The future is quietly getting louder and thought is becoming reality at an unprecedented rate. Porsche is a pioneer in the electric car space in Trinidad and Tobago, recently installing a charging system at the Trinidad Hilton and securing a number of unit sales of the gorgeous new Taycan. But many are concerned about range and availability of charging stations. What could we do?
We decided to plan a challenge– Fort Lauderdale to Daytona Beach and back, in 24 hours!
We decided to plan a challenge– Fort Lauderdale to Daytona Beach and back, in 24 hours! Why not dive in and find out how well everything about electric cars works in the real world? After a 15-hour flight in from Dubai, I picked up the freshly-charged Neptune Blue Porsche Taycan 4S at Porsche Latin America’s Miami office. Thanks to my crypto-enthusiast (and fellow ‘Saints-man’) friend Dustin Cameron and his brother Stevie, I had a comfortable room to rest for the night in Plantation, Florida. While they got caught up on the latest boot camp videos on trading, this was a welcome bit of relaxation for me. Stevie’s home is beautiful, and even their dog Ginger is a joy to be around.
As a Porsche 911 convertible owner, we had to take Stevie for a run to experience the all-electric Taycan. We discussed it over dinner at the Cheesecake Factory in Sawgrass Mills (try their avocado egg rolls if you haven’t). The short journey there was surreal. At first, you are amazed by the quietness, there is no engine burble on startup, and no need to rev to hear how the engine sounds. There is, however, a curiously futuristic hum from the motors, which turns into an ascending whir as you accelerate. You instantly feel like you’re on the set of Back to the Future II or in an episode of The Jetsons.
There is, however, a curiously futuristic hum from the motors, which turns into an ascending whir as you accelerate. You instantly feel like you’re on the set of Back to the Future II or in an episode of The Jetsons.
Simply put, it is the sheer thrust generated that commands your attention. Especially when you launch it from a standstill in Sport Plus mode– blasting past 60mph in 3.8s, it just rockets into triple-digit speeds. It takes a mind- (and stomach-) warping 8.7 seconds to arrive at 100mph (160km/h), and the quarter mile can be done in a mere 12.3 seconds. Top speed is 250km/h. Basically, this is a 12-second, 155mph electric sports car, with four doors, two trunks, four-wheel-drive and zero gas bills. And for some added shock and awe, the front motor runs a single-speed transmission, while the rear runs with two speeds.
It takes a mind- (and stomach-) warping 8.7 seconds to arrive at 100mph (160km/h), and the quarter mile can be done in a mere 12.3 seconds.
I didn’t mind having some orientation time beforehand in the Taycan, so visiting family, Hot Wheels hunting, and trying to locate some local fast-charging outlets sorted that out. I tried one charging outlet at Sawgrass Mills, but it was unable to communicate with the Taycan. My second search ping led me to a Walmart SuperCenter. There, I spotted the green accent lighting that identifies Electrify America’s charging stations. A VW subsidiary, EA plans to double their outlets each year for the next two years. If you live in T&T, you will find the contrast between their green, and Tesla’s red Supercharger stations to be a familiar scenario between our local rival gas stations, and even our telecom providers.
I was already down to about 97 miles of range since picking up the car in Miami. The EA charging station’s power outlet offers up to 350kW and the connector is so large that I had to open the fast-charging (CCS connector) flap in the Taycan’s right-side receptacle, which isn’t present on its left-side unit. The Taycan's maximum DC charging capacity is 225kW and the Performance battery is rated at 79.2KWh. I swiped my card, plugged it in and the receptacle’s light flashed white a few times then turned green– this was a good sign! The station’s interface and the Taycan’s central screen were both corresponding perfectly. In less than 20 minutes we went from 47 per cent to 80 per cent charged, and by 32 minutes, it was around 97 per cent charged with around US$26 spent. The range was now up to 252 miles, perfect to start our road trip. Level 3 charging is the best!
In less than 20 minutes we went from 47 per cent to 80 per cent charged, and by 32 minutes it was around 97 per cent...
We had from that afternoon until the next morning to do the entire run. There was little margin for error. Naturally, I roped in some fellow swashbucklers! Contributing editor and personal security consultant (also firearm and accessory enthusiast), Nebert Marin, Ubered his way to the charging station, then we headed back to Plantation to pick up crypto-man Dustin, who was also game for experiencing the new Porsche Taycan on this real-world test! Fort Lauderdale to Daytona Beach was well over 200 miles. Surely, we would run out of range. Would we find a charging station in Daytona? This is the stuff adventures are made of.
