Porsche Taycan Road Trip: Ask Me Anything

Electric cars for a road trip? Doesn’t that mean stopping every hour and tuning a reasonable drive into an all-day affair?

Not necessarily. EVs have been making big gains in short order. Tesla claims a 322-mile range for its Model 3. Even the latest Nissan Leaf can cover up to 226 miles on a charge.

Porsche recently invited us on a little road trip: Atlanta to Daytona Beach, arriving just in time for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. That’s close to 450 miles through rather sparsely populated countryside. Our mount would be the all-new, all-electric 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo.

Let’s answer the big questions first.

Q: How far did it go on a charge, and did it beat the EPA’s rather underwhelming estimate of 201 miles?

A: Some computation shows that, yes, we beat the EPA figure. We couldn’t run the Taycan until empty, though: We had a schedule to keep, and since there are only so many charging stations in South Georgia and North Florida, we had to fill up when we could. The purpose of this exercise was to show that an EV like the Taycan could handle a road trip, not determine absolute efficiency numbers. 

However, we do have lots of numbers courtesy of InsideEVs’ Tom Moloughney, our co-driver for the trip. Tom has owned and driven EVs since 2009. Inside his garage you’ll find a Tesla Model 3 as well as a BMW i3. He had already driven the Taycan Turbo as well as the Turbo S. He’s the expert on this stuff.

You can read his entire article for the math and details, but we know how you like to cut to the chase: His figures say that the Taycan Turbo would go 227 to 260 miles on a full charge. 

Q: So a Tesla Model 3 can go further?

A: Likely, yes. 

Q: Did you hyper-mile or drive it like you stole it?

A: We drove pretty responsibly–just cruised along with traffic. We might have goosed it a few times.

Q: How long did the Taycan take to charge on the road?

A: Again, we need to explain things before providing a figure. First, charging rate can depend upon battery temperature, the charger itself, amount of charge added, and the starting percentage of charge. 

When pre-running the route, our hosts from Porsche determined that about a 15-minute charge would have taken us from our first Electrify America stop in Cordele, Georgia, to the second one, almost a hundred miles away in Lake City, Florida. 

In theory, just that partial charge would have been enough to get to that next station: stop, plug in, visit the potty, grab a snack and, when ready to get going, the car would have enough charge. 

However, we spent 31 minutes charging at that first stop. Why’s that?

In order for Tom to better compute our efficiency, we elected to refuel back to 98%, the amount of charge present when we left Porsche’s Atlanta headquarters. And the charging rate slows down as the battery gets closer to full.

Our second stop also took a little longer than expected–about an hour. The Taycan can take up to a 270 kW charge. The Electrify America stations promised up to 350 kW, but at the second stop we saw about 80 kW. We convoyed with two other Taycans, and at that same stop, one charged at north of 150 kW. 

What caused the issue: Problem with our charger, software glitch or just an issue due to the Taycan’s newness? Or did loading up three cars at once cause the problem? One more possible variable: We were driving pre-production cars. 

Q: Since the Taycan seems to have the range, why didn’t you make the 450-mile trip with just one stop? 

A: Because Electrify American doesn’t have a station located between Cordele and Lake City. Our stopping points would be determined by infrastructure–and, also in reality, our bladders. 

Q: Where do you find these Electrify America stations?

A: The car knew where they are located. Our first fill-up took place at a Walmart–fairly common for Electrify America, we’re told–while the second charger was located at an S&S convenience store. 

Q: Why not charge at a Tesla Supercharger?

A: Those are just for Teslas. 

Q: How does the Recharge America process work?

A: Seemed fairly easy. Step 1 involved programming our final destination into the car’s navigation. It computed a route and noted where to fill up–and how much charge would be needed to reach the next stop.

Once at the charging station, we’d pull up to the pump and someone from Porsche would fire up an app and then stick the thing into the thing. It’s not as automated as the Tesla process–they skip the app process as the car magically talks to the pump–but it’s still fairly quick. Tom tells us that Electrify America will soon adopt plug-and-charge technology. 

One big thing that separates the Electrify America chargers from the common gas station: no canopy. So, in the rain, we got wet. 

