Hybrids & Electrics

What’s Porsche Doing: Replacing All Taycan Batteries?

When the EPA posted the range for the new Porsche Taycan of 201 miles you knew something was going to happen. Porsche was not happy about the estimate and knows if it can’t squeeze a 300-mile range out of the Taycan it will greatly limit its appeal. Now comes word that Porsche has a battery pack upgrade planned for the Taycan 4S, Turbo, and Turbo S. Deliveries were just a couple of months ago so this is unusual for such a new model. So what’s Porsche doing? Will it be replacing all Taycan batteries?

We thought that the battery packs in the new Taycan were up to offer a good range. Two are offered; either the 79.2 kWh lithium-ion pack in the Taycan 4S or 93.4 kWh battery packs in the higher models. The former gives owners 523 hp while the latter starts at 563 hp. The Turbo model bumps it up to 670 hp and the Turbo S increases that to 750 hp.

A Taycan battery pack is a high-capacity unit which should translate into giving a good range

The 93.4 kWh combo is a high-capacity unit. In fact, it’s one of the highest. So its range should have been good, maybe even exceptional. Will Porsche just swap out battery packs? It is unknown whether the upgrade will be through changing them out or whether it will be through a software download. 

Porsche will hate the comparison but the Tesla Model S has almost 400 miles of range with the Long Range Plus option. It uses a 100-kWh battery pack. So Porsche’s batteries are close to the same capacity that Tesla is using. Why is there a 189-mile difference between it and the Taycan?

Once the EPA’s Taycan range was announced Porsche hired a third-party to do tests

Porsche Taycan Turbo battery system
Porsche Taycan Turbo battery system | Porsche

With the disappointing EPA numbers announced for the Turbo S, Porsche hired a third-party company to run range tests. The company is AMCI and it found the real-world range was actually 278 miles. While not the 373-mile range the Tesla Model S is rated at it’s definitely a better number.  Why such a big gap between what the EPA found and what AMCI came to?

Right now Porsche is mum about its plans. The news that it will be doing something related to its battery packs comes from a Twitter post. A customer purchased a Taycan Turbo and was told delivery would be delayed due to a battery update. Other than that there was no further information.

The Taycan has a very unique power system

2020 Porsche Taycan
2020 Porsche Taycan | Porsche

The unique advantage of the Taycan’s performance is in the power system. Rather than the typical 400-volt systems found on most EVs, the Taycan uses an 800-volt system. The reason is to be able to charge and discharge quickly which translates into higher performance and quicker charge time. Porsche says the Taycan can recharge to about 80% in 20 minutes. 

That said, both the Taycan and Model S share one thing in common; their respective battery packs weigh roughly the same. But the range isn’t comparable. So the Taycan is lugging around battery weight without the advantages it should provide. 

Adding more batteries to achieve better range is a loser

Put another way, to increase range relative to the Model S the Taycan would have to take on lots more batteries which translates into much more weight. That’s a losing proposition any way you look at it. 

So, Porsche needs to look for a way to compete with Tesla at the same level. Changing out the battery packs to more efficient units could be the answer. A very costly answer.