We headed north and ended up on the I-95 instead of Florida’s Turnpike. But according to Google Maps, there were more charging points available on this route– so as we say in Trinidad, ‘Better fête!’. Our car had a SunPass, so we didn’t have to worry about any tolls, and with three occupants, we hopped into the HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lanes. Our drive was trouble-free. A few powerful regular road cars hung around our rear bumper or muscled up alongside, waiting to see… And every now and again we would hang back and then enjoy a quick burst of acceleration. We could only imagine how this looked to other drivers. A few of them retreated into the slower lanes, using their indicators. It felt like respect.
A few of them retreated into the slower lanes, using their indicators. It felt like respect.
Merging, passing and finding your way to the highway exit was never so easy– think of it, press, and it effortlessly happens. It’s Taycan-ic! In fact, you have to remain hyper-sensitive to your surroundings as things happen so quickly. Depending on the battery option you have, Performance or Performance Plus, you are able to slingshot forward with a maximum output of 430hp or 483hp while driving normally, and 523hp and 563hp worth of overboost power during launch control. Torque is all the way up at 472ft-lb and 479ft-lb, respectively. And it’s all available instantly. We drove in Sport Plus mode. This lowers the ride height and stiffens the three-chamber air suspension (with PASM) a bit, but the Taycan was at home on on-ramps, exits and long-sweeping highways, finding the perfect balance of compliance, progressive roll and overall grip. The steering felt fairly natural and communicative– way better than I expected.
Depending on the battery option you have, Performance or Performance Plus, you are able to slingshot forward with a maximum output of 430hp or 483hp while driving normally, and 523hp and 563hp worth of overboost power during launch control. Torque is all the way up at 472ft-lb and 492ft-lb, respectively.
It was a Tesla Supercharging station, with a Tesla engineer present. He was friendly and confirmed that the systems were not compatible.
We took the exit at Port St. Lucie for a bathroom break, lunch stop and some fast charging. When driving around town, you have to be especially careful on tight turns (like U-turns) where the car will respond instantly, it just grips and goes. We spotted a Chipotle and parked. After a short lunch, Dustin took the wheel. We missed the U-turn to go to the fast charger, and opted to go further north, assuming we’d find another station. We did. It was a Tesla Supercharging station, with a Tesla engineer present. He was friendly and confirmed that the systems were not compatible. We took our photos and resumed driving with 65 miles of range left. Things were beginning to look grim.
After some intense searching, we located a Porsche dealership in the town of Melbourne, about 40-odd miles away, surely they would have a fast charger! We drove in with just 24 miles of power left and, thankfully, they offered to help us out with their Level 2 (208–240v) charger around back. According to them, we did well. Some customers end up coming in with their Taycan on a tow truck. However all of their senior employees have Taycans as their daily drivers and have no issues as the range seems to increase as drivers adjust and the batteries are worked in.
We drove in with just 24 miles of power left and, thankfully, they offered to help us out...
This would at least be faster than a house plug (Level 1 – 120V). That hour and 20 mins felt like an eternity. Then, we were back to 120 miles of available range. At least we saw some other really cool Porsches in the process and we were able to check the progress of the charging via a Porsche app!
...we were able to check the progress of the charging via a Porsche app!
We found another EA Level 3 fast-charging station at 450 Townsend Road in Cocoa and were treated to a complimentary recharge for the next 35 minutes.
We passed the time chatting with two gents who arrived on electric Harley Davidson bikes, one of them was running for mayor and very interested in EVs and power management.
The centre console became a bit of a bugbear for us, as we all struggled to keep it open while plugging in our charging cables for our phones. Of course, we wouldn’t have to fiddle as much if we had updated USB-C cables, and… newer smartphones. It would be nice if it could stay open when we wanted. On long drives these things become issues. The glovebox was also very small. Counterpoint? You have a second truck (frunk?) up front! How’s that for practicality? We did appreciate how well the interface worked via Apple CarPlay as we were able to use Waze to navigate in addition to the car’s on-board system. And the vented cooling system for the front seats, those were unexpectedly good in the Florida heat.
We did appreciate how well the interface worked via Apple CarPlay as we were able to use Waze to navigate in addition to the car’s on-board system. And the vented cooling system for the front seats, those were unexpectedly good in the Florida heat.
