Electric cars want to match high performance with super-fast charging

By Bloomberg Pursuits, February 4 2019
Electric cars want to match high performance with super-fast charging

Zero-to-100km/h times are shorthand for what anybody buying a Porsche is supposed to care about. But with the all-electric Taycan due out later this year, Porsche executives are talking up a less-exhilarating metric: getting to 100km of charge.

Stepping into the world of electric cars is making even the most hallowed performance brands rethink how they market their vehicles, and Porsche is no exception. At peak, the Taycan will be able to add more than 100km miles of charge in four minutes, thanks to an 800-volt battery that can absorb fast-charging rates of up to 350 kilowatts.

That’s quicker than Tesla owners can achieve at the company’s 120-kilowatt supercharging stations, which can bring batteries to about an 80 percent charge in roughly 30 minutes.

“Getting into a car and doing 0-to-100km/h in less than three seconds - can you really differentiate yourself if you do it in 2.8 seconds, and the other can do it in 2.7?," suggests Klaus Zellmer, the head of Porsche Cars North America. “There are other factors that will gain importance, such as charging time.”

That may sound like blasphemy to some Porsche enthusiasts. But charging times will be a key selling point for automakers trying to coax consumers into overcoming their fear of being stranded with a dead battery.

Porsche’s new four-door sedan is part of a pack of luxury electric vehicles, along with Audi’s E-Tron and Jaguar’s I-Pace, that are looking to capture some of Tesla’s industry-defying magic.

And while an estimated 90 percent of electric-vehicle charging happens at home, a public charging infrastructure is also being developed from shopping centres to highways, with start-up Chargefox building out a network of 350kW charging stations.

Having long-distance charging is perhaps less relevant for Porsche owners, Zellmer said, since most will own multiple cars and could take another out of the garage if they’re worried about needing to plug in. Still, he said, Porsche has to do it to "comfort" potential buyers.

Driven by regulatory mandates and a profound sense of existential anxiety over Tesla’s market capitalization, automakers are pouring billions into the battery-powered cars. Porsche will spend US$6.8 billion by 2022 on electrification and has said more than half its line up will have a plug by 2025.

Porsche is feeling confident, boosting global production capacity for the Taycan to 40,000 from an original 20,000 units in response to strong demand.

Bloomberg Pursuits

Bloomberg Pursuits curates the best in cars, food, drinks, travel, watches and more for the modern globally-minded executive, and is republished under licence by Executive Traveller.

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