Q: What did it cost to recharge?

A: Our first charge–the one that took 31 minutes–cost $22.68. We added 51.4 kWh.

Q: Is charging at home an option?

A: Yes, totally is. The charging rate will be slower but, in theory, you can leave every day with a full charge. As Tom learned us, a solar array on his roof provides free fuel. 

Q: How did the Taycan drive?

A: Like electric Panamera–but with zero hesitation when passing and even quicker acceleration. Know how you consider gearing and rpm when passing someone on the freeway? With the Taycan, you don’t. It all just happens instantly. It’s like driving a giant slot car. 

Q: How quick is the Taycan?

A: Porsche lists a zero-to-60 time for the Taycan Turbo of 3.0 seconds. The Turbo S, they add, can reach 60 in just 2.6 seconds. 

Q: How comfortable is the Taycan?

A: Quite. Call it an electric Panamera. Comfortable seats, great steering wheel, the usual Porsche steering feel. The brakes and accelerator all felt “normal.” Fit and finish–and, remember, this was a pre-production model–felt very ahead of the curve. 

It didn’t feel like the Porsche badge had simply been attached. This felt like a Porsche. 

Q: How much for a Taycan Turbo?

A: MSRP starts at $150,900. The Turbo S will run at least $185,000.

Q: Why does Porsche call it a Turbo even though it doesn’t have a turbo?

A: Figure that nomenclature falls into their usual. It’s something we all might have to just build a bridge and get over. 

Q: Anything you didn’t like about the Taycan?

A: Physical buttons instead of touch-pads for some of the console controls would make them easier to operate. Guess it’s something that you get used to, but we had to avert our eyes from the road to make the cockpit warmer or colder, for example.

Q: Why not just buy a Model 3?

A: The market is full of options. This is the one for those who want an EV that feels, rides and drives like a Porsche. It’s not a mass-market machine.

Since Tom owns a Model 3, we asked for his take between the Tesla and the Taycan: “The Taycan’s fit and finish is probably a couple levels above the Model 3’s. Tesla has definitely improved in the last year or two, but the fit and finish of their cars are still lagging behind the premium legacy OEMs, like Porsche, BMW or Daimler.”

Q: But the Model 3 is still fast, right?

A: Yes, it’s not slow as Tesla claims a zero-to-60 time of 3.2 seconds. That’s still wicked-quick in our book. 

The Model 3 is a sports sedan, and the Taycan is much more of a sports car,” Tom, our Telsa-owning co-driver explains. “The performance version of the Model 3 is close in straight-line acceleration, but not quite as fast, especially at high speeds. The Model 3 handles surprisingly well, considering it's a sedan, but that's probably because of the low center of gravity due to the battery underneath the passenger cabin. 

The Taycan Turbo would pretty much outperform a Model 3 in every aspect, but the Model 3 seats five, is roomier inside and has a lot more cargo space including a big trunk in the front. 

Think of a Model 3 as a BMW M3 and you'll understand how it drives. Minus the sound and gears, of course.”

Q: What’d you eat on the drive?

A: A sandwich handed through a window–this was a road trip, after all.

Q: Final thoughts?

A: A Tesla Model 3 can go further but call the Taycan the Porsche of EVs.

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Comments
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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/28/20 1:51 p.m.

And because I love you all, I snapped this during our second stop. 

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
1/28/20 1:56 p.m.

When do you give me this car for my birthday?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/28/20 2:09 p.m.
Fueled by Caffeine said:

When do you give me this car for my birthday?

Sadly it's no longer in our care. We drove the one displayed in the PCA booth at the Rolex. Last I heard, Porsche was driving it back home on Monday. 

Woody
Woody MegaDork
1/28/20 2:45 p.m.

Does the concrete around the charging station smell like spilled electrons?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/28/20 2:52 p.m.
Woody said:

Does the concrete around the charging station smell like spilled electrons?

A little. 

slowbird
slowbird Dork
1/28/20 3:39 p.m.

What kind of sandwich did you get? laugh

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/28/20 3:53 p.m.

In reply to slowbird :

Chicken. 

ShinnyGroove
ShinnyGroove Reader
1/28/20 4:02 p.m.

