In many ways, Porsche is a company set in its ways. Take the beloved 911, a rear-engine design that it has continued to refine for the past 57 years, despite knowing that an engine hanging past the rear wheels isn't ideal. Does it seem a bit odd then that a company like Porsche, known for making "flawed" cars for the sake of a specific driving experience, would make an electric car?
I mean, no one can dispute the efficiency or outright speed of electric cars, but driver involvement or emotion, those aren't exactly traits EVs are known for. But that's exactly what Porsche did. They made an EV that didn't feel as "videogame" as the competition and actually drives like something people are familiar with, a car.
Tesla is no doubt blazing a new trail in the automotive world and not just by its all-electric lineup. Its cars just do things differently. Things like:
- A turn signal that's really a drive select stalk.
- An aggressive regenerative braking system, which turns your throttle into an on/off switch.
- Or, my favorite, "How do I turn it on?"
And while these qualities are what attracts many people to the brand, what about the rest of the public who don't work in IT or don't start every conversation with "Star Wars or StarTrek?"
This is where the Porsche Taycan shines, it's FAMILIAR. You turn it on and off with the ubiquitous power button. You put it into drive with a lever that doesn't audition as a turn signal on the weekends. And finally, when you lift off the throttle, the car coasts like any other traditional automatic vehicle.
But saying it's good because it's familiar is really doing the Taycan a disservice, because it's really so much more. It's quite innovative. Although, some of the innovations seem to solve problems that no one really had to begin with.
Take for example the transmission. Yes, Porsche decided to put a multi-gear transmission in an electric vehicle. So not only do you get the insane off-the-line performance, but also higher top speed capabilities without the car puttering out (because we're often dealing with this problem of slow acceleration over 100mph.)
Was that entirely necessary? Probably not. And that does highlight a problem with the Taycan. Despite being the latest and greatest technology, it still may be too complicated for its own good. After all, isn't the beauty of electric cars in their fundamental simplicity and fewer moving parts?
But maybe that's where we're thinking about this wrong. What if Porsche put a 2-speed transmission in the Taycan not because it needed to, but because it wanted to? What if it all circles back to Porsche's long-standing tradition of making vehicles that are involving for the driver?
When you think about it like that, not only does a gear change give you a feeling of the familiar, it also adds a small amount of excitement to the experience. That's Porsche's take on its first EV, the latest tech with a sprinkling of classic Porsche charm.