Finally, at nearly 10pm, more than six hours after leaving Ft. Lauderdale, we arrived at my sister’s home in Daytona. My niece, Catalina, who stayed up past her bedtime waiting for my arrival, was overjoyed that we made the trip. Thanks to our shenanigans, we had missed dinner plans. I took my gearhead brother-in-law Craig for a drive, as he’d once owned an 11-sec Eagle Talon and builds ignition systems for high-performance cars. Launch control sunk him into the seat, and in a flash, triple digits came up. We immediately slowed, then he felt the capable 4WD system on a few tight corners. In a regular car, the noises tell you that the engine is working hard, you feel the jolt of the clutch, the oncoming grip of the tyres, and then the ebb and flow of the powerband while shifting through the gears. And all this would normally trigger your preparation for the incoming stomach lurches. But the Taycan 4S is more like a slingshot– in fractions of a second you’re at speed. The experience was bittersweet, and we all knew it signalled the end of an era.
... the Taycan 4S is more like a slingshot– in fractions of a second you’re at speed.
Our mission (after a solid hour’s power nap) was now to redo the entire journey, starting out around 2 a.m., but this time skipping all the extras. Nebert volunteered to take the first shift as our driver. We made our way down through the wee hours, recharged (for free) again at Cocoa, then again at the Walmart in Ft. Lauderdale. We were still excited but exhausted by then, and we had some breakfast with coffee nearby. Of course, I had to get to a one-hour PCR testing station before the flight, then return the car and go to the airport. What a crazy experience!
We made our way down through the wee hours, recharged (for free) again at Cocoa, then again at the Walmart in Ft. Lauderdale.
Parting thoughts... I want one. If the Panamera and the 911 had electric children, they would be Taycans. Porsche has the sports car side figured out– it feels and drives like a Porsche. But you still have to be precise when planning your reach on longer trips. Infrastructure is catching up, but slowly. Around-the-town drivers will likely set up a Level 2 charger at home. And given that 200 miles is around 320km of range, it is certainly enough to feel carefree on the average Caribbean island, especially for Trinidad where you can now enjoy recharging at Couva, UWI, the Porsche dealership and the Trinidad Hilton. And unlike the CNG infrastructure, there is no need to connect to a gas line, just the existing power grid.
Around-the-town drivers will likely set up a Level 2 charger at home. And given that 200 miles is around 320km of range, it is certainly enough to feel carefree on the average Caribbean island...
Finally, you can have performance, practicality and efficiency in a very desirable vehicle. And if you’re looking for even more utility, there’s also the Taycan Cross Turismo! Now all I need is a spare TT$1M-plus and I’m looking forward to an electric present– the future is now!
Technical Specifications: Porsche Taycan 4S
|Performance battery||Performance battery Plus|
|Battery||79.2 kWh||93.4 kWh|
|Electric motor, front axle||Permanently excited synchronous machine||Permanently excited synchronous machine|
|Electric motor, rear axle||Permanently excited synchronous machine||Permanently excited synchronous machine|
|Transmission, front axle||Single-speed transmission||Single-speed transmission|
|Transmission, rear axle||Two-speed transmission||Two-speed transmission|
|Drive system||Electric all-wheel drive with variable torque distribution and Porsche Traction Management (PTM)||Electric all-wheel drive with variable torque distribution and Porsche Traction Management (PTM)|
|Power Output||Up to 320kW (435PS / 430hp)||Up to 360kW (490PS / 483hp)|
|Overboost power for Launch Control||Up to 390kW (530PS / 523hp)||Up to 420kW (571PS / 563hp)|
|Maximum torque for Launch Control||640 Nm / 472ft-lb||650 Nm / 479ft-lb|
|Suspension and damping||Adaptive air suspension with three-chamber air springs including Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM)||Adaptive air suspension with three-chamber air springs including Porsche Active Suspension Management (PASM)|
|Front axle||Aluminium double wishbone front axle, independent suspension||Aluminium double wishbone front axle, independent suspension|
|Rear axle||Aluminium multi-link rear axle, independent suspension||Aluminium multi-link rear axle, independent suspension|
|Steering||Power steering; also available with rear-axle steering with power steering Plus||Power steering; also available with rear-axle steering with power steering Plus|