Does it play glorious flat 6 noises through the stereo when you step on the go pedal?

wearymicrobe
wearymicrobe UberDork
1/28/20 4:06 p.m.

Since you are a Porsche person. 

 

If you had the money and could stomach the depreciation. This or a PanTurbo S wagon at around 170K and change with options. 

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
1/28/20 4:09 p.m.

In reply to wearymicrobe :

Both

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/28/20 4:15 p.m.
ShinnyGroove said:

Does it play glorious flat 6 noises through the stereo when you step on the go pedal?

Normally, no, but I believe engine noises can be called up. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/28/20 4:25 p.m.
wearymicrobe said:

Since you are a Porsche person. 

 

If you had the money and could stomach the depreciation. This or a PanTurbo S wagon at around 170K and change with options. 

You know, that's a good quesiton--and was thinking about that last night. I'd love to drive both back-to-back. That might be a comparison for another day. As far as comfort and performance, the Taycan doesn't give up anything. I think it's more aggressive looking, too. 

STM317
STM317 UltraDork
1/28/20 4:46 p.m.

I think I read somewhere, or saw in a review video that Porsche had elected not to use regenerative braking, which might partially explain the shorter range. I only heard it once, and frankly it seems like an odd choice if true. Can you confirm or deny the presence of regen braking?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/28/20 5:18 p.m.
STM317 said:

I think I read somewhere, or saw in a review video that Porsche had elected not to use regenerative braking, which might partially explain the shorter range. I only heard it once, and frankly it seems like an odd choice if true. Can you confirm or deny the presence of regen braking?

From the Porsche website:

Porsche Recuperation Management (PRM) works innovatively and can regenerate up to 90% of braking energy. This means, during active braking, recuperation is enabled first and the mechanical brake is only engaged when stronger braking is required – intelligently controlled by a braking system that is capable of blending. With an outstanding recuperation output of up to 265kW, energy can be fed back into the battery in the Taycan. Or to be more precise: during sporty, everyday driving, for example, you will achieve up to a third of your range exclusively from recuperation. With recuperation braking from 124 mph to 0, electrical energy can be recovered for a range of up to 2.5 miles.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
1/28/20 5:20 p.m.

It could also be that EVs are harder than it might appear on the surface, and while Porsche has been building sports cars for quite some time (as they will tell you) they're still newbies to this EV game. 

About the "some cars charged faster than others" - check this picture. One charger has two cars on it, one has one. I know that in some cases, when you have multiple cars plugged into the same charger, they have to split the power. 

Was the blue car the one that charged faster?

See the "3B" at the bottom of the Supercharger in the pic below? If someone had plugged into 3A, both cars would have experienced decreased charge speeds.

How can I maximize power and reduce charge time at a Supercharger?
Each charge post is labeled with a number and letter, either A or B (e.g. 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B). When possible, select a charge post with a unique number that is not currently connected to a vehicle. When a unique number isn’t available, the Supercharger cabinet has technology to share available power between charge posts A and B. To maximize power, park at a Supercharger shared with a car that is nearly done charging. For Superchargers in urban areas, there is no need to consider these suggestions, as those sites do not share available power; each car has dedicated power available.

EA chargers may be the same.

I know that Teslas will also pre-condition the battery to accept high charge rates when you use the navigation system to get there - ie, when the car knows there's a Supercharge coming. It would not surprise me to hear that Porsche does the same, but if you had a convoy of cars just following each other you wouldn't think to enter the charging station into the nav so the car wouldn't be prepared.

It would awesome if you could convince Porsche to loan you one for a week or two to get the real day-to-day experience. Everyone always obsesses over charging speeds and availability but most of the time it's just not an issue.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/28/20 6:12 p.m.

The Taycan will warm the battery before charging, if that's what you mean by preconditioning, and it's tied into the navi. It has multiple settings--like on, off, automatic. As we got close to the first stop, though, Tom realized that the automatic setting wasn't engaged. Did the battery fully warm up before our arrival? I honestly don't know. (Also, don't quote me on the specifics as Tom was working those controls while I was driving through a rain storm.)

