By on September 6, 2019

Image: Porsche AG

The one thing we don’t know about Porsche’s sexy and prohibitively expensive Taycan EV happens to be one of the most important aspects of any electric car: its range. While many of you (read: almost certainly all of you) have no use for the Taycan and couldn’t afford one without a Brinks holdup, the newly revealed model is nonetheless making waves.

Mostly among argumentative nerds, mind you, but bear with us.

Call it pettiness, call it schadenfreude, call it whatever you like, but it’s quite enjoyable watching an established and storied automaker attempt to beat Tesla at its own game. The Fremont, California-based automaker had it coming after years of pencil-snapping pronouncements by its larger-than-life CEO. And maybe there’s some satisfaction to be had on the part of Tesla for creating a segment other rivals want to carve a slice out of.

But about that range…

Hot on the heels of the big reveal, Bloomberg caught up with Porsche Cars North America CEO Klaus Zellmer for a very hard-hitting interview in New York City. While a concurrent unveiling in Germany floated the possibility of a 280-mile range on Europe’s WLTP cycle, which would translate into a slightly lower EPA figure, the nattily-dressed Zellmer suggested American Taycan buyers could expect a less Bolt-like driving radius.

The executive said his team drove a Taycan from the model’s Niagara Falls, Ontario launch site to NYC, stopping to charge up after 240 miles of driving. At that point, some 45 miles of range remained on the vehicle’s display, Zellmer said.

Image: Porsche AG

Judging by a couple of short clips of the Taycan en route, it seems the blue Turbo S model stopped for juice in Binghamton, NY after travelling the I-90 and I-81 corridors. Except for the last handful of miles, that’s a flat stretch of roadway with annoyingly low speed limits. There wouldn’t be many opportunities to recoup a bit of charge from braking and coasting. If a Taycan Turbo S driver can expect that kind of mileage on the highway, Porsche might not need to worry all that much about the Model S’s significantly advanced range (370 miles in Long Range spec, 345 miles in Performance) — though the Model S’s lower price, plus the range difference, means Advantage Tesla in the event anyone cross-shops these two models.

As the most powerful Taycans of the range, the Turbo and Turbo S command the loftiest prices while eating up the most power from their high-output (670 and 750 hp, respectively) dual-motor powertrains. A lesser Taycan with a single motor and longer range would push the Taycan and Model S much closer together in terms of price and driving distance, but such a model remains hazy for now. Naturally, Porsche wants to enter the segment with a splash (and earn the most revenue while doing it), hence starting off with its top-trim models.

[Image: Porsche]

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41 Comments on “As Taycan Awaits EPA Figures, Porsche’s U.S. Boss Offers a Hint...”


  • avatar
    EBFlex

    “but it’s quite enjoyable watching an established and storied automaker attempt to beat Tesla at its own game.”

    It’s not a very hard thing to do. Just make sure your bumper stays on in the rain and you have Tesla beat.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      Not hard to do? Yet nobody has managed to do it. Porsche seems to have achieved parity with a several-year-old Tesla, for 20-120% more money than a new Tesla, if and when Porsche actually starts delivering Taycans.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        “Not hard to do? Yet nobody has managed to do it.”

        Legitimate automobile manufacturers have to worry about a thing called profit.

        Legitimate automobile manufacturers could easily beat Tesla but they would rather make money.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The Taycan will probably end up very close to 240 miles EPA range – not class-leading, especially at $150k.

    “Tesla killer”, it isn’t. Tesla 1, “Real” mfrs 0.

    On the Porshe’s journey from Ontario to NYC, I wonder what Superchargers they stopped at to fill up. Oh, wait…

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      It’s a shame the real manufacturers have to worry about things like profit.

      But like I said, at least the bumper will stay on in the rain.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        I’ve seen plenty of Model 3’s on the road and the rear bumpers seem to stay on just fine. Now, let’s see how the purveyors of the IMS main bearings, diesel gate, and that legendary VW reliability fare. Wonder how many launches that 2-speed transmission is good for? Of course, if it fails, I wonder who will get blamed for it failing. And, for $100,000 less than a Taycan, I don’t care if the rear bumper falls off. Just lightens up the car.

      • 0 avatar
        hifi

        VW never seemed concerned about profitability with Bugatti. Or with Bentley until recently. This was the opportunity for Porsche to show what they could do. And I’m afraid that they have with the absurdly priced Taycan “turbo” underachiever. At least buyers will rest assured that they can take their car to the track… which no one does with the Panamera or will ever do with the Taycan.

