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Published on December 12th, 2019 | by Dr. Maximilian Holland


Tesla Model S Has Almost Twice The EPA Range Of Porsche Taycan — 373 Miles vs 201 Miles

December 12th, 2019 by  

The Porsche Taycan Turbo has received its official EPA range rating, achieving a very disappointing 201 miles. This is a significantly lower range than EVs costing a quarter of the price, and just over half the range of the base Tesla Model S. It’s yet more proof that engineering prowess in the era of gas vehicles is no guarantee of success in the age of EVs.

Let’s compare the Taycan’s EPA range with the figures achieved by popular EVs in the US market:

Click to Enlarge

Click on the chart to enlarge. We can see that the Taycan Turbo, priced from $150,900, has the lowest driving range of any new EV released in the last couple of years. It’s even substantially lower than many already-on-the-road EVs priced under $40,000 (Model 3 SR+, LEAF, Kona, and Bolt).

Let’s look at the Taycan’s performance comparison in terms of the cost (in US$ MSRP) per mile of EPA range:

Click to Enlarge

The Taycan Turbo is nowhere near as competitive as any other EV on cost per mile, being over double that of even the 2nd worst performer (the 2020 Audi e-tron). It’s also not far off triple the price per mile range of the (higher performing) Tesla Model S Performance, and over 4× that of the Tesla Model 3 Performance.

Porsche will argue that their buyers are not too concerned about pricing, instead value the sporty driving characteristics of the Taycan. Let’s hope they are right.

Porsche will also point to the “fast charging speeds” of the Taycan as a compensation for the relatively poor range. However, the only charging performance that matters in practice is miles gained over a given period of time, and with such modest overall range, the Taycan is somewhat hampered here.

Since the Taycan is not yet in any customers’ hands, we don’t have any real-world data on charging performance, but at the launch event, Porsche said that 5% to 80% charge can be recovered in 22½ minutes (in optimum conditions, on the optimum DC chargers). Calibrating to the new EPA data, that translates into ~151 miles added in 22½ minutes.

That’s decent, but not much more compelling than the considerably more affordable and slightly longer range Audi e-tron, which can add 138 miles in 25 minutes. It’s also substantially less compelling than the Tesla Model 3 Performance, which — even when starting from 10% rather than 5% — can regain ~210 miles (65% of EPA range) in just 20 minutes.

We don’t yet have good real-world charging data for the 2020 Tesla Model S Performance on optimal V3 Superchargers, but it will also very likely equal or exceed the Taycan’s miles-per-time charging performance.

Bear in mind that the Model S Performance also has nearly twice the range of the Taycan. In practical terms, you can drive for over 4 hours at highway speeds (70 ~ 75 mph) before any charging break is required. The Taycan can only manage around 2 hours and 25 minutes initial driving at these speeds before needing a break. Overall, that means that the Model S (and indeed any 2020 Tesla) is a significantly more capable long-distance vehicle than the Taycan Turbo.

In short, due to the poor efficiency of the powertrain, the Taycan’s charging performance is only “decent,” and not in fact outstanding. It is certainly not so compelling as to make up for the poor range that the Taycan gets per charge.

The Taycan does have undoubted strengths in the “driver’s car” feel that Porsche prides itself on, and that’s welcome. But, with just 201 miles of EPA range from a 93.4 kWh battery, the overall efficiency of the powertrain is undoubtedly disappointing and this will need to improve dramatically to become a compelling all-round vehicle. After all, that’s what Porsche’s EVs must ultimately become in the long run.

EV powertrains are a completely different beast to combustion powertrains, and so far we are not seeing any evidence that legacy automakers that have great engineering expertise in the older technology are necessarily able to transfer that prowess to the new technology. None are even close to the newcomer Tesla on powertrain efficiency.

Recent reports put the Taycan’s planned volume at around 20,000 units globally in 2020, which will be around 8% of Porsche’s overall annual sales volume (2018 global sales of 256,000). That’s still a higher EV share of their output than all or almost all other legacy automakers, for which Porsche deserves merit.

Have you ordered a Taycan, or are you thinking of ordering one? How do you feel about the 201 mile EPA range? Let us know in the comments.

Article images courtesy of respective brands, author’s charts.

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About the Author

Max is an anthropologist, social theorist and international political economist, trying to ask questions and encourage critical thinking about social and environmental justice, sustainability and the human condition. He has lived and worked in Europe and Asia, and is currently based in Barcelona. Find Max's book on social theory, follow Max on twitter @Dr_Maximilian and at MaximilianHolland.com, or contact him via LinkedIn.

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