We do 20% better than the EPA 201-mile range without even trying.

Pretty much every driving review of the Porsche Taycan, including our own, has been glowingly positive. It's been called everything from the best electric car today, to the best new Porsche you can buy. 

However, there has been one criticism that many have pointed out, and that's the low EPA range rating that the vehicle earned. The Taycan Turbo and Taycan Turbo S have a 93.4 kWh battery, of which 83.7 kWh is usable. Porsche basically holds back 10 kWh of the pack as a buffer, to restrict the depth of discharge, referred to as the DoD, which in turn will extend the life of the pack. 

Porsche Taycan turbo

When the EPA announced the range rating for the Taycan Turbo at 201 miles per charge and the Taycan Turbo S at 192 miles, it certainly was a disappointment, given there was so much to like about the first all-electric Porsche.

Back in September, I had the opportunity to drive a Taycan Turbo S about 500 miles from Copenhagen, Denmark to Hamburg, Germany. Having the Taycan on desolate rural roads in southern Denmark and then on German autobahns gave me the opportunity to really test out the vehicle's performance. I was able to do multiple 0-100 runs and even got it up to 167 mph for a while, topping Porsche's claimed 162 mph top speed. 

However, because of how we were driving, the one thing I really couldn't test out was the real-world driving range. Luckily, I got a second chance to do just that last Friday when Porsche invited me to drive a Taycan Turbo from Atlanta, Georgia to Daytona Beach, Florida, in what would be roughly a 450-mile road trip. 

Porsche Taycan turbo
When we started the day, the car showed an estimated range of 245 miles.

I wanted to see just how far a Taycan Turbo would go if driven "responsibly" on a long trip. By responsibly, I mean keeping up with the flow of traffic, not gunning it too much but definitely not hypermiling. Basically, what kind of range the average Taycan Turbo owner should expect to get on a long trip if they behaved. 

Porsche had invited only four journalists for this drive. As usual two people partner for a car and take turns driving. I partnered with David S. Wallens of Grassroots Motorsports and luckily, he wasn't interested in really hammering the Taycan too much, and that made it possible to do a range test on the journey, as I had hoped. There was a third Taycan in the caravan, driven by Porsche representatives that came along to answer our questions and pay for charging along the route. 

David took the first leg of the journey which was 134 miles to the Electrify America site in Cordele, Georgia. Porsche selected this as the first stop because the next Electrify America site on the route was another 96 miles away. One of the Porsche reps told me he's done that 230-mile trip on a single charge but didn't want to risk it with journalists driving because it would really ruin the day if one of us had to be towed. Also, it was 41 degrees and raining when we left  Atlanta early in the morning - not ideal EV range conditions. 

Porsche Taycan turbo
Had to stop for a picture at an old run-down gas station not too far from Daytona Beach

The car was parked in an open parking garage overnight, so the battery was cold-soaked in 30-degree temperatures all night, also not great for range. When we got in the car we took a while going over all the gauges and navigation system, as well as warming up the cabin. We left with 98% state of charge and arrived at the first Electrify America stop with 39% SOC and an estimated 91 miles of range remaining. Therefore we used 59% SOC to cover 134 miles. 

Even though the Porsche reps wanted to just charge the three cars for 15 minutes (because that's all we really needed to make sure we all had enough range to make it to the next stop) I insisted I stay to charge my car near to full, so I could get an accurate measurement of the energy consumed. We unplugged my car at 96% SOC after charging for 31 minutes and it took in a total of 51.2 kWh. 

The second Electrify America stop was in Lake City, Florida. I did the driving on this leg and drove 143 miles. The range estimator said we still had 98 miles of range remaining. We arrived with the state of charge at 41%, so we used 55% of the battery that leg. We charged to 96% SOC again and the car took in 47.9 kWh.

This stop took nearly an hour because the Electrify America site was having problems and the car was charging at a maximum of only 80 kW. There were Electrify America engineers working on the site when we arrived, and they told us they were experiencing issues there. Interestingly, one of the other Taycans was getting over 150 kW, but none of us were getting near the 270 kW maximum the cars can take. 

Porsche Taycan turbo

 

On the final leg to Daytona Beach, we split the driving and traveled 159 miles. We finished with 34% SOC and 81 miles remaining on the range estimator. I don't have the charging data for this final stop because Porsche took the car to charge it at an Electrify America station very close to our hotel while we went out for dinner. However, we can still estimate the consumption with a pretty high degree of accuracy.

Using the Taycan Turbo's 83.7 kWh usable capacity I calculated the miles driven per kWh for all three legs of the journey based on the percentage of SOC used. The first leg was the least efficient because of a couple of factors. First, as noted above the battery and cabin were cold so we were using a considerable amount of heat as we drove. Also, it was pouring rain for most of the 134-mile drive, so I expected that part of the trip to be the least efficient. I calculated the Total Range with Estimate by adding the miles we drove with the remaining estimated miles the car displayed. The Observed Total Range was calculated by multiplying the observed miles per kWh by the battery pack's usable capacity of 83.7 kWh. 

