To start off, I would just like to point out that I am not the biggest fan of electric cars. I don’t think they’re very fun to drive compared to gas powered cars and I think they take away the passion from driving. That said, I am a huge fan of Porsche, and given that, I certainly want them to succeed in all that they do. This would include the Porsche Taycan. For what it is, I think the Porsche Taycan is a phenomenal car, bringing top quality tech, craftsmanship, and performance to the electric car world. So let’s just say that if I was to buy an electric car, I’d prefer it to be a Porsche.
Now, recently, the EPA came out with official range estimates for the Porsche Taycan Turbo and Turbo S and they have not been kind to put it lightly. According to their testing, the Porsche Taycan Turbo has an estimated range of 201 miles averaging 69 MPGe (an electric car’s equivalent of miles per gallon) while the faster Turbo S has an even smaller 192 mile range and 68 MPGe. This makes the Taycan Turbo S the least efficient electric car on sale, period. As much as I would love to have a justification for this or a reason to defend Porsche, I don’t. The numbers just aren’t there.
If you were to dig further, it would only get worse for Porsche. Not only does the Tesla Model S Long Range (the Taycan’s biggest competitor) have nearly DOUBLE the range of the Taycan Turbo S (373 miles vs 192 miles) but it also has more range “per pound,” let me explain. The Porsche Taycan Turbo weighs about 5,132 lbs and gets about 201 miles of range whereas a Tesla Model S Long Range weighs just 4,883 lbs and has a range of 373 miles. If you were to do the math, the Porsche would need to have an additional 1,189 lbs of battery to have the same range as the Model S Long Range. All of this basically means, that improving on the Taycan’s range is going to be really hard because of the fact that it’s so heavy and inefficient to begin with.
Along with its weight, the Taycan is also inefficient because of its battery capacity. More specifically, the way it’s used. And this is important because it really highlights a key difference in the design philosophies of Porsche and Tesla. For those that don’t know, the Tesla Model S uses a 100 kWh battery with no limit on charging capacity. Customers can charge their Model S to their hearts’ content. Now this presents a problem because if a battery is constantly charged to 100%, it will degrade much faster hence why Tesla only recommends charging above 90% for road trips. The Taycan on the other hand uses a 93.4 kWh battery but only allows you to use 83.7 kWh, essentially restricting 12% of the battery (note that this is also a big reason for its abysmal range). This makes it so that not only does your battery last longer, but it takes much longer for battery degradation to impact your range. Basically, more than 12% of your battery would have to be gone in order for you to notice a range penalty in the Taycan whereas you would instantly notice it in the Tesla. The difference in philosophy is that Porsche is more focused on consistency and driving feel rather than outright range and numbers.
Porsche’s emphasis on consistency is shown even more with its regeneration system for the battery. In a Taycan, the brake pedal controls the regenerative braking whereas in a Tesla, the throttle controls it. By allowing for the brake pedal to control regeneration, you gain a more consistent, braking feel at the cost of efficiency. Sure the Tesla’s system can recover more energy, but that means that the car will brake differently at different temperatures and battery levels.
In the end, I think this mistake goes to show that Porsche is just too focused on the driving experience when it comes to the Taycan. They sacrificed so much efficiency for the sake of the driving experience for people who probably wouldn’t notice the difference. let’s be honest, if you wanted an engaging driving experience, you would get a 911. So in the end, the Taycan may be more fun to drive, but in terms of raw numbers, I’m sad to say that Tesla may have made the better car.
A special thanks to Engineering Explained for providing the inspiration for this article. Click on this paragraph to watch his full video on this topic. He can explain it much more in depth than I can.
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