Charger fear in the electrical world

by John J. Williams

There is a new challenge for electric driving in Australia.

Automakers are quickly tackling the original challenge, the distance scare, with cars that can travel more than 400 miles between plug-in innovations.

There is no solution yet for number two – the safety threat of silent cars.

And now comes the charger anxiety. It’s number three, but with a bullet.

It touches me as I take a second look and drive the Porsche Taycan.

This time it’s the ‘cheap’ Taycan, just $156,300 and sprinting to 100km/h in just 5.4 seconds, but now part of a five-piece Taycan lineup that surpasses the full lineup of classic 911 sports cars in Australia.Charger fear in the electrical world

There’s a lot to enjoy in basic Taycan until I come face to face with charger anxiety.

I am lucky to arrive first at the closest plug-in station to my home, near a major airport.

But – there are only three chargers, and only one is suitable for the Taycan.

Then a Tesla Model 3 arrives, and I have to break the news – as he wants the same plug – that it will be at least 30 seconds.

Luckily it’s an urban area, and he uses the Tesla’s computer to track an alternative charger.

But imagine if I had arrived second. And we were in a country town. With again a single plug-in point.

So my day would potentially be ruined by a 30-second delay in my journey.

If it gets third or worse, with the current charging infrastructure, it gets even worse…

That’s charger anxiety and it won’t go away anytime soon.

Fortunately, the Taycan 400-plus reads on the range meter with a full dose of electrons, making it – just like the Audi e-tron GT – one of the best current electrics.

Porsche has done a brilliant job at the base Taycan and even announced its arrival with a pop art paint job by artist Nigel Sense on one of the cars.

Mine is quite dull in the bodywork, a deep auburn, and it’s the same with the equipment list and performance.

The Taycan has only one electric motor, much less than the higher-end models in the lineup, although it still has a heated steering wheel.

All the basics are the most important, and it’s good — in many ways — not to get distracted by too many trinkets.

The performance of the Taycan Turbo S, which can easily press your head into the seat in a flat-out sprint, seems over the top at $345,800.

The comfort is everything I remember – and expect – from a Porsche, the dashboard is clear and simple with large screens, the sound system is good, there is room for five adults (for next to nothing), and it is extremely quiet at all speeds.

The youngster wants the artificial ‘electric sound’ as we drive, and I’d like to get rid of the overly active lane assist, but the heads-up display is great, and the headlights are just brilliant.

The ride is softer than I expected but very plush, although the Sport setting still stiffens things up and gives a more throttle response.

Carrying the charging cable takes up a lot of luggage space, and I wouldn’t say I like that there’s no electrical ‘braking’ when you let go of the accelerator. It’s far too easy to go over the speed limit on a descent, and I brake much more often than I expect – and like to – in traffic. Porsche says its drivers prefer it, but using gearshift paddles for regenerative braking would be preferable, like many other electric cars.

My time with the Taycan is good, though not nearly as memorable as the rocket-powered Turbo S, and proof that electrification can be simple and effective.

Still, the Audi e-tron is an impressive rival, and you get more for the same money.

Always provided you can find a charger, of course…

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