Stats from the trip:

Starting SOC

Ending SOC SOC Used Miles Driven Remaining Range Est. Total Range w/Estimate Miles Per kWh Observed Total Range
98% 39% 59% 134 91 mi. 225 mi. 2.71 227 mi.
96% 41% 55% 143 98 mi. 241 mi. 3.11  260 mi.
96% 34% 62% 159 81 mi. 240 mi. 3.06 256 mi.

As we drove south to Daytona Beach, the rain lessened and the temperatures rose up into the 60's, and that helped us achieve better consumption figures. We drove between 70 mph and 80 mph the vast majority of the time, but we did push the Taycan up over 100 mph a few times, we just couldn't help ourselves. We set the car in Range mode for most of the trip, although we did switch to the power-hungry Sport and Sport Plus modes for a while. 

On one occasion when I was driving I happened to pull next to a Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor long range and had to show off a little. We were going about 80 mph and lined up next to him, looked at the driver and punched the throttle. When I looked at the speedometer a couple seconds later I was already at 115 mph. The Model 3 didn't try to follow, and that was probably a wise decision on their part. I own a Model 3 with that same configuration and I can say with confidence a race wouldn't have ended well for them.

2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo

But this post isn't about the 616 hp of brutal power the Taycan Turbo has. If you want to read about that, check out my previous driving review post. We've covered that pretty extensively. I wanted to know if the EPA's range rating was a true indication of what to expect if you wanted to go on a road trip with the Taycan. 

Had we been driving in 70-degree temperatures and no rain the range would have been even better. Even with the cold weather and rain, we averaged 2.96 miles per kWh over the 436-mile trip. If you multiply that consumption rate by the 83.7 usable capacity the Taycan Turbo has, you come up with 248-miles of range per charge. That's not bad, and much better than the EPA range rating of 201 miles per charge. The car's remaining range estimator was a little more conservative and if you add the miles driven with the estimated remaining range you get a trip average of 235 miles per charge, still way better than EPA. 

So why the huge discrepancy? I honestly don't know. I've driven pretty much all of the EVs available today, and I usually agree with the EPA range rating. EV range is a moving target; there are a lot of factors that influence how far any EV can go. This range test wasn't perfect, a round-trip drive would have definitely been better. We already talked about battery temperature and weather conditions like rain we experienced above. Topography is another. We did lose 1,000 ft of elevation from Atlanta to Daytona Beach so that was helpful, but not really enough to make that much of a difference over a 436-mile drive. 

Porsche Taycan
Charging up at an Electrify America station on the way to Daytona Beach.

Also notable is the fact that the EPA provided the range figures themselves, and that's not how it usually happens. Many people don't realize that the manufacturer does the range testing and provides the EPA with the range rating and the data to back it up. The EPA has the choice to accept that data and publish it, or to then do their own internal testing. In the case of the Taycan, the EPA decided to do their own range certification, and those numbers came out much lower than what Porsche expected. 

The EPA only does their own testing for about 10% - 15% of the EVs on the market today, the range figures for the remaining 85% - 90% were provided by the manufacturer. The EPA just doesn't have the resources to test every car, so they randomly pick some to test internally and rely on the provided manufacturer's data for the rest. 

Still, the Taycan isn't the most efficient EV on the market. In fact, according to the EPA, it's actually the least efficient one. However, if efficiency is your top priority, you probably weren't going to be a potential Taycan buyer in the first place. The Taycan is the best all-electric sports car available today, and one of the best cars, period. 

I highly doubt many Taycan owners will mind paying an extra $10 per month for electricity or waiting an additional 10 minutes at the DC fast charger because this vehicle is well worth it.

Look for posts later in the week on my Electrify America charging experience with the Taycan, and also on the Taycan's unique regenerative braking system and let us know what you think about my range-test experience in the comments below.

*Edit (1/28/20)

I reached out to Porsche to get further clarification on whether or not the 201-mile range rating for the Taycan Turbo and the 192-mile rating for the Taycan Turbo S was a result of EPA's own in-house testing or from the range report that Porsche provided to the EPA. 

As mentioned above, the OEMs do the range testing in-house to the EPA's specifications and provide the report to the EPA. In most cases, (80% - 85% of the time) the EPA simply publishes the range from the OEM's report. In about 15% to 20% of the time, the EPA takes the report and conducts its own testing in-house to verify the OEM's data. In a perfect world, they would do it for all cars, but they don't have the resources to do so.

I reported above that the EPA, upon receiving Porsche's range data selected the Taycan to do their own in-house testing, and that was correct. What I wasn't aware of, and didn't report, is that the EPA's range testing matched Porsche's own data, which is what they published. 

Porsche apparently wasn't pleased with the range results, even though they conducted the tests and came up with the figures published. They evidently believed the EPA range calculation didn't accurately depict the real range the Taycan would provide owners so they commissioned AMCI Testing to do their own range testing for the Taycan Turbo and Taycan Turbo S. The full report can be read from this link.

We apologize for not getting this 100% correct initially, although we weren't off by that much. The EPA did choose the Taycan to verify the range, something that only happens to a small percentage of cars, and Porsche didn't agree with the reported range. What we failed to report was that Porsche's own testing, according to the EPA's testing protocol, matched what the EPA concluded when they did their independent testing.