The world was up in shambles as Porsche prepared to reveal the first true Tesla competitor, or so we thought. Porsche’s new flagship EV, the Porsche Taycan, was unveiled with a starting price of almost double what we expected. From a strict electric range and price comparison, the Tesla Model S was the clear winner.
The spotlight was on Porsche when they revealed their new electric car with a base price of $150,900 and a peak range of 280 miles (WLTP). Meanwhile, Tesla has a car in the same class, the Tesla Model S, that starts at just $79,990 with a base range of 370 miles (EPA). Performance wise, the two shared similarities. After all, Porsche isn’t known for going far, they go fast.
|Porsche Taycan Turbo S||Tesla Model S Performance|
|Range||280 miles (WLTP)||345 miles|
|Horsepower||750 hp||762 hp||Torque||774 lb-ft||723 lb-ft|
|0-60||2.6 seconds||2.4 seconds|
|Top Speed||161 mph||163 mph|
|Battery||93.4 kWh||100 kWh|
|Charging Capacity||270 kW||210 kW|
While on paper the specs still lean in Tesla’s favor, Porsche expressed and stressed their goal of creating an electric car with track capabilities. The Taycan was put through rigorous testing to prove that they were the better performance car. In the eyes of many, they set the new standard for electric sports cars in general.
Some lightheaded folk saw this as a hit to Tesla, a company who has been boasting their performance advantage for nearly a decade now. Sure, an automaker surpassing Tesla with their very first new-age electric vehicle could paint a bad picture but that’s not the whole picture, not in the least. Tesla still holds the industries best batteries and energy efficiency and that comes straight from the mouth of legacy automaker execs.
Even so, Porsche made a public statement that almost felt directed towards Tesla. They set a lap record for specifically the fastest four-door, all-electric sports car on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, seven minutes and 42 seconds. Can you name another four-door all-electric sports car? The challenge was taken and so the race was on.
Model S on Nürburgring next week
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 5, 2019
Porsche and most people assumed that the Model S Performance was Tesla’s peak, but boy were they wrong. As it turns, out Tesla has been working behind the scenes on something bigger and better, a Plaid edition. The name taken from a Spaceballs reference meant to showcase its speed being ludicrous at its crest.
From the little information we have been given, the Plaid option replaces the current chassis and powertrain with one suited for space travel and adds a third motor. The option will become available on the Model S in October/November of next year with the option being offered in the X and Roadster later on. It hasn’t been mentioned by Musk or Tesla but the car being used to showcase their new performance numbers also has some minor cosmetic changes. With a wider grill and larger wheels, this Model S is race ready.
Before the big day on the Nürburgring, Tesla took this modified electric performance car to the world famous Laguna Seca racetrack in Monterey County, California. There, it broke the lap record for fastest 4-door car. That’s fastest 4-door car including both electric and non electrified cars, unlike Porsche’s oddly specific trophy lap.
After claiming that record, Tesla turned its attention to the Ring and reportedly set an unofficial time of 7:23 according to a media member from German outlet Auto Motor und Sport. The time was found on a handheld stop watch, but given that the this time would beat Porsche’s record by almost 20 seconds, its safe to assume even if the media member wasn’t precise to the millisecond, that Tesla beat the time. Of course we will wait for an official time with hopefully some on board video. If the record stands this Tesla will beat out the Porsche Panamera Turbo for quickest around the track which had a time 7:38.
While Porsche execs sit anxious for an official time, Tesla is preparing to shake the world once again. Tesla owes much thanks to Porsche, without them, none of this would be possible.
The Tesla Model S has already been seen as too pricey for many since its production start. Tesla has the technological capability to build Model S with hypercar specs but who would buy it? In order to maintain an affordable and reasonable price, they have been holding back many performance features. That was clearly displayed with the announcement of the Next Gen Roadster. With a quarter million dollar price tag, Tesla is able to fit a 200 kWh battery and a motor capable of producing a top speed of 250 mph and a 0-60 of 1.9 seconds.
If Tesla unveiled a new performance Model S last year with a starting price of $185,000, they would have most definitely been gawked at. Now, thanks to the Porsche Taycan Turbo S coming in at almost six figures above the Model S, Tesla has room to play and showcase their potential. It is unknown what the new performance numbers will be but it won’t take much more to beat the Porsche Taycan. While Porsche’s lap time is respectively impressive, the Model S Performance was already neck and neck with the Porsche Taycan. This new Plaid prototype could very well set a new standard. We will know more in the coming days as Tesla attempts to blow through another track record at Nürburgring.
Porsche has unknowingly allowed Tesla to release a vehicle at a never before seen height. With years in the industry, Tesla’s production cost and efficiency in both range and performance is light-years ahead of the competition. In theory, Tesla can produce a vehicle twice as good at right around the same price of any other currently available electric car without sacrificing margins. While the world thought Porsche was building a Tesla competitor, Tesla was building a Taycan killer in the shadows.