        Maybe they’ll do better with the “multi-valve fuel injected” version.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Even if every negative thing said about Tesla quality is true, why on earth would I instead purchase what appears to be a much more complicated vehicle designed and built by Porsche? Their list of nonsense over the past couple decades is long and distinguished. Heck you could make a strong argument that they have yet to master the water cooled ICE. I’ll pass.

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    I don’t think Porsche can monetize brand equity with the eco-electric fanboi who might have the money to buy this thing; their cachet with flat-sixes and 911’s if anything marks them as a hypocritical Enemy of polar bears everywhere, an outdated dinosaur that needs to go extinct. It will have to be a markedly better car in every way than a primo Model S to get prospective tree-huggers off a Tesla.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      For this much more money, you’d hope it would be, but it doesn’t seem like it is.

      That said, I don’t think tree-huggers are the target market for this car. I think the target is Porsche fanboys who secretly want a Tesla but won’t drive anything without the Porsche crest on the hood.

  • avatar
    craiger

    As the number of EVs on the roads increases I can see congestion at the charging stations becoming a real problem. It’s easy enough to make the claim that drivers don’t mind stopping for half an hour or whatever to charge, but I wonder about the reality. If an EV driver pulls into into a station without an available plug and sees a bunch of empty cars charging while their owners sit in the cafe checking their email or whatever, that would be annoying a.f. Then imagine it’s really cold and people are sitting waiting and watching their charge go down to 0% as the people ahead of them are sitting in the cafe laughing it up over lattes without a care in the world.

    Disclaimer: I’m not an EV hater. I just think it’s important to plan for possible downsides.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      I have heard that charger congestion is becoming a problem already in California, even at some Supercharger stations.

      Elsewhere, a more likely problem is that the charging station doesn’t actually work (non-Tesla), and the convenience store clerk has to call someone to fix it maybe. Stories like this are rampant on apps like Plugshare, and so it pays to look at the “score” or rating of the charging site before planning to use it. On a scale of 1-10, some stations are a 1 (terrible), some are a 10 (perfect), and most are in between, but centering around 8 or so.

      I’ve only used remote charging a few times, and they’ve been OK. But the last thing I want is a tow because the charging station didn’t function.

    • 0 avatar
      CarnotCycle

      Drawing inevitable conclusions from the scene you paint its apparent if one swapped every vehicle for an electric one, with current technology we could not swap every filling station 1-to-1 to match. Between the much longer “fill-up” times, and the marked increases in fill-ups-per-mile, one would need more filling stations per vehicle than current US average (I wonder what that number is in the first place). Like way more.

      It would have to be made up between home charging and all the hypothetical little charges possible everywhere a car parks during a typical day. Not impossible, but interesting observation on how much different the user-cycle and resulting energy infrastructure (and associated industry to supply it) would be in a world of complete electric mobility – no matter where the electricity actually came from.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        TTA EVs is that the vast majority of charging is done at home, since the vast majority of people sleep there.

        In 4 years of EV driving so far, I’ve used paid chargers in the wild about 5 or 6 times total. But this is also governed by the range of the cars people are driving. If I had a 300-mile EV, I’d certainly be using more remote chargers, but still the majority of my charges would be in my garage.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          I’ve used a few pay stations here and there, but the vast majority of almost 89k miles have been the home and work routine. Sometimes I stop off at an MIT location in Cambridge on the way back from someplace further away, and they have a small charge per hour. As an alternative, there’s a $.75 station on Memorial Drive at a former Ford Model T Ford building. But, those charges are only needed when I’m returning from a much longer trip and I want some extra padding to make it home. Since I have to make the stop anyway, I just grab a shot of juice. Typically Boston round trip is only about 45 miles total and I can do that even in the winter without a problem.

          The next car, which should be 300+ miles range, will allow me to avoid most charging outside of home. I might pick up a free charge here and there but really won’t need them. Even the Boston area to Vermont trips, the furthest I travel without flying, could be done without outside charging. Part of the reason for wanting to avoid public charging is because I do believe charging could get a bit crowded in the future.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          I used one at a mall frequently because the Leaf couldn’t make a round trip to the airport in my locale. A local mall has a charger that is free and always worked. 15 minutes was enough to get it home. Again, this is a first gen Leaf so pretty much any modern EV wouldn’t need to make the stop, but in metro Huntsville I haven’t found any non working chargers and when you drive a Leaf you will get to sample many.

