Chris Warwick, Head of Training - F&I, Compliance and Operations
Having been in the automotive industry for a number of years now, I’ve had the privilege of driving many prestige and high-performance cars, including many Porsche models.
However, the night before driving the Porsche Taycan for the very first time felt different, it was like I was a 7-year-old on Christmas Eve. Despite spending the last three months dispelling all the myths around buying and owning an EV to Jardine Motors colleagues through our virtual Bright Sparks Vehicle Immersion events, I was asking questions such as: “Will I have to charge it? Will my (recently installed) home charger work?”
Would I have given it a second thought if I were driving a petrol engine car? Probably not.
I knew I would be driving a Porsche Taycan 4S with an optional 94.3 kWh Performance Battery Plus (its usable capacity is 83.7 kWh). The WLTP range is 242 – 288 miles (combined), however with an electric vehicle there are many parameters that can affect range, including the fact that we live in a cold country. I had a quick look on the EV Database UK and they quote a 'real range' of 270 miles, so I was hoping to get a figure close to this.
On arrival at Porsche Centre Colchester, Mark Goody, Centre Principal, met me and handed me the keys: “You’re familiar with Porsche, Chris, I’m sure you’ll work it all out”. He was right, having worked for Porsche for many years, getting into the Taycan felt like putting on a comfortable pair of shoes.
Mark explained that the battery was fully charged, however the car had only been used for short trips over the past few weeks. The Porsche Intelligent Range Manager cleverly calculates driving style and commonly used driving modes (Normal, Sport or Range).
As the car had only been used sporadically, it’s unlikely that battery pre-conditioning would’ve taken place – this means telling the car when you are going to use it so the battery management system can prepare the battery for optimal range. When I left Colchester, the range said exactly 200 miles and my trip back to Kent consisted mainly of A-roads and the M25.
I was interested to see what range I could achieve by driving sensibly. So, I set the driving mode to Range (this limits the top speed to 90mph), made sure that Brake Regeneration was set to Auto and set the navigation to my destination – this is a must for any EV to calculate accurate range. Setting your destination will allow the car to determine road types, most efficient route, traffic situations and the outside temperature along your route. With the 81-mile trip, I could anticipate (according to PCM information) that I would have 199 miles left when I arrived home.
Driving the car felt amazing. The controls and technology were extremely intuitive and easy to operate, and the level of comfort was first class. The traffic was fairly light and, when I had the opportunity to test the acceleration, the car was extremely responsive – even in Range mode. It drove like a Porsche should.
As I continued on my journey, I noticed that the anticipated range at destination percentage was creeping up slightly and I tried to increase the figure even more by driving smoothly and gently, anticipating when to lift off the accelerator pedal and allow the regenerative braking to slow me down and top-up the battery.
I arrived at home with a range of 132 miles left, so by my
calculations the overall range was 213 (81 + 132). I had added 13 miles of
range just by driving sensibly and I was getting close to that magic figure of
The day soon came to take the Taycan back to Porsche Colchester. I planned a longer return journey with a variety of roads to experience everyday usability. The night before, I made sure the car was on charge whilst I was asleep (therefore using cheaper, greener off-peak electricity), I set the departure timing to ensure the battery was pre-conditioned to optimum temperature and programmed the route in the PCM.
The first leg of my journey consisted of Kent to Brighton, equating to 39.7 miles. The Range Management told me that I would have 77% State of Charge on arrival, however, I was determined to get it up to at least 80%. A nice steady drive through the countryside would see me reach 85% SoC and, as I pulled up, my consumption was 35.8 kWh per 100 miles (equivalent to 234.79 miles range).
Next on the list was to go to the newly opened forecourt in Braintree, Essex. This is the world’s first purpose built EV charging forecourt, with 36 separate charging points ranging from 22 – 350 kWh (the Taycan could charge at up to 270 kWh here).
As I left Braintree to head to Colchester, my consumption was at a staggering 32.3 kWh per 100 miles (259 miles range – it was going up) with 28 miles left to get to Porsche Colchester. The intelligent Range Management was continuously learning and adapting to my driving style to give me accurate data.
The short journey to Colchester took me through some roadworks and faster roads. As a treat to all that hypermiling, I decided to open the taps just a little to see how the 4S performed. It was incredible; the torque was instant with no lag or build-up of power that you often get in a traditionally-fuelled vehicle. On top of this, Porsche have always claimed that their braking speed is half that of their acceleration speed, but this was something else entirely in the Taycan.
Surprisingly, this had no effect on my overall consumption. I guessed that the brake regeneration outweighed the acceleration in that short space of time. I parked the Taycan for the final time having completed a total of 195.8 miles in that day with an average speed of 43mph and an overall consumption of 32 kWh per 100 miles. According to the Range Manager, I still had 74 miles left, so by my calculations I could have covered a total of 269.8 miles in one full charge.
Porsche have created something very special with the Taycan and I am looking forward to the next few years of electrical vehicle development from the company.