We purposely staggered our departures so that we wouldn’t all arrive at the chargers at the same time--well, kinda. The white Turbo S caravanned with a 911, while our blue Turbo ran with a second blue Turbo. (That one wore Turbo S wheels.)

An Electrify America engineer meet us at the second stop to check on us. That's the stop in the above photo. It sounded like something wasn't up to spec, and I need to follow up with Porsche. 

But, yeah, the main goal here was to show that it's not too hard to take an EV on a road trip--and cure my own range anxiety. 

 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/28/20 6:20 p.m.

And this got me thinking. If a Model 3 can go 300+/- miles on a charge, that would work in my life. My commute is just 6 miles, but 300 miles would cover 99% of my needs--I could get from here to Orlando, Jax or Tampa and back. My longest regular drive is to see my parents: 350 or so miles. So I'd need one quick stop each way. I always stop once for gas on that trip. 

And how far will the 2025 Model 3 go? And the Electrify America grid is, what, like not even two years old? Where will that be in 2025?

Things are happening. Quickly. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
1/28/20 6:38 p.m.

Yes, by preconditioning the battery I mean warming it. It may cool it on hot days, I'm not sure. You basically have to get the battery ready for what is really a pretty traumatic event. I don't know how long it takes - probably longer when driving through the rain in January than it would on a hot day in June. I know you can hear the Tesla doing it, it sounds like science fiction is happening under the car. 

"Automatic" is interesting - if the car thinks you're going to Walmart, it warms the battery in case you'll feed it? Or does that mean it'll warm the battery if you put a charger in as the destination?

Fun fact: the charge cables on the high speed chargers are water cooled. There's that much energy being transferred.

Stopping once on a 350 mile trip isn't a hardship, really. So anything with 200+ miles of range would do that comfortably. You'd just have to make sure it was something that had access to a fast charger at that halfway point.

I'm assuming the Taycan is like a Model 3 on the highway, remarkably serene because you've lost all that engine noise. Might be less obvious on a concrete highway, though!

It is a very cool time to be a car enthusiast.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/28/20 6:49 p.m.

"Automatic" in that it knows if you're heading to a charger en route to your final destination. But I should confirm this with Tom. I was just the loose nut behind the wheel. 

Yes, I learned about the water-cooled cables. With the EA chargers, you can hear the pump. 

And, yeah, I'm not going 300+ miles without stopping to pee. 

Olemiss540
Olemiss540 New Reader
1/28/20 7:45 p.m.

Crazy what only 170 THOUSAND dollars will buy you these days. Robb Report is going to sell a crapton of these.

228 miles? Why not buy a fancy enclosed golf cart for trips to Starbucks and just take the private plane when you have to hit the road. That is the demographic being sought right?

I am sure these will be highly collectable and be listed at 20k over MSRP once they hit the used market.

mattm
mattm Reader
1/28/20 9:19 p.m.

Very excited to see the Taycan tested but kinda disappointed about a couple of items.   Look, I get that Porsche needs to put some counter EPA info out there because of the low range, but this idea of not hypermiling but being ‘reasonable’ isn’t very descriptive of the limitations being placed on how the cars were driven. Perhaps the most egregious is the continued comparison to a 60k model 3 performance when the cheapest car in the comparison is 2x the price. 

Dave M
Dave M HalfDork
1/29/20 7:09 a.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

So I'd love to hear what it's like using the car on a road trip without the Porsche and EA engineers along to guide you. The Tesla charging network is everywhere! The EA network, not so much. I am the target market for this car (literally, I own an i3 already), and no way I'd get it until I knew I could rely on their charging network.

 

ThurdFerguson
ThurdFerguson Reader
1/29/20 8:38 a.m.

I'm curious about who is checking the pay chargers for accuracy?  Like the states do for gas pumps.  

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/29/20 10:49 a.m.
Dave M said:

In reply to David S. Wallens :

So I'd love to hear what it's like using the car on a road trip without the Porsche and EA engineers along to guide you. The Tesla charging network is everywhere! The EA network, not so much. I am the target market for this car (literally, I own an i3 already), and no way I'd get it until I knew I could rely on their charging network.

