The New Performance

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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.

Most people have no clue about the fun that is in store for them when high-draw appliances on wheels are plugged into home “grids” not designed for them.

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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  1. The electronics in cars from 2002 and up arfe the most fragile, faulty parts of all of those automobiles. They are also the most expense to diagnose and repair, or replace and “program”, now, as many of the components are “unprogrammed” when sold. Making automobiles increasingly, and now solely dependent on programming and digital analysis is inviting more frequent failures, and much more expensive repairs. But, people are sold on this “new age” transport, and are apparently determined to have what they think they want, regardless of reality. Let them. It’s like trying to convince the SJWs that destruction of a ration society is counterproductive to everyone’s current standard of living. Let their stupidity play out, and when the “utopia” leaves them wondering where all the promised wealth and prosperity went, I will point to the toilet and tell them, “right where you put it”.

  2. While I respect Porsche’s attempt to clone a Model S, there’s a lot of dumb thinking in the Taycan. Like no volume knob. Sure, you have the steering wheel controls. But if the passenger wants to adjust the music, they have to tap-tap-tap-tap-tap a capacitance switch.

    The other really dumb decision, to my mind, is putting the charge port behind a motorized door. If your main battery is dead and you need to, you know, charge your car – guess what’s not opening?

    And yes, the whole “Turbo” naming thing is supremely stupid. It’s going to end up on one of those “Top 10 Dumb Car Things That Happened in 2019” lists.

    Eric – get busy on that.

  3. Wonder if “Furd” (Ford + turd) will call the Mach-E’s electric motor(s) a “Coyote V8”? 😂

    BTW, they should also change that phrase on their website from “100% SOUL-STIRRING” to “100% SOUL-STRIPPING”.

  4. Wow, too bad the Taycan’s range plummets at 9.81 m/s2 when using the ‘turbo’. That almost sounds like a ‘conspiracy theory’. -Subaru Pyrate

  5. So the battery pack is 800V but the charger is 400V and of course chargers in the wild may be lower than that. So in order to function this car must have a transformer on board that converts the voltage at the plug to 800V or probably a little bit higher to charge the battery. The voltage of the charger must exceed the voltage of the battery to charge.

    Now other than a transformer there’s another way to game this. Maybe I should not speak of it because some on may use it, then again maybe its too obvious and already in use. Still this would require some fancy switching to achieve. Thus expense and weight.

    In any case something has to be done such that the battery voltage is less than than the charging voltage. Once the two are equal the battery is as full as the charger can make it.

    • You can charge an 800V battery as two 400V banks without a transformer. If I had such a requirement, that’s how I’d build the thing to minimize cost, complexity and energy loss. These battery packs are made from 3.7v cells anyway, so they’re already massively parallel and serial, and you can split them up however you want for charging.

  6. I really wish someone would build a performance hybrid, if we’re to go down this path. Put in a smaller battery pack still capable of similar performance, and a small engine, perhaps 100HP, to charge the thing. It can keep spinning at 100HP 100% of the time dumping power into the battery at that rate. Cars never use full power constantly, so something like this could have the benefits of the instant power of an electric, and the energy density of gasoline. Fisker tried, but that was much more of a luxury beast. Either way, these things are still a lot heavier than a real sports car, so it may be pointless.

  7. But ‘turbo’ sounds cool, and sounds fast! ‘Least that’s what the average ghetto-dweller thinks- and I’m sure that those are who these cars are aimed at- I mean, they can save up a few weeks worth of food stamps, and buy one, right?

    And don’t forget the “status” thing- ya know, where it’s fashionable just to have your car parked and to be seen in it’s vicinity? They’ll be lots of time for that with Tayc[one in the]can Turd-bo’s, while their owner stands around waiting for it to recharge.

    Apparently, the only thing that will distinguish one new electric car from another…is how much one pays for it.

      • Yeah. And sunglasses, aftershave, razors, bicycles, washing machines, dishwashers, soap……. everything was totally awesome and gnarly radical if it had ‘turbo’ on it.

        Language had been abused by the marketing of the 50’s, but the 80’s is when words really lost firm connection to having a defined meaning among the general public.

        Gag me with a spoon.

  8. Maybe Turbo refers to the engine driving the dynamo that generates the power to charge the battery in the car. You know, the one that moves the tailpipe several miles away from the car. Out of sight, out of mind. Or maybe just the engine they recorded for the background noise. I don’t foresee a big market for this. There are some with teeny weenies who get a Porsche for the Lion, but I suspect most of them are drivers.

  9. “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.”

    Congratulations to the Stuttgart crew for introducing the 21st Century equivalent of the wire wheel hubcap.

    I’d say that Porsche has prostituted itself….except most whores have more class.

    • When the globalists are defeated once and for all and those who sold their souls have to pay the price

      Hopefully this decade is the counter to the ’10s Libtardation, where the middle and the right fight back against PC culture, the Alphabet Mafia, Watermelons (Greenies on the outside, Commies inside), etc..

      There are countless people who haven’t had a chance to get their dream cars, and will be damned if some bow tie wearing pencil pusher whose in the deep state decides that ICE is dangerous and all cars should be as soulless as they’re Douche Buggies (Hybrids).

      Just my two cents

  10. “sustainable leather-free interior.” WTF? I guess vinyl made from refined crude oil is now sustainable. Who knew? Now to reconcile that with not using gasoline…..

  11. Uncle can suck a dick, he ain’t gonna get me and countless other gear heads to give up our cars due to UN 2030/Agenda 21

    I used to think about moving to Texas, now I’m thinking somewhere non-descript in flyover country and getting old cars that can’t be messed with, then getting rid of the “Smart” phone and other things he could track me with as I live the best I can.

    Shame, I remember when this was the Land of the Free, not the USSA


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