The release of the Porsche Taycan’s range numbers in January landed with a thud. It was taken as a sign of inferiority that Porsche’s 93.4kWh battery yielded only 201 and 192 miles for the Turbo and Turbo S version, respectively. But EPA data now reveals that the company voluntarily lowered the range numbers.
Car and Driver reported yesterday that EPA documents show that Porsche legally could have used 200 miles for the Taycan Turbo S. But instead, the automaker used the 192-mile figure achieved at its R&D center in Weissach, Germany. The company also lowered the Turbo’s range number by a single mile.
The fine print of the EPA’s Fuel Economy Guide indicated this for the Turbo S:
Combined range voluntarily lowered from 200 miles.
Porsche spokesman Calvin Kim also told Car and Driver that the 93.4kWh figure used for the Taycan’s specs is its “gross energy capacity.” The usable capacity is 83.7 kilowatt-hours, revealing the company’s relatively conservative approach to buffering the battery with extra capacity.
As early as December, we heard from the first US Taycan owner who says that the EPA range is highly conservative. He was able to get much more efficiency out of the vehicle than EPA ratings suggest, even in cold weather and “spirited driving.”
We even speculated then that Porsche had lowered the value to ensure that drivers hit or beat the EPA estimates. Was it a smart move? That’s hard to say, but it’s helpful to know that it’s true.
When using Porsche’s voluntarily lowered numbers, which are now the Taycan’s official range figures, the Taycan is the least efficient EV available in the US.
This comparison of range and efficiency numbers is not an apples-to-apples comparison:
Repeat, it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. But it’s hard to find an exact way to compare EVs with different sizes, characteristics, and features. Of course, the numbers can be used as a rough reference for you to draw your own conclusions.
But the confirmation that Porsche voluntarily lowered the range numbers, and the 83.7 kilowatt-hours of usable energy, shows that it’s tricky to pin down precise efficiency and range numbers.
Moreover, the difference of a few miles for an EV that offers around 200 miles of range has practically no impact on daily driving. Yes, it’s better to push the envelope on efficiency. But trading a few percentage points of efficiency in a performance-oriented EV is a valid trade-off consideration for an automaker.
Audi did something similar and received its share of criticism for trading efficiency for safety and luxury features on the e-tron. And it similarly tweaked its range and efficiency numbers.
It will be interesting to see the range numbers for the most affordable Taycan, the $104,000 4S version. Those figures should come out any time because US dealerships are now starting to get inventory.
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