 

I don't think the experience would have been much different if driving solo. Here's a photo of the navi screen. Our final destination was a hotel across from Daytona International Speedway. The blue flag shows the upcoming EA charging station in Lake City, Florida. It's blue because that's where we need to stop. The white flag in Jacksonville shows another EA station. It's white because we won't need to stop there since we can grab enough juice in Lake City to make it to our final destination. 

Our friends from Porsche were mostly there to answer questions and show us how to plug in (and buy us a chicken sammich). We broke away from them on the final leg so we could find places to photograph the car. We got to the finish line (Daytona) totally okay. 

The EA vs. Tesla situation is like the old VHS/Betamax. Which one do you want to commit to? Tesla's decision to create their own network has a lot of merit. What will things look like in five years? Will they control even more of the EV market? Or will upstarts and others chip away? Interesting times. 

 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/29/20 10:50 a.m.
ThurdFerguson said:

I'm curious about who is checking the pay chargers for accuracy?  Like the states do for gas pumps.  

Good question and I don't know. Also, how do road taxes figure into this? When I buy gas at the pump, I pay taxes. When I juice, I don't. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
1/29/20 11:03 a.m.
David S. Wallens said:
 

Q: Is charging at home an option?

A: Yes, totally is. The charging rate will be slower but, in theory, you can leave every day with a full charge. As Tom learned us, a solar array on his roof provides free fuel. 

I love the potential synergy between solar and at-home EV charging. Yes, I know it doesn't work for people who live in apartments or caves or where the sun don't shine. It does offer real possibilities for a non-trival percentage of the population, including myself. I have solar on my Westfalia and it's magic how the sun can make ice cubes for me for as long as I have water to put in the freezer.

But unless you're charging during the day, it means you also need somewhere to store your electrons or you feed back into the grid and use it to "store" your electricial energy. The problem with the latter is that if the grid goes down, you can't use your solar power (source: FM has panels on the roof and has had grid failures). 

(I ran some rough numbers about what it would look like to have a dedicated battery bank for the EV that was half the capacity of the EV battery, but they were reaaaally rough so I've deleted it)

Kinda like buying a new EV vs picking up a used Accord on CL, it's hard to come up with the cost savings when you take the capital investment into account :) But it's a really interesting concept.

ZOO
ZOO UltraDork
1/29/20 11:04 a.m.

if I had the means I wouldn't hesitate to buy a Tesla or a Taycan.  We are supposed to get the ID3 in Canada, and I am certainly going to take a long look at it when we are due to replace the GTI.

It is an exciting time to be an enthusiast -- even if the paradigm is shifting without a clutch . . .

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/29/20 11:05 a.m.

Ignore the fancy Photoshop. Remember, I'm not the art department.

So, I wondered, what if we were driving a Tesla for this trip? Here we can compare maps. Tesla operates way, way more chargers, but either option offers some en route from Atlanta to Daytona--basically along I-95 and in Lake City and Jax. Move away from the interstates and, yeah, advantage Tesla. 

Be interesting to see how these maps change in the next year or two, especially as EA has only been around since late 2016.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
1/29/20 11:05 a.m.
David S. Wallens said:
ThurdFerguson said:

I'm curious about who is checking the pay chargers for accuracy?  Like the states do for gas pumps.  

Good question and I don't know. Also, how do road taxes figure into this? When I buy gas at the pump, I pay taxes. When I juice, I don't. 

Some states have a surcharge on registration fees for EVs. Colorado is one.

Also - dirty secret - the gas taxes are way too low right now, and more efficient vehicles are only making that worse. It needs to be revisited across the entire fleet and there's no good way to do it. The best way is also a scary one - miles driven x weight / number of axles, which means tracking or at least annual odometer verification.

Dave M
Dave M HalfDork
1/29/20 11:09 a.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

That's a great point, and thanks for the detailed reply! Betamax was better than VHS, lest we forget....an apt comparison, perhaps.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/29/20 11:10 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Realistically, our tree canopy is probably too thick for solar. Keeps the a/c bill down, though. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/29/20 11:13 a.m.
Dave M said:

In reply to David S. Wallens :

That's a great point, and thanks for the detailed reply! Betamax was better than VHS, lest we forget....an apt comparison, perhaps.

