The electric Porsche Taycan has an EPA estimated range of 201 miles. This has generated some controversy. Partly, this is Porsche’s own fault for creating false expectations by suggesting it would have a range of 300 miles a few years ago. Beyond that, it doesn’t compare well to other EVs on the market, even ones that cost much less, which is pretty much all of them, because the Taycan starts at $103,800.
To which I say: 201 miles is fine.
Is it less than every Tesla model? Yes, it is. But that’s partially because Porsche is not willing to make the trade-off between range and reliability that Tesla is, as contributor Mack Hogan has explained.
But few if any (zero) prospective Taycan customers are eyeing a Bolt. These are, by and large, going to be folks with multiple cars at their disposal. They will be buying the Taycan because they’re a Porsche enthusiast, or an EV enthusiast, or a collector. Maybe they’re a rich person who wants an EV but doesn’t trust Tesla. The point is, they will generally be a person with lots of money who owns gas cars too, cars they can use on the very few trips for which a 201-mile range is not enough.
And, I will emphasize, there are very few such trips. According to the National Household Travel Survey from 2017, the latest year for which data is available, only 4.9 percent of vehicle trips had a distance of 31 miles or more. The majority, 54.5 percent of trips, were four miles or fewer. Even taking into account that EVs will make multiple trips before having the chance to charge up, for most people driving more than 200 miles in one day is a rare occurrence.
Which gets to a broader point about the way we talk about EVs. We tend to interrogate their capabilities against every possible use case. What if I want to drive my EV into the middle of the forest and back? What if I need my EV for 1,000 miles per day of driving and don’t have time to stop and charge? What if I need to get from Los Angeles to San Francisco without stopping?
Sure, there are some people for whom EVs won’t work, and there are some cases where EVs don’t fit, like if you’re a traveling salesman in the mountain west or you often take the family on 750-mile road trips into the middle of nowhere.
But those cases are pretty rare. It’s even rarer that a family won’t have another car to use for those rare cases. And I don’t think any of those people can afford a Porsche. Sure, it may be a reason not to make an EV your only car, but the Taycan will not be anyone’s only car. A range of 201 miles is more than enough to go to work, take the kids to school, go shopping, go up to the ski or beach house for the weekend, and play with your new toy.