The EPA has the updated range estimates for the 2021 Porsche Taycan 4S, its midrange model now that the standard model Taycan has been announced. Surprisingly, the range jumped from 203 miles in 2020 to 227 miles of range this year, a gain of over 10%. What exactly happened?
One of the more controversial aspects of the Porsche Taycan is the seemingly low range given by its EPA numbers relative to the size of the 93.4 kWh “Performance Plus” battery and seemingly aerodynamic vehicles.
Porsche’s various Taycan flavors all get around 200 miles of EPA range, around half of what Tesla advertises in its similar specced Model S.
Today, news reports that the 2021 EPA range of 227 miles have some wondering if Porsche made any modifications to its battery, perhaps allowing the car to have more access to buffer on the top or bottom of charge? Efficiency improvements in the battery or motor? Better software?
A source at Porsche tells us the answer is a lot simpler and more boring (and dare I say disappointing?). Porsche simply did not use the monster 21-inch wheel option in its EPA calculation in which it chooses the worst case scenario to report. Apparently, the 2021 is the exact same car as the 2020 as far as the drivetrain is concerned. The only difference is that the high-drag 21-inch wheels were not reported from/to the EPA. That same source told us that almost no one buys those wheels, as most people stick with the 19s or 20s. Those huge wheels come standard on the Taycan Turbo S so the calculation stands there.
The 20-inch wheels apparently make the Taycan over 10% more efficient, which is seemingly a huge gain. In the case of the Taycan 4S, it added 24 miles of range. The 19-inch wheels/tires are apparently even more efficient.
But that’s not as surprising since a reputable third party ANSI tested the Taycan’ts range and put it a lot closer to 300 miles in real-world testing. Porsche is said to understate its range for various reasons. Some speculate that it is being overly cautious, while others speculate that they might be trying to game the warranty. Either way, you can expect to see a lot more than 200 miles of range in a Taycan as I did in my first drive.
So it looks like Porsche is underselling and overdelivering here.
I have first-hand knowledge of what huge tires can do to EV range. I owned a 2018 Tesla Model X that unfortunately came with 21-inch turbine wheels. The EPA range on that vehicle was 256 miles, but I never even got close to 180 miles with those wheels on. When I put 19-inch wheel/snow tires on it, my range actually increased significantly to over 200 miles. That’s very unusual since snow tires typically have a much higher rolling resistance.
The takeaway here? The EPA range of an electric vehicle is anything but the last word on real-world range. There are so many factors that affect that range, from weather to terrain to settings to driving style, and –now we know – especially tires.
But, it would be helpful if the EPA gave us a more transparent picture with more detail on their testing rather than just a number.
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