One of the standout features of the Porsche Taycan is its incredible promised 350kW charge rate.  Tesla has updated its Model 3 to have a 250kW charge rate, which is available on Tesla’s V3 superchargers.

At first glance, this looks like a loss for Tesla.  But it’s not.  Because of Porsche’s low efficiency, it turns out that almost every Tesla adds more range per minute at peak charge rate than the Taycan does – and some by a significant margin.

We learned this week that the Porsche Taycan has a 69mpge rating from the EPA.  This is lower than any electric car currently on sale in the US.

The Model 3, in contrast, has the highest efficiency of any car ever rated by the EPA.  With Tesla’s most recent updates, the Model 3 now beats the Hyundai Ioniq electric, which had been the previous efficiency champion.  This is also due to a drop in the Ioniq’s efficiency because of the larger 170-mile battery in next year’s model.

In fact, at 141mpge, the 2020 Model 3 SR+ is more than twice as efficient as the Taycan Turbo.  The Model 3 Long Range scores 130mpge according to the EPA.

The Model S is no slouch either, with up to 111 mpge.  The Model X brings up the rear in Tesla’s stable, with a modest 96mpge for the Long Range version due to the bigger form factor.

Teslas have recently been updated with improved charge rates, with Model 3 Long Range capping out at 250kW, Model S and X topping out at 200kW, and Model 3 SR+ with a max 170kW rate.  Some of these rates might rise further in the future.

The Taycan can charge at up to 250kW now, but a software update will enable 350kW in the future.  Porsche can reach such high rates because they use an 800-volt charger, whereas most other DC chargers are 400 volts.  A Porsche has already charged at 270kW on an Electrify America station, using prototype software.

What do all these numbers mean?  Let’s look at the approximate miles added per ten minutes at peak rate:

  • Porsche Taycan Turbo, 490Wh/mi, 250kW/350kW charge rate: ~85 miles in ten minutes of charging (119 after promised update)
  • Model 3 SR+, 240Wh/mi, 170kW: ~118 miles in ten minutes
  • Model 3 LR, 260Wh/mi, 250kW: ~160 miles in ten minutes
  • Model S LR, 300Wh/mi, 200kW: ~111 miles in ten minutes
  • Model X LR, 350Wh/mi, 200kW: ~95 miles in ten minutes

These numbers are all likely to change in the real world, this is just the theoretical peak each car is capable of.  There are other models available with slightly more or less efficiency, we just chose a few representative choices (and two Model 3s because the SR+ has a lower charge rate).

Currently, every Tesla vehicle shows a faster charge rate than the current Porsche Taycan.  Once Porsche gets their software update out, the Taycan will edge out most Teslas except the Model 3 LR.

But even the ones it does beat, it doesn’t beat by much.  Despite using twice as much voltage, the Porsche is still only about 10% faster at charging than the Model S and 20% faster than the Model X.

There is also the issue of charger rollout.  Currently, there are few chargers which can charge any of these cars at peak rates. Tesla has only rolled out a couple V3 superchargers, and Electrify America still needs to flesh out their network in some critical areas.

We don’t know why the Porsche Taycan is so inefficient, but we suspect it could have something to do with Porsche reserving a large amount of the battery, among other things.  The Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-PACE, are both relatively inefficient compared to other electric cars. But both of those cars have recently had software updates to improve their range and efficiency by unlocking more battery capacity and modifying other aspects of the car’s drive controls.

If Porsche is doing something similar to Audi and holding back some battery capacity to protect against degradation, and later find out that it’s less of an issue than they originally thought, this could affect efficiency calculations and bump the Taycan up a little bit.  Or they may find other enhancements that can be delivered, improving the car’s range and efficiency and, therefore, its “mile per hour” charge rate.

Electrek’s Take

The numbers for charge rate provided above don’t matter a whole lot, because at the end of the day, the road trip experience doesn’t change a whole lot.  In the real world, most of these chargers will be “fast enough.”

The common experience of roadtripping in an electric car these days involves stopping at a DC quick charger, getting out to eat lunch, then coming back to the car after your stop and driving away with a full-enough (80%+) battery.  In reality, at this point, taking an electric car on a roadtrip is a pretty painless experience.

At least, that’s the case with Teslas.  Tesla owners are generally quite satisfied with the Supercharger network, considering it one of the company’s main strengths.

Electrify America is working to reach that same level of service, though currently they are not there yet.  You can read more about their plans in Electrek’s interview with Electrify America execs at the LA Auto Show.

And by even comparing Porsche to the Tesla Supercharger experience, which is the gold standard in EV charging right now, they’re already in good company.  The comparison is not a slight against Porsche.

But I thought some perspective comparing these numbers would be important.  Many people think that efficiency doesn’t matter a whole lot, but it does, for many reasons.  Manufacturers need to focus on getting as much efficiency out of the energy in their battery, because this improves many aspects of the drive experience.

If your car is more efficient, you can put fewer batteries in it, which means the car is lighter, handles better, accelerates better, brakes better, and so on.  All of these are vehicle aspects that Porsche is quite interested in.  We’re sure their car does well at them all (though we don’t know, since we haven’t driven it yet, hint hint), but a little more efficiency could help do them even better.

We hope Porsche will find some updates to the car that improve its efficiency, because the Taycan will only be better for it.

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