Thanks and, true. Guess the market gets to decide. 

The big take-home here: A week ago, not sure I would have signed up to go on a road trip in an EV. Upon arriving in Daytona on Friday, I would have driven it to the West Coast. I knew we'd be fine. 

Dave M
Dave M HalfDork
1/29/20 11:13 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

The easy way is just to expand it to a carbon tax and then use income-based rebates to make it less regressive. I think NY is the closest to doing it this way.  Of course, given the various subsidies, a harmonized approach across state and federal level is the way to optimize the system, but we don't do harmonized regulation here.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
1/29/20 11:19 a.m.
Dave M said:

In reply to David S. Wallens :

That's a great point, and thanks for the detailed reply! Betamax was better than VHS, lest we forget....an apt comparison, perhaps.

So it all comes down to whichever one is adopted by porn...

Then again, we've managed to survive with ICE vehicles running on at least four or five different types of fuel, some of which are completely incompatible. So maybe it's gasoline vs diesel instead of Betamax vs VHS. And we know how that turned out!

Betamax vs VHS went right back to the source, complete incompatibility of both tapes and players from the moment they were produced. If a video store wanted to stock a movie, it had to choose one or the other and there was no savings in choosing both. That's not the case with an EV charging station, it's the same cost to get the power to the station. The only difference is right at the recharge point, it's not like Tesla and EVs use a different kind of electron. So it's even easier than gasoline vs diesel. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/29/20 11:24 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Good point. 

So you think we'll see a single charging station offering both Tesla and EA electrons? (And do they even have any shared stations at this point?)

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
1/29/20 11:48 a.m.

I think we will see it, the same way we already see multiple charging types at an EA station. I don't know if it's been done yet though. Interestingly, EA does appear to be using Tesla energy storage at some stations so they can offer higher levels of peak power than can be supplied by the grid. 

Before we see them sharing stations, we'll likely see stations that are very close to each other. Like Conoco and Esso gas stations across the street from each other. That's probably already the case. From a user standpoint, that's no different than having both at the same station.

Another apt comparison might be iPhone vs Android. There's a similar level of, umm, enthusiasm about that. But bear with me.

Tesla, by owning the whole experience, has greater control. The car knows where the stations are. You pull up, the car opens its charge port and you slot the plug home. Done. No payment, no messing around with different adapters or apps. It's a Supercharger, you know it will work. Costs are (I believe) consistent across the network, and Tesla can turn on free Supercharging for a car as part of a promotion or a perk. It feels very easy and futuristic. But it only works for Teslas, and it may not scale as Tesla goes from being the biggest producer of EVs to one of the biggest producers of EVs to not being one of the biggest producers of EVs.

EA is trying to service a whole range of cars. You need to use an app to unlock it - Porsche sent an engineer along on your trip to make sure it would happen- and they're still a little dodgy at times. Costs vary and can be a little opaque because they're tied to charging speed which isn't always consistent. There have been problems with credit card payments (vs app) because of the length of the transaction or at least how EA implements it. The whole experience is a little rougher around the edges because it's having to service so many different users and cars. Even Teslas can use it if they have the right adapter. It will likely never be as slick as the walled garden approach, but it will likely be more universal. It feels more like dealing with a gas station, just less smelly.

Here's a fun thought - there has to be some communication between the charger and the car. I'm sure there is. Is this an attack vector for malware?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/29/20 11:57 a.m.

Another thought: Modern convenience stores seem to be more about the food than the gas. How long before a charging station at every Wawa, Love, 7-11, etc.?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
1/29/20 12:07 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:

Ignore the fancy Photoshop. Remember, I'm not the art department.

So, I wondered, what if we were driving a Tesla for this trip? Here we can compare maps. Tesla operates way, way more chargers, but either option offers some en route from Atlanta to Daytona--basically along I-95 and in Lake City and Jax. Move away from the interstates and, yeah, advantage Tesla. 

Be interesting to see how these maps change in the next year or two, especially as EA has only been around since late 2016.