|Vehicle Stability System||Porsche Stability Management (PSM) with ABS and extended brake functions||Porsche Stability Management (PSM) with ABS and extended brake functions|
|Brake System||Six-piston aluminium monobloc fixed-calliper brakes at the front, four-piston aluminium monobloc fixed-calliper brakes at the rear; electric parking brake; multi-collision brake; auto-hold function||Six-piston aluminium monobloc fixed-calliper brakes at the front, four-piston aluminium monobloc fixed-calliper brakes at the rear; electric parking brake; multi-collision brake; auto-hold function|
|Brake discs, front axle||Grey cast iron brake discs, internally vented / 360mm x 36mm||Grey cast iron brake discs, internally vented / 360mm x 36mm|
|Brake discs, rear axle||Grey cast iron brake discs, internally vented / 358mm x 28mm||Grey cast iron brake discs, internally vented / 358mm x 28mm|
|Wheels with tyres, front||8.0 J × 19 ET 50 with tyres 225/55 R 19 103Y XL||8.0 J × 19 ET 50 with tyres 225/55 R 19 103Y XL|
|Wheels with tyres, back||10.0 J × 19 ET 47 with tyres 275/45 R 19 108Y XL||10.0 J × 19 ET 47 with tyres 275/45 R 19 108Y XL|
|Width (including mirrors)||1,966 mm (2,144 mm)||1,966 mm (2,144 mm)|
|Luggage compartment volumes (rear/front)||407 L / 84 L||407 L / 84 L|
|Unladen weight according to DIN||1,240kg||1,240kg|
|Permissible gross weight||2,880kg||2,880kg|
|Permissible roof load (with Porsche roof transport system)||75kg||75kg|
|0-60mph / 0-100km/h||3.8s / 4.0s||3.8s / 4.0s|
|0 – 400 m (1/4 mile)||12.3s||12.2s|
|Drag Coefficient||0.22 (range mode)||0.22 (range mode)|
|Range (min.–max. WLTP)||335 – 408 km||389 – 464 km|
|Power consumption (min.–max. WLTP)||25.6 – 21.0 kWh/100 km||26.0 – 21.9 kWh/100 km|
|Power consumption (NEDC combined)||26.2 kWh/100 km||26.2 kWh/100 km|
|Maximum DC charging capacity||225kW||270kW|
|Charging time AC at 11kW from 0-100%||8.0 hours||9.0 hours|
|Charging time DC at 50kW 5-80%||93 min||93 min|
|Charging time DC at Max. kW 5-80%||22.5 min||22.5 min|
Bonus Round 1: Dustin's Deductions!
Even though it is an electric car, you can't mistake the artistry of a Porsche. With this Taycan, the car looks good from every angle, every viewpoint. The ride is incredible, the handling is signature Porsche, but the power– the power of that electric system is second to none. The interior is futuristic, the dash, engaging. Once these become mainstream and charge time and availability nationwide becomes better, this car will have no issues on long drives. If you’re looking for some counter points, the interior spacing and comfort for all passengers can be improved. The middle compartment was cumbersome. But overall, it's a great car– and I expect nothing less from Porsche.
Bonus Round 2: Nebert's Notes!
The Taycan is striking to look at. In my opinion, the design language is couched more towards a sports car theme than a mere sedan. The most surprising thing about seeing it was coming to terms with the fact that it wasn’t white. It’s almost as if all the electric cars that I’ve seen before this one were all white. Even the Porsche Panamera comes in three different hues of white, so seeing this press car in Neptune Blue, a new colour for 2021, made the car even more appealing.
The interior was what I expected of a Porsche except for the digital instrument display which is a thin blade of awesome. I cannot describe it to you sufficiently for you to appreciate the theater that it adds. Sorry, you’re going to have to visit the dealership to see it first hand.
Ride comfort is exceptional. Even with the suspension in sport mode, on less than perfect tarmac, the ride quality is just the perfect amount of firmness and subtleness– almost as if the car was mapping the road surface ahead and adjusting itself nanoseconds before we drove over it. Whatever the technical innovations that ought to be credited for this, I like it very much.
The final thing that I will touch on having been on this road adventure is range. Being in Florida there are times when we take road trips just like the one we completed on this journey. And having to stop as often as we did for as long as we did to recharge the batteries was my least favorite thing about this car. But when I think about owning the Taycan in Trinidad, those concerns fall away because the range of this car is more than adequate for any long distance trip (and back) that we could embark on in Trinidad & Tobago.
Range anxiety won’t be an issue in Trinidad or Tobago even without public charging stations because leaving on a full charge from home, I could tour the entire country on a single charge. And the reality is that most people have never even done that, so daily driving or even a weekend getaway to Toco, or "quite-oh-quite" is comfortably doable in the Taycan.
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