Motoring

Porsche Taycan 4s Review: 1,000km Australian road trip testing ultra-rapid charging

A light blue Porsche sports car – that’s Sally from Cars Movie. An electric powertrain that rivals Tesla and a sound that brings a smile with every touch of the accelerator? That’s the Porsche Taycan and we’ve taken the 4s on a 1,000km road-trip from Melbourne to Sydney.

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A Next-Gen Sally – that’s how my kids are describing the Porsche Taycan I’ve been driving. Anyone who’s followed the Cars Movie franchise knows the sound that Jackson Storm makes, streaming past the old-school racers to take on lightning McQueen – well, that’s the best way we can describe the sound of the Porsche Taycan when in Sport Plus mode, and it’s glorious.

The $200,000 Electric Dream

Let’s not bury the detail here, this is a $190,400 car, as standard. Add to that the Performance Battery plus, Leather Free dark Blue interior, Matrix Lights, Panoramic Roof, Passenger display, 20 inch Aero Wheels, Electric Sport Sound and the key in the car colour plus a few more things and you’re talking $230,530 – plus on-roads:)

So this isn’t the everyman EV – but no Porsche is made to be a mass market car, these are refined, stylish, performance cars, and from what I can tell, Porsche owners are flocking to be part of the Taycan revolution. I know two people who have already picked up their Taycan. Two. I don’t know that many people who own a Ferrari, in fact, I only know two Tesla owners well.

Fact is, this is an important car for Porsche, and for the Electric Vehicle revolution. We need Electric Cars to be normalised, and Porsche needs a foot well into the Electric camp as countries around the world move to emissions targets that make EVs the only way to go.

High-Tech Cockpit

Inside, this is a high-tech car unlike many I’ve seen.

With the optional passenger display installed, there are four screens on the dashboard – one in the centre as normal for infotainment. One for the instrument cluster that’s curved and rounded and looks spectacular. Another screen sits under the centre infotainment angled down toward the centre arm rest offering up your climate controls, app shortcuts and a touch-pad for controlling the infotainment should you choose.

The Porsche Connect system is next level when it comes to infotainment. The level of thought that has gone into the inclusions should impress any owner.

You get Apple Music as part of your car purchase, liking the car itself via it’s 4G connection to your Apple Account allows you to play music and playlists as you need without even needing your phone connected to the car.

It’s also possible to be listening to an FM radio station, enjoying a song, and adding that song to your Apple Music library. That simple level of integration is well thought out and works seamlessly.

All of this is paired with the Porsche Connect App on your smartphone allowing you to see the location of your car, battery status along with a range of information like trip data as well as remote locking and climate control to pre-heat or cool the car for you.

Too Much Tech?

It’s hard to admit this, but at times I longed for the simple dials for climate control, I really think it requires eyes off the road to adjust and sometimes a simple dial is all you need.

That lower screen sits angled closer to flat than upright and really attracts some dust to just sit and rest there, and all the screens attract fingerprints. That’s one thing car companies really need to address – goodness knows how!

And then there’s the biggest change you’ll notice in a car since the first one you ever drove – and no, it’s not the electric motors and battery – it’s the air vents. You can’t adjust them by reaching out.

You’ve gotta enter the Climate Settings menu, choose “individual” then drag these little pointers on screen to where you want the air pointing. Sure, it works, but moving a little vent is so much easier.

The presence of an analogue clock is a welcoming addition to the top centre of the dashboard, however it’s a strange one – it has a digital clock in it, and the hand is the second hand moving. Personally, a bit too much movement for my liking.

Also, I must say, the reversing camera on this car isn’t the best I’ve seen. It morphs the outer edges making reversing between two cars a strange challenge, and makes objects seem quite close when in fact they are more distant. Rely on the 360 view and the actual mirrors is my advice.

A drivers car

Dear god this is a joy to drive.

But here’s the thing, it’s also utterly comfortable. The open road is home to the Taycan, as are the tight twisty b-roads of Australia.

Smooth over all surfaces and also very quiet, the road noise absorption is top notch – something that can make or break a road-trip frankly.

Unless you’re a range conserving crazy person, live your life in sport plus mode. It gives you a great sound, but also a great feel with tight handling and a grippy road presence. Thrown into corners the Taycan never argues, it complies.

Of course the acceleration is instant, throwing the heads of your passengers into the seats, particularly from launch control mode.