          We don’t have a Supercharger in spite of having many Teslas on our roads.

          • 0 avatar
            SCE to AUX

            @AV:

            FWIW, There is a Tesla destination charger at the Fairfield Inn in Athens. That’s the closest to Huntsville for any Tesla charger:

            https://afdc.energy.gov/stations/#/station/101972

    • 0 avatar

      You know, I can get whole year without using charging station once. I know a little secret how to accomplish that.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Charging stations tend to bring out the absolute worst characteristics of human behavior.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      This is why a Chevy Volt is arguably the perfect car: it’s a nifty EV around town, and magically turns into a hybrid that doesn’t need charging stations on road trips. But at the end of the day, it’s still a PHEV Cruze…and once buyers could get an honest-to-god Tesla for the same money, its demise was inevitable.

    • 0 avatar
      Joe Enrico

      If you’ve been on I-95 in Connecticut, that exact scenario is playing out. I saw it and was amazed as it took me 5 minutes to gas up and be on my way…

  • avatar
    amca

    Here’s what I want to know. With an only slightly smaller battery, the Taycan will have significantly less range than a Tesla Model S.

    Is this because Tesla actually knows more about how to manage a battery? Or is it because Tesla takes a more cavalier attitude toward the long term health of the battery (see: Ludicrous mode).

    Or is there some other explanation for the difference?

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @amca: One reason is that Tesla uses Halbach Array motors.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Battery degradation on Teslas is demonstrably less than other EVs, and with higher efficiency. They do not use a stock grade of battery. Part of the secret is certainly in the switchgear between the battery and the motor.

      But hey, anybody can do it, and do it better than those idiots at Tesla.

    • 0 avatar
      CarnotCycle

      Something Tesla has that VW does not is zillions of hours of analytics of real-world battery operation by real drivers. That data is gold in the business. Like down-in-the-weeds analytics; which batteries from which production lot did the best at a given temperature for a given output for a given duty-cycle etc. Tesla can figure that stuff out from their dataset, and they have undoubtedly learned a great deal that is now baked into the battery firmware and the battery itself.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    “There wouldn’t be many opportunities to recoup a bit of charge from braking and coasting.”

    Thought experiment: Lift your vehicle up 10 stories in the air. Now lower it back to the ground, and recover 60-80% of the energy expended in lifting it.

    Conclusion: You are always better off maintaining constant speed vs. using regenerative braking. You are always better off staying on level ground vs. going uphill and using regeneration on the way back down.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @ToolGuy: You are correct. In real-world EV driving, I’ve discovered that I can pull higher miles-per-kWh in a mode that gives less regen when there is no traffic vs. high regen mode. Higher regen mode works well when you are in heavy traffic and need to modulate the speed of the car. Better controlling the speed with regen than the friction brakes. One pedal is nice because it gives you more control when you are in stop and go traffic and want to avoid stopping.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        This is my experience too. I use coasting mode of my Bolt on open freeway, one-pedal mode everywhere else. In the city, one-pedal mode savings can be substantial, which tells me that in coasting mode the Bolt is relying on friction brakes more than it should, probably for the sake of smooth brake pedal operation.

  • avatar
    Ugliest1

    “Naturally, Porsche wants to enter the segment with a splash (and earn the most revenue while doing it), hence starting off with their top-trim models.”

    And yet Mr. Willems doesn’t go off on a vitriolic rant like he constantly does about Tesla’s base level Model 3 not being available yet (queue vitriolic reply in 3…2…1…). No, for Porsche, it’s “naturally”. TTAC is more like TBAC: The Bias About Cars. There’s still truth on this site, but it’s getting hard to find amongst all the pure opinions liberally expressed and masquerading as truth within articles.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Quite right.

      Tesla’s initial $100k+ products are for rich tree hugging virtue signaling snobs, designed and sold by a snake oil salesman.

      Porsche’s initial $150k product is just the natural thing to do, built for true car enthusiasts.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      It’s almost comical.

