The Tesla Model S has been sitting on top of the full-sized electric sedan market for a while now — and for good reason. The vehicle, after all, has played a huge part in changing the public’s perception of what electric cars are capable of. Fast, sleek, and equipped with real range, the Model S is a true no-compromises vehicle.
Among all the competitors for the Model S, there is one that is being developed to compete directly with the electric car. That is the Porsche Taycan, formerly known as the Mission E sedan. The Taycan made its debut during the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, and it has captured the imagination of EV enthusiasts ever since. Porsche is yet to unveil the production version of the Taycan, though it has several camouflaged units doing real-world tests today.
Porsche appears to be a legacy automaker that is really serious about making the Taycan a successful vehicle — so much so that the company actually released the car’s specs earlier this year. That said, how does the Taycan compare to the golden standard of four-door electric sedans? Here’s a brief comparison.
The Tesla Model S was initially released with an RWD option, though all variants of the vehicle today are now Dual Motor AWD. The Model S uses three-phase, four pole AC induction motors with copper rotors as its powertrain. The car is also equipped with a drive inverter with variable frequency drive and regenerative braking system.
In contrast, Porsche is using permanently excited synchronous motors (PSM) for the Taycan. In true Porsche tradition, the PSM motors are race-bred, having been used in the Porsche 919 Hybrid racecar. Naser Abu Daqqa, Porsche’s director of electric drive systems, notes that the coils used in the Taycan’s PSM motors are “made of wires that aren’t round, but rather rectangular, making it possible to pack the wires more tightly and get more copper into the coil machines—increasing power and torque with the same volume.”
Batteries and Charging
Tesla’s battery packs hold the standard as some of the finest in the industry. With the Model S, Tesla is using 75 kWh or 100 kWh microprocessor controlled, lithium-ion batteries. The Model S also uses 18650 cells as the components of its packs, which allow the vehicle to reach up to 315 miles per charge. The Tesla Model S is fully compatible with the ~120 kW Supercharger Network, which currently has more than 10,900 stalls worldwide.
The Porsche Taycan is set to use lithium-ion batteries as well. In a press release about the vehicle, the German legacy automaker noted that it would use 4-volt cells in the Taycan’s 800-volt battery pack. Porsche is designing the Taycan for rapid charging at speeds of up to ~350 kW through the upcoming IONITY Network, whose initial construction is underway.
The Tesla Model S has a reputation for being a family sedan that can humiliate supercars on the drag strip. The Model S P100D, the vehicle’s top trim, is capable of going from 0-60 mph in just 2.4 seconds with its Ludicrous Mode upgrade. The vehicle’s top speed is software-limited to 155 mph.
Porsche notes that the Taycan would have a 0-60 mph time of 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 155 mph. While this is not as quick as the top-tier Model S P100D, Porsche maintains that the Taycan would be able to handle extended track driving — an area that the Model S does not excel in. Porsche appears to be putting its foot where its mouth is with the Taycan’s track capabilities, as the vehicle has been spotted testing in the Nurburgring multiple times over the past few months.
Tesla is noted for its Autopilot driver-assist system and firmware updates that add features to its vehicles. This was particularly exhibited last year when the company opted to “uncork” the 75D and 100D variants of the Model S and Model X, which lowered the vehicles’ 0-60 mph times. Tesla CEO Elon Musk also noted during the company’s Q2 2018 earnings call that Software V9 would be coming soon, which should introduce the first features of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving suite.
Porsche plans to feature the same system for the Taycan. In an interview with Autocar at the Geneva Motor Show, Porsche chairman Oliver Blume stated that the automaker is also looking to give the Taycan (then called the Mission E sedan) firmware upgrades that improve the car’s performance. Blume also alluded to some degree of self-driving for the vehicle, stating that “there are situations in traffic jams where you will be able to read a newspaper, but our customers take pleasure from driving and this will remain.”
The Tesla Model S features a lot of space for cargo. The vehicle has a total cargo volume of 31.6 cu ft, comprised of 5.3 cu ft in the frunk, and 26.3 cu ft at the rear. With the back seats folded, the Model S features a very spacious 58.1 cu ft, which is enough to fit an inflatable twin mattress, for those times when drivers would prefer to sleep in their vehicles.
Porsche has not revealed the storage capacity of the Taycan yet, but Stefan Weckbach, the head of electric vehicles at the company, did mention that the car would have 100 liters of storage in the frunk. That’s about 3.53 cu ft, which is smaller than the Model S.
The Model S 75D (the current base model) starts at $74,500, though higher trims like the supercar-slaying P100D could cost as much as $135,000. On the other hand, Porsche expects the Taycan to start at around the ~$75,000 – $85,000 range, putting it close to the price of an entry-level Panamera.
The Tesla Model S is currently available for purchase, though there are rumors that a refresh featuring an updated interior would be rolled out within the next few quarters. The Porsche Taycan, on the other hand, is expected to start production sometime in 2019, with deliveries likely hitting their stride around 2020.