The Tibet region of China is home to the tallest mountains in the world, and Porsche just climbed one. No, there isn't a 911 conquering Mount Everest, but a Taycan Cross Turismo did recently plant a Porsche crest at the top of Hongtu Daban in Tibet, cresting at 17,569 feet. According to Porsche, it's enough to claim a Guinness World Record for the greatest altitude change by an electric car.
We need to emphasize altitude change here. While 17,569 feet is mighty impressive (and high) for any vehicle to reach, the Taycan Cross Turismo's journey is the real milestone. The 10-day trip started not at a few hundred feet above sea level, or even legit sea level. Ayding Lake is a dry lakebed in Western China that's among the lowest points in the world, and according to Porsche, the ascent began there at 718 feet below sea level. As a result, the Taycan climbed a total of 18,287 feet from start to finish. That's not far below cruising altitude for most passenger jets.
Gallery: Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo Altitude Record
It wasn't necessarily an easy journey, either. Porsche explains the participants experienced four seasons of weather along the route, and not all of it involved roads. Photos show the Taycan Cross Turismo scooting across the lakebed as well as notable landmarks such as the Tarim Poplar Forest, Tomur Grand Canyon, and various roads used for the trip.
Of course, electric vehicles don't have air-breathing combustion engines to worry about so altitude changes don't have nearly the same effect on power or functionality. However, climbing over 18,000 feet does tend to zap energy from battery packs. In its altitude-record announcement, Porsche didn't offer details regarding range or efficiency for the trip, but the automaker did mention the Taycan Cross Turismo's regenerative capabilities on downhill stretches. Clearing a 13,123-foot pass, energy recuperation of up to 275 kW gave a boost to the range.
As you might imagine, charging stations were difficult to come by in some areas. It took four days to cross a 472-mile stretch of "no man's land" in the Kunlun and Tianshan mountains. That's not exactly a stellar pace, but with help from EnjoyElec for juice in varying weather conditions, the off-road-themed wagon made the trip. Through it all, Porsche says the Taycan's 800V architecture was able to charge at the upper limits.
The Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo starts at $101,900 in the United States, using two motors for all-wheel-drive grip and up to 469 horsepower in overboost mode. The Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo ups the ante to 750 hp, though the price tag nearly doubles to $197,500.