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Testing Taycan: A real Porsche that makes you smile

In the second part of her October column Laura Kukuk talks about her driving impressions of the Taycan Road Trip. But beware: The following article might contain subjective impressions, traces of humor and only some numbers mixed with pictures. You want hard facts, no emotions and just no adventure? Not to mention opinions and impressions? Then don't read this article!

Text: Laura Kukuk Photo: Laura Kukuk 21.10.2019 9 min

Didn’t I mention before that a road trip can open a whole new world of incredible adventures and interesting challenges, especially when conducted in an EV? We have finally been able to hit the road with the Taycan and we want to share all our excitement with you!

First things first, it handles incredibly well, no matter the weight of the batteries. Back in July when we had the opportunity for a passenger ride we have already been impressed by the agility but now having finally been able to sit behind the steering wheel ourselves and get the whole feeling we are even more impressed. It certainly scoots like a Porsche. Thanks to massive battery packs, EVs are relatively heavy by nature, but that hasn't stopped Weissach from making the Taycan handle and ride like nothing else in the EV segment. And thanks to clever packaging, the Taycan's engineers have used the battery pack's weight as an advantage: The EV has a lower center of gravity than the 911.

Yes, I am a combustion girl, a true classic car enthusiast, my heart is beating faster when listening to a V8 rev and petrol is running through my veins and yet I am all in with modern technologies and future drivetrain solutions. Are they emotional? Very much so, just in a different way, a different mindset is required and a different approach. »Can you enjoy driving without an engine sound, without the smell of petrol and oil«, that’s probably the question I get asked most frequently. Yess, is my answer… It is different but we have to change our attitude and once we have an open mind for new things we will be able to enjoy them too.

Why is that so? Well we do not have a choice, we will have to change our habits, alternative solutions will have to lead our way out of this crisis, the world-wide infrastructure will not be able to keep up with any of our mobility habits and nature is soon giving us a »pay back« for our luxurious and selfish way of living for the past century. I could go on and on but I believe we do not need to talk about the fact that alternative energy sources are essential to maintain a future in mobility and that society as well as the industry will have to face changes, make compromises and keep an open mind for the transition phase we are currently in - we are (hopefully) all aware by now!

So here we are, in the year 2019 and Porsche has moved one step closer to the future - the Taycan, their first all electric series vehicles was presented to the world a few weeks back and has since been hitting the road. During the past 18 days the Taycan has been tested on the road, in it’s natural habitat, by over 400 journalists from around the world, covering over 6.440 km and 9 countries. Each and every single one has had their own experiences, different environments, different infrastructure, different specced cars, different co-drivers and so on. We are all on one mission: We want to bring the experience Taycan a little bit closer to you, share this new world of Porsche and demonstrate the daily use of not only driving an EV but driving the Taycan. Of course, as with every car, there will be things left to criticise, the individual is not approving of or doesn’t fit ones taste, but the most important things are the facts we love, what worked best and the overall experience of this unique driving experience. And let me tell you, I have a lot to share with you so let’s better get started.

We have covered around 900km over the past two days, driven across the countryside, through small towns and big cities, coverings legs on the Autobahn with no speed-limit and slowing down to 30 in school zones and I believe I can say I have tested the heart out of the Taycan. There’s a sense of mass, that you’re driving something substantial and sudden changes of direction could wrong-foot it, but because the centre of gravity is lower than a 911, and because the suspension is mostly Panamera with the full suite of electronics thrown at it, it stays eerily flat in the corners, tucking in smartly thanks to four-wheel steer and generally feeling half a tonne lighter than it should. It makes you smile, I promise, once your mindset is adjusted and you have come to the realisation that this will be a different kind of ride. By different I do not mean less appealing or less emotional, just different. Driving an EV persé does feel different, the immediate power output and general feel of the vehicle dynamics are drastically different but driving the Porsche Taycan is a new level once again. A level full of emotions, you will enjoy driving it, pushing it from corner to corner and all of this while being able to enjoy it with three friends all giggling along.