Clarification for those who don't know the Tesla icons - red are Superchargers. Light grey are future Superchargers. Dark grey are "destination chargers", basically Level 2 chargers at places like hotels so you car can charge overnight. So you basically only look at the red icons for road trip purposes. Tesla still has a clear network advantage, but it's not as overwhelming as it appears on first glance.

With the EA stations, you may have to filter for your particular type of charger. For example, if your car only uses Chadmo and not CCS, then you need to know if that station has the former. Teslas can use Chadmo (with a $450 adapter) but they cannot use CCS in this country AFAIK. I don't know what the Taycan can use, but other cars like Bolts and Leafs will definitely be paying attention to charger type.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/29/20 12:09 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Just a slight clarification: The EA tech didn't travel with us. He just met us in Lake City to monitor the situation as the Taycan is new to the world and can charge faster than the average bear. Porsche sent along PR people. What do you call a journalist without a PR person nearby? Sober and hungry. (That's a joke.)

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
1/29/20 12:12 p.m.

Either way, Porsche made sure there was a tech standing beside the charger when you were charging.

Of course you had PR people :) Honestly, going along on rides with journos is a perk of that job. I enjoy it. Except for the ones who can't drive, that's less fun...

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/29/20 12:14 p.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

That's what I found interesting, too: While there are way more Tesla chargers out there, the EA grid is nearly strong enough for the common road trip--and it's new, too. 

Drive a Tesla crosscountry today? Sure. The Taycan or something that's tied to the EA network? Sure.

"But what if I want to drive circles in the middle of rural..."

Well, EVs can't do everyhing yet.

I'm guessing that this is what it felt like owning a car a hundred years ago. 

mfennell
mfennell Reader
1/29/20 12:22 p.m.

I feel I should point out that Keith and David are specifically talking about very high speed chargers.  These are direct DC chargers.  Tesla has a proprietary standard.  Porsche uses the SAE CCS standard, as does everyone else except Nissan (who uses CHAdeMO, which is the real loser in the fast-charge standards wars).  For lesser charging, the cars all have on-board chargers that accept 120/240 AC. 

For normal AC charging up to about 10kW (again, using the on-board chargers), everyone uses SAE J1772 and Tesla provides an adapter to it.  European Model 3s come standard with a J1772/CCS charge port.

 

EDIT:  I'm not in the market but I'm psyched to read that the EPA numbers appear to be very low.  Your drive, as described, would NEVER be anything close to rated range in any other EV.  In fair weather (no HVAC, no precip) both my e-golf and Volts would have hit rated range with the cruise control set around 68mph.  From reading, that number is 65ish with a Tesla S or 3.  

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
1/29/20 1:04 p.m.

Yes, high speed chargers are what make road trips beyond the car's range possible. Anything else and you're realistically looking at an overnight stop - which is legit, if you can arrange for charging there and you were planning on stopping anyhow!

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/29/20 1:09 p.m.

Just looking at my 2019 calendar. If I had a car that could go 250-300 miles per charge, during the entire year I would have had to recharge about half a dozen times while on the road--and we basically live on an island, meaning we're regularly driving an hour each way to see friends, hear music, etc. 

shane86
shane86 New Reader
1/29/20 1:23 p.m.

So you're stuck in a Wal-Mart parking lot with a six figure car for an hour. What did you do?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/29/20 1:32 p.m.
shane86 said:

So you're stuck in a Wal-Mart parking lot with a six figure car for an hour. What did you do?

Looked at piñatas, mostly. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/29/20 1:33 p.m.

But, really, it should have been closer to a 15-minute stop. Charging the car back to nearly full ate up the extra time. For science. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/29/20 1:35 p.m.

Some more Walmart photos for the rest of the class:

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/29/20 1:38 p.m.

The 911 was our chase car. (In reality, it's an employee's company lease, and he used the Daytona trip to rack up some break-in miles.)

The blue Turbo w/ the Turbo S wheels was the other chase car. The Turbo S wheels look good on there.

And did I mention that it was raining? 

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
1/29/20 1:59 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:

But, really, it should have been closer to a 15-minute stop. Charging the car back to nearly full ate up the extra time. For science. 