      When we replace our car next spring, it will be with a Model 3. The reasons include (in no particular order):

      Refilling at home
      Electric motor torque and instant throttle response
      One-pedal driving (as a motorcyclist, this is second-nature)
      Over-the-air software updates
      Autopilot (a godsend in stop-and-go)
      No more oil and fluid changes
      Best-in-class situational awareness

      Reasonable price given all the advanced features.

      In short, the car of the future today.

  • avatar
    hifi

    If this is what a company with infinite resources can do, then I’ll take the car that’s built by a tech startup in a tent.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Problem with the startup in the tent isn’t their product it is going concern fears. Two weeks ago everyone was chatting about a major global recession being on its way. Can Tesla survive such an event? I’m expecting that VW can.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        Tesla has survived numerous crises that have been anointed as “the big one”. Of course, a global recession could be it. But, at this point, I wouldn’t bet against them.

        Also, let’s say that Tesla, as a company, does fail. It wont’t mean the end of Tesla cars. In fact, I can’t see any scenarios where it wouldn’t be absorbed by one of the major manufacturers. There is too much value in what they have created.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          I don’t think I’d bet against them, but I also wouldn’t be tossing a $50K bet for them either. They might be absorbed/merged like you said but there is still a lot of uncertainty in the outcome of that scenario. I’ve been impressed by the Model3 but I’d want to see Telsa record a full year of profitability before putting skin in the game on one.

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            That’s why I will lease it. There is still some risk, but it won’t be anywhere near $50K.

            I really want to refute the whole “You have to be a tree-hugger to want a Tesla” thing. It’s just not true. Yes, I do like the idea that some of the energy will come from renewable sources. And, as time goes on that percentage will only increase. And, at least part of the attraction of EVs is that I won’t be sending money to despotic oil-producing nations.

            It is the car that appeals. Monster acceleration, two trunks (and one with a deep, concealed well to carry the first aid kit and the road flares and other safety equipment, fabulous navigation, entertainment and an interior that is like no other all combine in a way that really pushes my buttons. I don’t even care that there aren’t any more tax rebates.

        • 0 avatar
          CarnotCycle

          Tesla’s balance sheet has grown existential in ways unlike anything in their past. I remember opining a year ago on this forum Tesla’s acquisition of Solar City – essentially a family side biz almost immaterial to the car biz – could mutate into a very material balance sheet nightmare out of nowhere and it is doing so presently. Tesla also trapped on the cap-ex treadmill with high-volume low-margin Model 3, and that is a game Tesla is not good at but a VW etc. is.

          I also thought the vaporware Porsche was going to really give Tesla trouble, but with their product fleshed out at this price-point Tesla’s fine from that perspective. So there’s some good news I guess.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    Christ, line 2 of the article and you’re calling us all poor. That’s a great look, insulting your audience. Have fun with whatever you drive, journalist.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    You know, I am not the biggest Musk fan by any stretch and sometimes I feel Tesla would be better off without him at the helm,

    However,

    It is nice to see the rest of the world playing catch up to a US Automotive company for a change. Hate on about how the company is run and all that, but frankly if you want an EV by most objective standards there isn’t a better one to buy than a Tesla. Furthermore, as I have recently shopped them if you live in the Southeast Tesla is the only one that won’t look at you like you have a second you know what growing out of your forehead when you ask about an EV.

    I was fairly harsh on Tesla up until recently even after enjoying test drives. But between seeing manufacturer after manufacturer bring out “Tesla Killers” only to miss the mark and seeing several friends now enjoy very positive ownership experiences as well as seeing that even our old Leaf was perfectly livable 95 percent of the time I have been converted.

    Anyway, it reminds me of every GM that came out in the late 90’s to early 2000’s. “This is the car that is finally as good as the Japanese” only to hear it again at the models replacement. Good on Tesla. Perhaps Toyota will rebadge them soon.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Well said.

      I’ve balked twice at buying a Model 3, but I’ve been thrilled with my Ioniq EV.

      My pause on the Model 3 (Fall of 2018) was due to:

      1. Obvious quality issues, even on the showroom car.
      2. Corporate instability.
      3. Price.
      4. Badge snobbery. (e.g.: some friends had eyebrows raised at them for buying a used M-B SUV, so they traded it for a more-expensive Toyota minivan and nobody said a word. I’m reluctant to have to explain the “T” to people.)
      5. Center display.
      6. Egress. I had trouble getting out, doe to something odd with the steering wheel and brake pedal. I could figure it out eventually.


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