Of course, there can be challenges involved when the range starts to drop and the Porsche will communicate with you and indicate to immediately charge up the batteries. As of today’s infrastructure, which isn’t comparable to anything like the petrol station network we are used to, yet - this can lead up to challenges. This leads me to the one thing I have been most excited and curious about. This is not the petrol hearted girl speaking rather my engineering head, and I am sure you would agree on, is the range capacity and charging process. Previously I made the bold statement that this, the Porsche Charging Planner combined with the infrastructure, will be the strongest criteria for Porsche to place themselves on a whole new level, to differentiate from its competitors. I know, all Purists and Porsche enthusiasts will immediately disagree and talk about the power output, the incredible launch control and their record time around the Nordschleife, I know. I will get to that too, promised, but we are talking about an all electric vehicle here, a new era for Porsche so let’s please concentrate on this for a minute ;)

I strongly believe that manufacturers can help smoothening this transition phase, help their customers and society in general to cope with the many changes they are facing and use technology for solutions to answers we yet have to ask. What is the first thing you ask yourself when planning a trip with an electric vehicle? What is it you do when you sit behind the steering wheel and have you thought about the things you might have to prepare in advance?

Porsche has not only focused on developing an outstanding product itself but on the one single thing which is doomed to be the most important - the charging process. The whole process which includes the infrastructure, the battery management, the journey planning, the physical charging process and so on, does not seem to be in manufacturers focus, it seems to be a casual second constraint, a collateral condition. Other manufacturers have delivered functioning, great and impressive technical solutions in forms of EV’s but they seem to have forgotten about the fact that still over 97 % of the newly bought cars us a combustion engine. The one where the mentioned criteria involved in a »charging« or »fueling« process above are a given, they are set as a standard and almost come natural to us, are part of the experience »auto« and are integrated into the world of mobility.

This new era, the era of alternative drivetrains and mobility solutions will also be an era of transition. If you want you could call it a working progress, we need to change everything we know and have, we need to come up with new technologies, new solutions and we have to change our mindset, our habits and our expectations. None of this will be done by a click, we simply can’t turn a switch and the world will be electrified (I do not share the opinion that EV’s will be the solution to our answer, but it is a step into the right direction and has helped to change the generic mindset of society). This progress will involve a phase during which we will have to redefine our comfort and convenience level, we will have to adjust to the situation and change our way of mobility.

You want more favouring arguments for the Taycan? The simple fact that it is a Porsche should be taken into account. Porsche is a manufacturer which has been building vehicles since the 50’s and has ever since built up an astonishing rename for outstanding quality. They have started with a simple 4-cylinder engine in the Porsche 356, a vehicle people refer to as the stylish version of a »beetle« and yet it became an icon, the 6-cylinder Boxster engine followed and made its debut in Porsche’s most iconic silhouette - the 911, and so the history continues. Whether it is the outstanding skill in developing new standards, setting new limits or thinking outside-the-box, Porsche always brings the same dedication to the highest quality of engineering and production.

There has also been a new record set for an EV vehicle on the Nordschleife. Porsche managed to smash the record in 7 minutes 42 seconds with the Taycan. You want to feel the speed too? Turn on the launch control and have a go yourself, you will be breathless, promise, and you will giggle like a child the first time you feel the power output. And this is exactly what should be brought into the discussion. If you ask yourself why a Taycan, if you are a huge Tesla fan or you just do not understand the price tag, consider it all again. The biggest criticism Porsche is facing seems to evolved around their competitor Tesla and theresulting differences in price. The Model S Performance, the competitor model, is over 80.000 Euro cheaper to the Turbo S (top of the range, the Taycan 4S is available from around 100.000 €) and doesn’t seem to the significantly slower and yet I am here to tell you there is a huge difference people do not seem to take into account - it puts a smile on your face, keeps the worries of charging away and leaves your mind all calm as you know it German engineering all put into highest quality standards.

Hats off to Porsche for proving that EV’s will not have to be a compromise most of you assumethey are. Yes, some character has been lost along the journey, but it’s startling in new andinteresting ways. Those are difficult to explain unless you have had the experience of a fullelectric drive yourself before, it is just different but not worse.I strongly believe in future technologies and that while I equally love to see a place for the beloved classics within this world. My heart is beating for both and the Taycan definitely lets my heart beat faster.