If electric cars are so great, why does Porsche call its first electric car a “turbo”?
Turbos are mechanical things that compress air using exhaust gas pressure and stuff it into an engine’s cylinders in order to make more power.
The 2020 Taycan “turbo” has none of these things – except for power – which it makes via volts rather than boost. There are no cylinders to stuff. No exhaust gasses to spool up the turbo . . . which isn’t there.
Also not present: The sounds associated with internal combustion – and turbocharging.
So why keep the name? Because it sounds better. Makes the absence of those things go down easier.
But it’s still depressing.
A Porsche without the “unmistakable sound” of a six cylinder Porsche turbo is kind of like looking at a picture of ice cream, or remembering the girlfriend you used to have. Porsche attempts to make the ersatz seem genuine by confecting sounds – “skillfully composed and tailored” – to make-believe you’re driving something with a turbo, or at least an engine.
It’s like listening to a recording of someone who has died.
The good news is you can turn it off.
Porsche also tries to console for what’s missing by pointing to the stopwatch, taking a play from Elon’s notebook. The Taycan gets to 60 in 2.8 seconds. Which is quick. But it’s not quicker than a 911 . . . with an engine and a turbo and those sounds.
The Taycan is also slow – for a Porsche, especially one costing $185,000 to start. Top speed is just 160 MPH – which is about 40 MPH slower than a base 911. A $70k Cayman can hit 180. And the 911 (with turbo) is capable of 205 MPH.
It’s not because the Taycan hasn’t got power – well, volts. The problem is that if you use its power, the range plummets almost as quickly as WTC 7 went from 48 floors to a pile of dust and rubble. This is the dirty little secret of electric car performance.
Use it – and you lose it.
Quickly. And then you don’t accelerate at all.
Porsche touts a “five minute recharge” ability – but with an asterisk and several lines of fine print. The 800 volt battery pack (twice the usual 400 volts) can indeed be partially recharged in five minutes . . . for “up to” about 60 miles of range . . . if you have access to the almost-nonexistent extremely high-volt chargers. These are not the “fast” chargers you’ve read about and which have been rabbit-pelletted around cities – but the Porsche-specific rigs able to feed an 800 volt battery pack.
Which are only available at Porsche dealers.
Good news, they have nice waiting rooms and fast WiFi at Porsche delerships.
On a 400 volt charger, the car takes “circa nine hours” to “fully and gently recharge.”
You most definitely cannot recharge the Taycan at home in five minutes – or even 30 – unless your home is wired to run a dozen arc welders simultaneously.
Porsche does thoughtfully include a Home Energy Manager (HEM) with blackout protection – to avoid “overloading the domestic network” (i.e., your house) by reducing the charging load imposed by the vehicle on the house’s wiring.
Best case, the Taycan can go about 200 miles on a full charge.
Which is about half the range of a 911 with a turbo – on a full tank. Which range can be fully recovered in the same 5 minutes it takes the Taycan to recover “up to” 60 miles of range.
Which is why the Taycan comes standard with programs to limit its performance – not only acceleration and top speed-wise – but also comfort-wise.
In Range mode – the only way to get the 200 miles of advertised range – “air conditioning, hydraulic pumps, air suspension and headlights also operate in their most efficient configurations.”
Meaning, not at full power.
Your almost $200k car has tepid AC – by design. And its speed is restricted to 55-86 MPH, right there with an ’86 Aries K-Car.
In Sport mode, “The climate control regulates without restriction, the adaptive cruise control is more dynamic (including more powerful acceleration).” But now you have to watch the range.
Unless you have the time to recharge.
No burnouts, either – because the thing is all-wheel-drive. No shifting, either. But you do get a “sustainable leather-free interior.”
Welcome to the “Age of Electromobiity.”
. . .
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