
The yacht will be built in the Frauscher Shipyard in Ohlsdorf, Austria. Porsche is supplying three pre-assembled modules: the battery, powertrain and helmstand. In addition to the final assembly, Frauscher is also handing all the sales logistics and the after-sales management.
From idea to series-production ready
Lean and fast – an apt description not only of the eFantom itself, but also the story of how it came to be. The idea of bringing Porsche E-Performance to the maritime world arose in the spring of 2021 during a meeting with Chairman of the Executive Board Oliver Blume. Then, in 2022, the decision was made to use the drive technology of the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) and to integrate the project into the Macan series. The renowned Frauscher Shipyard in Austria was brought onboard as a partner.
Tasks were clearly distributed from the outset. Frauscher started by modifying the inside of the glass-fibre-reinforced plastic hull so that it could accommodate the drive unit in an optimal position with a low centre of gravity. At the same time, the Porsche experts at the Macan development project facility in Hemmingen near Stuttgart worked on the necessary adjustments to the motor peripherals.
Construction of the first prototype began in 2022. The prototype was then used in the testing phase. The maiden voyage took place on 22 September 2022 – on Lake Traunsee, not far from the shipyard. On 27 October 2022, the boat was presented for the first time to the members of the Porsche Executive Board on Lake Tegernsee in Bavaria, who then gave the green light for further development and series production. Test drives on the larger Lake Garda were completed by the beginning of 2023 with Cantiere Nautico Feltrinelli, Frauscher’s long-established Italian importer. The first series production boat was finished in summer 2023. As usual with Porsche, both boats were subjected to demanding endurance tests to ensure they met the exacting quality requirements.
PPE as the technical basis for the Macan and eFantom
Premium Platform Electric (PPE) is an architecture for all-electric vehicles, jointly developed by Porsche and Audi. It allows the advantages of a purely electric platform to be utilised in many ways – in terms of packaging and space, for example. At the same time, the architecture offers so much leeway in the wheelbase, track width and ground clearance that it can be used to realise a variety of models – including in different segments. This flexibility, in turn, allows Porsche models to retain their strong, independent character.
The first Porsche based on PPE will be the new Macan from 2024. Thanks to its 800-volt architecture, powerful latest-generation electric motor and state-of-the-art battery and charge management, this model offers the E-Performance that is characteristic of Porsche. The successor to the popular compact SUV will be the sportiest model in its segment. Along with reproducible best-in-class performance values, the development targets include long-range capability and high-performance fast charging.
For the top variants, the engineers are creating a dynamic, sporty driving experience with a fully variable electronically controlled rear differential and Performance styling for the rear of the car. There is also a powerful electric motor positioned behind the rear axle – the same electric motor that is used in the Frauscher x Porsche (see chapter Powertrain). It enables a rear-dominant all-wheel drive application in the Macan across a wide range. In combination with the dynamic torque distribution in the all-wheel drive, it also supports high agility when accelerating out of corners.
For “the boldest water sports ventures”: historic boat engine serves as a forerunner
It’s not the first time Porsche drive technology has found its way onto the water: after a trial phase on Stuttgart’s Lake Max-Eyth, the company presented a boat engine to the public in 1959. The 1.6-litre four-cylinder boxer from the Porsche 356 had been modified, with the engine output restricted to 52 PS, down from 60 in the car.
Known as the type 729, the project featured an innovative thermal concept. Using a heat exchanger, the exhaust air from the engine could be used to heat the boat. The contemporary brochure of March 1960 confidently addressed boat owners: “With the Porsche boat engine, you build a veritable buffalo of robustness into your boat and thus ensure the success of your boldest water sports ventures.”