It was older tech, but during my ownership experience my car would 'DC quick charge' very quickly to about 80% and then begin to taper off the charging rate.  Charging past 90% slowed dramatically to the point that it wasn't worth waiting for; in fact, I seem to remember that a software limitation may have even prevented DC charging to 100%.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/29/20 2:04 p.m.

In reply to nderwater :

Same thing here, basically. Tom's article has more details. 

If simply trying to get from Atlanta to Daytona, we could have quick charged up to about 80% and gotten back on the road. Tom (my co-driver) wanted to recharge back to 98% so he could better monitor our efficiency. 

Fifteen minutes at Walmart would have been enough time to make a pit stop, grab a bite, and maybe walk around for a few minutes. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
1/29/20 3:44 p.m.

That's just physics, the last 20% go a lot slower. 
 

On our road trips, we've gone shopping (at Athleta, not so much Wal-Mart), had ice cream and stopped for a good dinner. You plan for it. 

We haven't actually visited a charger since October. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/29/20 6:10 p.m.

Totally unrelated, but if you're enjoying the conversation, please share it with your friends.


Thanks!

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/30/20 10:02 a.m.

From the GRM Facebook page:

 

 

Rock on, Jason. Rock on. 

300zxfreak
300zxfreak New Reader
2/11/20 8:02 a.m.

I don't profess to be an electrical guy, I know enough to be dangerous. But, I have read before that the current grid/infrastructure is pretty much stressed to the limit currently ( what great wordplay here). I wonder what the increase in demand due to EVs is likely to be. Rolling brownouts/blackouts ??

Anyone ?

STM317
STM317 UltraDork
2/11/20 8:50 a.m.
300zxfreak said:

I don't profess to be an electrical guy, I know enough to be dangerous. But, I have read before that the current grid/infrastructure is pretty much stressed to the limit currently ( what great wordplay here). I wonder what the increase in demand due to EVs is likely to be. Rolling brownouts/blackouts ??

Anyone ?

I think the "stress on the grid" argument is overblown.

Yale says we pretty much have enough power now, just need to be smarter about how/where we use it.

This study says that the majority of us would be fine RIGHT NOW if every ICE suddenly became an EV overnight, as long as charging is done off-peak hours. Obviously, it's not likely that the entire fleet will ever be all EVs, and it would take decades to come to fruition giving time to make some changes/upgrades. It's also important to remember that it's not like every EV will be charging at the same time. ICE powered vehicles go days at a time without refueling. A 200-300 mile EV can do the same thing, either charging just a little every night, or charging from "empty" to "full" once very few days. It's not like every 100KwH EV will need 100Kwh of charging every day. They might charge 10Kwh every night, or charge the full 100 KwH once every 10 days.

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
2/11/20 9:04 a.m.

The power grid isn't the same as, say, gasoline distribution. The latter is all about total product delivery - if a region needs 10000 gallons per day, you have to deliver 10000 gallons per day. That might be in one trainload of 10000 gallons, or 10 1000 gallon trucks (obviously these numbers are illustrative only, I haven't checked to see how big a truckload is). You just have to make sure your delivery rate over time keeps up with useage, and you can use storage to even out the supply.

The grid is more concerned with peak use. If part of the grid needs to pull 1 MW at peak, that means it has to be built to deliver 1 MW at any given time. It's almost never used to peak capacity, and if demand drops below 1 MW there is unused capacity. EVs can be smart about their charging, doing the majority of their consumption at off-peak hours. They could even theoretically communicate with each other and the grid itself. Really, they can smooth out the use of the grid so it runs at a more consistent load. A mid-day charging stop is the exception rather than the rule, whilst it's the other way around with ICE vehicles.

People see news reports of lineups at chargers at peak periods (holiday weekends, for example) and assume that's what it's normally like. But there's all this invisible charging going on that a lot of people don't realize, that the EVs are powering up when they're resting.

Almost off topic - the house next to us is for sale. Last weekend, there was a couple with a Model 3 looking at it. They were followed by a couple with a Leaf. Then came a guy on a Harley. I have extrapolated from this that 2/3 of the vehicles in our town are EVs and the other 1/3 are deliberately anachronistic noisemakers :) 

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
2/11/20 12:44 p.m.

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