Apart from missing the sound of a petrol-powered Porsche, there’s no chance a Porsche owner will regret this purchase based on the ride and handling.

Navigating an electric road-trip.

So when we set off for Sydney from Melbourne, the first obstacle of any electric road-trip presented itself. Will we get there – and how will we charge?

Porsche Taycan owners in Australia won’t yet get the benefit of full electric route planning capabilities that are available in Europe. Due to our ultra-rapid charging network needing to be complete, the systems on-board the Taycan aren’t yet able to correctly calculate your route needs. That will come in the months ahead.

However, you can set a destination, and then add a charging stop as a stopover.

This is hit and miss in many ways, while you can choose locations “on the route” many chargers are actually slightly off the route, and searching for a charger that is actually 700km away is a slow and sometimes unsuccessful mission.

For this reason, I think using services like PlugShare to plan a trip is great, but also using the ChargeFox app you will get a sense of where the chargers are, and also see which are available and at what charging speeds.

We aimed to hit Ultra-Rapid chargers all the way, given the ChargeFox network from Melbourne to Sydney is complete. A quick check of the map shows the usual suspects, Euroa, Wodonga, Gundagai and Goulburn. Easily within reach of the Porsche’s 400+km range each time.

Range Anxiety? Not once

But here’s the thing, after our first stop, I never worried once about range.

We stopped at Euroa for a quick Maccas run – we sat for 15 mins, got back to the car and realised how damn fast this thing charges. We got about 30% charge in 15 minutes. Crazy.

From there, it was more likely that I needed a rest as the driver rather than the car needing electrons.

Once the software is updated with the full range of 350W chargers, the navigation will be seamless with all your stops mapped out.

When you use the navigation of the car, and plan in your charge stops, it does let you know how long to charge for, and how much charge you’ll have on arrival.

In fact I had more range anxiety over the weekend at home in Sydney than on the whole trip – given there is only one Ultra-Rapid charger in Sydney, and that one is on the opposite side of the city to me, I was left with standard wall power. A trickle.

Of course Porsche Taycan owners will have a wall charger installed with their purchase allowing for reasonable overnight charge times at home.

How long does it take to charge?

Starting at the base level, a trickle is more like a leaking tap. I was getting 1% per hour at home in a normal power point, so while the portable charger you get in the car is great – in an “emergency” you’ll be waiting a while to rack up the km. In charging terms, I was getting 100m of range per minute.

But it’s those Ultra-Rapid chargers that matter. On a journey you’ll get to 80% within 40 minutes. It’s important to know that the rate of charge you get at 40 and 50% battery is different to what you get at 0 as the battery ramps up, and importantly at 80-90% as the battery prepares to fill up.

The ChargeFox Ultra-Rapid network is impressive and allows owners to easily take an Aussie road-trip with little or no concern.

There small RFID touch dongle on the key gives you free charging as a Taycan owner, though we tested this on two sites with no luck, instead using the Chargefox app to enable and start the charger filling up the battery.

Porsche Taycan vs Tesla Model S

Ok, the elephant in the room – Taycan v Model S.

As I said in my video review, the Tesla does two things better than anyone else in the market. Navigation and Range.

In terms of Navigation, Tesla’s Google Maps based system that is tightly integrated with the cars data means you get accurate info on where to go, where to charge and for how long. I’ve still seen no other EV that comes close to this – in part because they are using third party navigation, and also because we need a single and relevant database of chargers for them to access.

When it comes to range, there’s a Tesla you can get with over 600km range, an the Smaller Model 3 at over 500km.

While you don’t need it, that gives you a new level of peace of mind that is frankly priceless.

That’s it though. Because on looks, this is a better car. And yes, there are cheaper Model S than the plaid which chips up to this level and even past it, but they are rivals for Euro executive sedans, not for a sports car.

I’d take the handling, performance and most importantly the interior fit and finish of a Porsche Taycan any day over a Tesla Model S.

So, is the Porsche Taycan worth it?

Yep, every dollar. These will be the most sought after EVs going round, they will hold a premium because they will be short on supply, and those who would also buy some of the most exotic cars will be buying them.

It’s got a great look from every angle, and it drives like a Porsche of any generation should.

Oh, and with the rear seats, this is a real family car:)

Critically, while range is “low” by the top tier standards, 400+km is plenty for city driving and road trips combined.

Porsche Taycan 4s Review: 1,000km Australian road trip testing ultra-rapid charging
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