When electric cars were starting to enter the market a decade or so ago, they were met with some pretty heavy resistance from traditional car enthusiasts and the market as a whole. Let’s not talk about conspiracy theories of how oil and gas companies are trying to neuter the electric car, but rather how the market has received them.
Initial arguments against the use of electric cars usually centred on a lack of infrastructure. It’s a valid concern – after all, how can you regard an electric car as practical if it takes hours to charge and can only go 150 to 200 kilometres away from your house at a time? Eventually fast charging networks were proposed and built and it eased the ownership experience a little.
But there was still push back from traditionalists. While we can talk about any number of electric car offerings on the market, Tesla is far and away the most vocal, with a range that’s entirely electric. They also have the most vocal supporters, many of whom are also personally invested with Tesla itself (read: shareholders) so it is in their best interest to defend the brand at all costs.
Tesla has tried numerous strategies to win over a wider audience. They have long boasted about their performance figures and how they’re effectively faster than a lot of supercars (especially with the most powerful variants sporting the “Ludicrous” mode), but this has backfired in a way. Critics have pointed out over and over that Tesla vehicles can’t even make it around the famed Nurburgring without overheating and having to stop.
But even so, boasting about performance is nothing new. Unfortunately, Tesla is also the poster child for electric cars, meaning they represent the concept in a way – and in turn, hatred for Tesla has eventually become synonymous with hatred for electric cars. But as we’ve seen in the last two years, many contemporary manufacturers are stepping up and producing electric vehicles that are quite well received by critics and the public alike, and the Porsche Taycan is one such example.
So what makes the Taycan so distinctly different from the Tesla Model S? They’re both electric vehicles with large amounts of power, four doors, and luxury accoutrements. Both have to play by the same rules in terms of practicality and infrastructure requirements. This begs the question: is the problem not with electric cars, but rather with the companies making them?
Porsche has a long and storied history of making cars, sports or otherwise. They, like BMW, and Mercedes-Benz, and Audi, have both the technical knowledge to design a fast, competent luxurious car, and the production experience to understand how to build it properly and efficiently. They are used to the rigours of proper research and development, so their customers don’t have to become beta testers.
Beyond this, there’s also the fact that Porsche has the cash in hand to bankroll a project like the Taycan. They also have the expertise in platform and chassis development that the underlying processes and components can be used in other up and coming Porsche electric vehicles, making for far better economies of scale. It’s the kind of thing only a full-fledged manufacturer can accomplish.
And ultimately, the most resounding case for Porsche’s success with the Taycan is that it was approached with a complete lack of arrogance. Humility in facing the great unknown, with a determination to solve it, has won many fans and made an electric Porsche an acceptable proposition. Porsche doesn’t pretend to know how to do it or claim it’s easy to execute, and they’re willing to take the time and effort to do it properly.
In the next decade or so, we are going to see a massive number of electric cars being introduced to the market, and the inherent difference between these products and those that Tesla makes is that they will be backed by companies with long-term experience. It’s the way of the future and nobody can stand in the way of progress, but how a company approaches this and how it keeps the customers in mind will ultimately determine whether they can successfully produce and sell and electric car.