Why The Porsche Taycan’s Mediocre Range Shouldn’t Matter

by Giovanni

If you’ve been on the internet in the last month you’ve certainly seen some negative press in regards to the new Porsche electric car. Before its official unveiling, the Porsche Taycan was held in high regards. To many, it was seen as the first true Tesla competitor. It was expected to fall within a similar price, range, and even production volume to the high king, the Tesla Model S.

So when the Porsche Taycan was officially launched, many were shocked to see it miss on just about all Tesla Model S comparable specs. It had a lower 0-60 speed, a lower top speed, a much lower range, and a starting price nearly twice as high. It would be unsound to assume Porsche didn’t expect the negative comparisons. It was quickly labeled the “worst electric car” available today.

  Taycan 4S Taycan Turbo Taycan Turbo S
MSRP $103,800  $150,900  $185,000
0-60  3.8 s  3.0 s  2.6 s
Top Speed  155 mph  161 mph  161 mph
Range (EPA) TBD 201 Miles 192 Miles

Those numbers sure made it seem like a bad buy when compared to others, but there’s more to cars than those three variables. Porsche opted not the build a daily driver, rather a performance car. Prior to unveiling, they showcased it dominating the tracks. Like their other vehicles, the company assured us the Taycan still had “soul“. It quickly set the new standard for electric sports cars. It was so exceptional that Elon Musk and Tesla had to make a whole new car to compete.

A Porsche crest is nothing to play down. It stands for nearly a century of racing heritage alongside a luxury status suited for royalty. Porsche doesn’t just make pretty and fast cars, they make the prettiest and fastest cars. Many will prefer a Tesla for its recognition, higher technology, better range, etc, and that’s fine. But the Porsche customer has had a Porsche laid on a digital wall, physical poster, or even plastered in their dreams for decades now. It might not be your cup of tea, but Porsche sales will do perfectly fine without a vehicle suited to travel the world. Although, we can’t ignore it’s lackluster range.

The Porsche Taycan’s Low Range

On paper, the Porsche Taycan’s range is by far the worst in class. For a fraction of the price, the Nissan Leaf can go further (226 miles). The current industry leader, the Tesla Model S, can go a tremendous 373 miles without charging. However, this is just on paper. The Tesla Model S vs Porsche Taycan range argument gets a little more complicated when you dive in depth. As it turns out, EPA numbers aren’t truly a fair scale.

Tesla allows access to 100% of their battery. Typically, EV batteries should be charged to 80% at most, and Tesla recommends this as well. The Model S is actually preset to cap the charge at 80% but allows users to adjust the rate to 100% for road trips or emergencies. At 80%, that 373 mile max range on a Tesla Model S quickly comes down to ~298 miles.

Charging a lithium ion battery to 100% promotes faster degradation. Even when charging to just 80% as recommended, you’ll see some range loss throughout the years. This means that the more miles you drive, the lower your maximum range will be. Even when maintained properly, you should expect to see a 10% loss in the lifetime of your vehicle. So a 373 mile range Tesla Model S will actually only have ~335 miles of range after 160,000 miles or ~268 miles if charging to the recommended 80%.

So with time, the mere 201 miles of range that the Porsche Taycan offers doesn’t look too far off. But should’t the Taycan’s battery play by the same set of rules? Yes and no. See, Porsche offers a 93.4 kWh battery but unlike Tesla, they don’t give consumers access to the full capacity. Remember, you shouldn’t be charging over 80% in a Tesla anyway. Of the 93.4 kWh available, Porsche only allows you access to 83.7 kWh. This is something we are starting to see more and more as new EVs enter the market. Over time, consumers won’t experience any range loss as it will be taken from the reserve. This allows owners to charge to 100% and not have to be well educated on battery technology to drive electric. So Porsche’s 201 miles of range is just that, 201 miles of range for the life of the vehicle, theoretically.

The EPA’s testing regimen falls into question as well. They lab test vehicles with a set of rules which seems to unfairly compare the two electric cars. For the most part, the cars are tested at the base level with the stock settings. In order to play the system, manufacturers can offer a more efficient rim option and more range focused settings as default. Porsche opted to sell a performance vehicle, and their stock features and settings show that. Just upgrading the Tesla Model S rim size to the next available option (21″) hands you a net loss of ~6% range.

The European standard WLTP test cycle rates the Porsche Taycan range at 279 miles. Independent real-world testing done by AMCI back that number as well. Actual Porsche Taycan owners are already seeing real-world results that exceed that of the EPA.

It Doesn’t Even Matter

If Porsche wanted to compete in the range department they could have very well done so. Instead, they built a car with track performance in mind. Sure, it can’t hit the top speed or 0-60 of the Performance Tesla Model S, but it can maintain it. As your battery runs out in a Tesla, your performance numbers get lower and lower. If a Performance Model S could outrun a Taycan on a track today, Tesla wouldn’t have added a third motor to beat its Nurburgring time.

The Porsche Taycan is a car for drivers. Track drivers, not road trippers. When was the last time you saw a Porsche taken on a road trip? Fun fact: The average Porsche drives much less miles per year making range even less important. Efficiency sucks? Name a Lamborghini owner who factored in MPG into their purchase decision. Porsche knows their clientele very well, they want to go fast.

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1 comment

Gyro Ball January 8, 2020 - 10:37 am

“If a Performance Model S could outrun a Taycan on a track today, Tesla wouldn’t have added a third motor ….”
If a Taycan could outperform a Model S, Porsche wouldn’t have added a 2nd gear.
(Maybe so the dealer can change the transmission oil?)

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