5 Ways the Tesla Model S is Better than the Porsche Taycan

  • Jeff Sabatini has written for many publications over his 20 years in automotive journalism, including Car and Driver, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Sports Car Market magazine. His lifetime car churn includes 30 vehicles: eight GM cars, five Ford products, four Toyotas, three BMWs, two Jeeps, two Chrysler minivans, a Miata, a Mercedes, a Porsche, a Saab, a Subaru, and a Volkswagen.

can be reached at jeffsab@gmail.com
  • Jeff Sabatini has written for many publications over his 20 years in automotive journalism, including Car and Driver, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Sports Car Market magazine. His lifetime car churn includes 30 vehicles: eight GM cars, five Ford products, four Toyotas, three BMWs, two Jeeps, two Chrysler minivans, a Miata, a Mercedes, a Porsche, a Saab, a Subaru, and a Volkswagen.

can be reached at jeffsab@gmail.com
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Porsche’s Taycan is not only the German carmaker’s first battery electric vehicle, but also a threat to Tesla’s hegemony. We’ve already outlined the 5 Ways the Porsche Taycan Turbo is Better than the Tesla Model S, but what about the other side of the argument?

Because indeed, this one cuts both ways. The comparison with the Model S is interesting precisely because it is one of the most impressive performance cars, ever. On sale since 2012, the Model S is a well-known entity — one that Porsche surely benchmarked, but didn’t necessarily beat. Here are the top five advantages the Model S still retains over the brand new Taycan.

Tesla lineup
Tesla has grown to be less of a niche brand than Porsche. (Photo: Tesla.com)

1. You can walk into a Tesla store — or sit down at your computer — and buy a Tesla today.

The days of Tesla waitlists ended with the Model 3 this year. There are plenty of cars now in the pipeline and deliveries of custom-ordered cars are being promised in just weeks. That goes for all three Tesla models, including the Model S Performance, which is the model that aligns closes with the new Taycan.

Porsche, on the other hand, has yet to actually deliver the first Taycan. When it does sometime later this year, supply will undoubtedly be scarce and reserved for those most loyal Porsche customers. Don’t expect every local Porsche dealer to have rows of Taycans sitting beside all those Cayennes — it is much more likely that interested parties are going to have to order a car and get in line. And if you want one of those less-expensive Taycan variants that have been promised — shades of the Model 3 — the wait will be even longer.

Tesla Model S
Can’t make up your mind between the Model S Performance and the Model 3 Performance? You can buy both for less than the Taycan Turbo S. (Photo: Tesla.com)

2. The Model S Performance is far less expensive than the Taycan Turbo or Turbo S.

Go ahead, point your web browser at Tesla.com and configure yourself a Model S Performance. Its base price is $101,190. Even with every box ticked, you’re looking at $116,190. This is a car that can go 0-60 mph in 2.4 seconds and carries an EPA-estimated range of 345 miles on a charge.

On the other hand, the Porsche Taycan Turbo starts at $150,900, which can only seem like a bargain if you’re comparing it to the Taycan Turbo S. For the $185,000 Porsche is asking for that top-of-the-line model, you can buy a loaded Model S Performance as well as a loaded Model 3 Performance. But this is all part of Porsche’s plan. It doesn’t really want to compete with Tesla in any direct way — Volkswagen Group will leave that to Audi and VW — but rather just siphon off the wealthiest of Tesla’s customers.

Tesla Supercharger Map
Tesla’s closed network is bigger than Electrify America’s, with over 750 stations throughout North America. (Image: Screen grab from Tesla.com)

3. Tesla has a better charging infrastructure.

On the day Porsche introduced the Taycan, it drove one 250 miles from Niagara Falls, New York, to a carefully selected charging station in Boomsburg, Pennsylvania. The publicity stunt was meant to show off the so-called “ultra-fast” charging capability of the car and the three years of free charging Porsche is offering on the Electrify America network. (Electrify America is another subsidiary of Volkswagen Group, which also owns Porsche.)

But this also calls attention to one of the huge drawbacks to buying any EV that is not a Tesla: Charging infrastructure. Tesla currently operates more than 7,000 of its proprietary Superchargers in North America at 750 stations. Electrify America is frantically installing DC fast charging stations across the country, but only expects to have about 480 of them complete by the end of the year, with some 2,000 actual chargers. Longer-range plans call for 800 stations and about 3,500 chargers by December 2021. And while Tesla owners can use an adapter to plug in at any Electrify America station, Tesla Superchargers are off limits to non-Tesla vehicles.

Taycan charging
Taycan owners should expect to spend more time plugged in than Model S owners. (Photo: Porsche)

4. The Model S Performance is more energy efficient than the Taycan Turbo or Turbo S.

One aspect of electric vehicles that often gets lost in the shuffle of battery pack size and range is efficiency. Of course we know that the Model S has a larger battery pack and much longer range than the Taycan, but the Tesla is also more efficient.

Porsche says the Taycan Turbo consumes 26.9 kWh/100 km (43.3 kWh/100 miles) and the Taycan Turbo S consumes 26.0 kWh/100 km (41.9 kWh/100 miles). The Tesla Model S Performance tops both at just 22.6 kWh/100 km (36.4 kWh/100 miles). And then there is another measure of efficiency: How much energy does it actually take to recharge the battery. At least one report indicates that Tesla will have the advantage over Porsche here, as well.

Of course all these numbers are based on European testing. Europe uses the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP), which can’t be readily converted to a U.S. EPA estimate. The Tesla Model S Performance is rated by the EPA at either 32 kWh per 100 miles or 35 kWh per 100 miles depending on the whether it has 19-inch or 21-inch wheels. Until the Taycan receives its own official rating, we won’t be able to accurately assess Tesla’s true efficiency advantage.

Tesla Autopilot
No, Tesla’s Autopilot will not give you synesthesia, but it will make the car safer provided you don’t misuse the system. (Image: Tesla.com)

5. Autopilot

Sure, Tesla’s Autopilot system over-promises and under-delivers, with “full self-driving capability” currently limited to Elon Musk’s hyperactive imagination. But that doesn’t detract from the fact that Autopilot is one of the most advanced driver-assist systems being offered by any carmaker, one that Tesla is continuing to iterate as rapidly as it can.

Porsche has yet to explain what sort of driver-assist technology it will include in the Taycan, which in typical Porsche fashion is being cast as a driver’s car. The marketplace will certainly demand something, and while the Tesla-trumping tech exists within the VW Group, it is doubtful the Taycan will get it. Not after Audi boasted that its new A8 would be the first car with SAE Level 3 automation, then decided to play it safe and not offer Traffic Jam Pilot in the United States when it launched the A8 for the 2019 model year.


About the Author

  • Jeff Sabatini has written for many publications over his 20 years in automotive journalism, including Car and Driver, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Sports Car Market magazine. His lifetime car churn includes 30 vehicles: eight GM cars, five Ford products, four Toyotas, three BMWs, two Jeeps, two Chrysler minivans, a Miata, a Mercedes, a Porsche, a Saab, a Subaru, and a Volkswagen.

can be reached at jeffsab@gmail.com
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