We took the all-new 2020 Porsche Taycan EV for a drive around Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen. Here’s our impressions.
Copenhagen, Denmark – At first sight, Porsche did not consider the principle of electric motorization as a natural extension of its mechanical culture. Dedicated for more than half a century to the unique cause of the internal combustion engine, the Stuttgart firm has nevertheless converted. First by executing an alliance between two engines (gasoline and electric), to now lift an additional taboo and entrusting the care to a charging station and not to a pump, to refuel one of its products.
Tesla‘s commercial success, current and future anti-pollution standards, but also the obligation to display a real commitment to the environment are giving birth to a powerful, expensive sedan (starting at $ 173,900) and likely to alter the widespread perception – mainly among driving enthusiasts – that the quick acceleration of an electric vehicle does not guarantee its sportiness.
By subscribing to the idea of “intelligent performance”, a free translation of the brand’s leitmotif for the last ten years, Porsche is not only trying to make the consumption-performance ratio of its gasoline products a selling point, but also to position itself as one of the leaders in sustainable mobility.
Indeed, beyond the integration of the Taycan into the range, Porsche is also working to reduce to zero the carbon emissions from its assembly plants, including that of Zuffenhausen which will give birth to some 20,000 units of the Taycan over the next year. A homeopathic and very conservative quantity insofar as Porsche management recognizes the possibility of producing more. This is probably a glimmer of hope among potential customers whose name is on the waiting list of this model already out of stock at dealerships.
Without real surprise and in keeping with a well-established tradition, the Taycan retains the epitome of the Mission-E Concept study presented in Frankfurt a few days before the rigged diesels scandal explodes. At that time, Martin Winterkorn, then chairman of the group, declared – to the astonishment of several of the project’s collaborators – that “its fully electric engine will allow it a range of over 500 kilometers in spritited driving.”
A bet that designers of the Taycan now prefer not to remember. And for good reason, this goal has not been achieved. The Stuttgart car announces, at best, a range of 450 km for the “Turbo”, 35 km more than the “Turbo S”, more powerful and more expensive. And even faster with an acceleration time of 2.8 seconds of incredible violence that can cause a gag in your passengers. And although it fades as speed increases, this fury remains well present, and until the car reaches, in a cathedral silence, 269 km/h (speed measured in all legality on the Autobahn at the wheel of a pre-production model).
At this completely surreal rate (for us North American drivers), the battery resources are rapidly dwindling (more than 33 kWh/100 km on average) and it is already time to think about charging, which can be completed to 80% in just 22 minutes if you have access to a high-speed terminal (this Porsche accepts a charge of 270 kW).
Porsche’s Canadian management will be making an announcement very soon about these stations that will make up Electrify Canada’s up-and-coming network and modalities (free or not?) for the future Taycan, whose first copies will be crisscrossing Canada’s roads starting next spring.
In the meantime, let us hope that the German brand has certainly corrected the few moments of “absence” from the navigation system observed (and experienced) driving the models tested. On the other hand, the designers of the Taycan will not be able to stop the weak visibility towards the back or facilitate the egress of the occupants in the back, deeply wedged in their seat (consequence of the roof bow) and which will have to contend with an invasive central pillar.
Apart from visibility and perfectible ergonomics, the person behind the wheel will not have to worry about all these complaints as the driving experience is striking. In spite of its particularly high weight (equivalent to that of a Rolls-Royce Cullinan), this Porsche, aided, of course, by very sophisticated running gear, not only filters with ease the irregularities of the roadway, but vigorously regulates body movements.
Unbeatable, stable and surprisingly agile thanks to the presence of its rear-wheel steering device, the Taycan is easily trained to play a sports car. Its remarkably calibrated steering assistance and powerful and easy-to-modulate braking system have nothing to envy to the other products in the range which, for the Taycan designers, remain the only reference values.