I’m pretty sure we’re all on the same page when it comes to EVs. They’re the end of ICE-powered cars as we know them, and for the most part are bland, uninspired interpretations of the automobile that suck all emotion from the driving experience.
But while EVs have assumed the basic shapes of cars, they shouldn’t be judged and compared to what we have known up until now. Approached as a whole new thing, I have found EVs to be just as fun as ICE cars, but in different ways.
When I last sampled Tesla’s Model S a few years ago, it was immediately apparent that once the EV recipe was nailed, we’d have something quite special on our hands. Now, thanks to Porsche, I’m pretty sure we’re there.
I met the Porsche Japan representative at a flashy new EV pick-up area inside their central Tokyo HQ, where a Taycan Turbo S was waiting. The quick-charge parking spots made me feel like I was in the future, but the massive Taycan looked less like a heartless transportation module and more like something that exudes excitement and begs to be driven. And for the next four days, that’s what I’d be doing. I was more that excited to see how far the performance EV game has come since my Tesla drive.
What followed was disorientation and confusion. Slipping into the minimalistic cabin surrounded by touchscreens, I selected ‘D’ on the shifter and hovered away in silence. Or at least that’s how it felt.
There was an eerie, alien ship-like sound coming from around the car and through the speakers. I found out later that you can select whether this artificial soundtrack is on or off, but I sort of liked it.
Before getting into the shoot, I stopped by one of my favorite coffee spots in Tokyo, right opposite the T-site in Daikanyama, which itself has become quite famous for its monthly Sunday morning meets.
As I alternated between latte sips and my camera, I couldn’t help but appreciate the work that Porsche, along with its consultants (namely Rimac), have done with the Taycan.
This isn’t a toy for early adopters willing to put up with shoddy build quality and suspect software just so they can be part of a movement. The Taycan is an extremely well-engineered performance monster that Porsche was probably more serious about than any other car it makes. It had to make a statement and that it makes loud and clear.
It shows just how serious EVs can be if a legacy manufacturer goes all-in.Warp Speed Unleashed
Unlike most sports cars that I’m fortunate enough to drive, I approached the Taycan with some restraint. I didn’t want to mash the throttle to the floor in its most extreme drive setting right away; I wanted to feel and get to know the car first.
I felt I owed that to the team of engineers that have made this such a good driver’s car despite its massive weight and huge physical size.
It feels like a Porsche, it steers like one, and as I soon found out, it goes better than any other Porsche I’ve ever driven.
Maybe it’s the effortless way in which the acceleration hits, but a car has never left me gob-smacked like the Taycan did. The fist time I asked 100% from it, I was absolutely shocked. It was like driving an 800hp R34 Skyline GT-R with a big single turbo, but with the full-boost force coming on in a split second and never relenting throughout the entire rev range.
From that moment on I was tapping into its maximum thrust at every opportunity.
I spent the next few days giggling like a child with a new expensive toy, looking forward to every drive knowing that I’d be able to put my body through some serious acceleration forces.
Electric is fun. Electric is addictive.
My kids fell for the car as quickly as I did, baptising it ‘The DeLorean’ and asking me to floor it from every junction so we could go… ‘Back To The Future.’
Needless to say, I was happy to oblige.
I’m someone who has an interest in what the world now consider ‘old’ cars, but I’m in no way trying to hold onto the past. Old cars should exist, and if you’re lucky enough to run and enjoy a classic or modern classic, then that’s what you should do.
But when it comes to new cars, I think we should commend the auto manufacturers that allow their designers and tech guys to push the boundaries. I mean, look at this cabin.
You open the door and you know you’re in a Porsche. The essence is there, but it’s like some crazy executive at Stuttgart signed off on a concept car interior for a production model. The layout takes a little while to get used to, but as with most things you adapt to it all pretty fast.
This is what you expect a car like the Taycan to look like inside. There are no mediocre or boring approaches; nothing is conservative. Porsche went full-out, and you know it upon first glance.To EV Or Not To EV?
I’ve touched on the Taycan’s ballistic acceleration, which is of course the thing most concentrate on as it’s so wild, but I would like to emphasise just how well the whole package is put together.
The handling is rewarding; it feels really sorted and then – like every EV car – the Taycan does that trick where it hides its weight thanks to its batteries being in the floorpan. I only ever really noticed the car’s sheer mass under braking, and even then Porsche has equipped the thing with the biggest brake package I’ve ever seen on a production car, so there are definitely no issues with its stopping ability.
Then there’s the traction. It rained for 90% of the time I had the Taycan, but that wasn’t much of an issue as its 1,050Nm and 750hp is unleashed so effectively. There’s a slight four-wheel loss of traction, but then it just hooks up and in the split second it takes you to get to 80km/h shifts seamlessly into second gear. At the 2.8-second mark you’ve hit 100 km/h, and you can repeat that all day long if you wish, something I did. It’s so addictive.
‘What about the range?’ I hear you ask. According to Porsche, it’s just under the 400km mark; I had the car for four days in total and covered 290km around the city and highways, and never needed to charge it. I drove it hard, too.
Speaking of charging, living in Japan means I have one of the most well-developed EV support networks at my disposal. I’m never too far from a fast charger and most supermarkets and department stores have 200V slow chargers to trickle up your battery while you shop. The bigger highway stops have a couple, if not more fast chargers, so longer journeys are totally doable as long as you plan ahead.
And so, after four days this is how I spent my last night with the car. On my final drive home before dropping the Taycan back to Porsche the next morning, I stopped by the closest fast charger – at Nissan Prince – where I plugged in at 22% remaining battery. Within 30 minutes it was back to around 80% charge. Porsche will soon have their own chargers at bigger dealerships across Tokyo and Japan, so it’s going to get even easier.
Buy price aside, which is pretty astronomical at around ¥30mil (approx US$270,000) for the car I drove, everything about the Taycan Turbo S is exactly what I would want in a daily-driven family cruiser. It’s basically a hypercar, a grocery getter and an eco machine all rolled into one. It makes so much sense that it’s hard to argue with, and from a purely enthusiast perspective, there is nothing about this car that you’d miss from an ICE-powered one.
Dino Dalle Carbonare