While the Taycan was at the dealer for some work, they very kindly leant me a brand new (less than 500 miles on the clock) 2024 Macan. Not, of course, the upcoming EV version of the Macan, but a regular ICE version.
This captures a few of my thoughts on this vehicle, not compared to the Taycan, but to a 2018 Audi Q5 – its Audi badged cousin, but from 6 years ago.
I have also had previous model year Macans as loaner vehicles in the past, and a few of these observations are changes from those versions.
While I had tried this a few days ago at our local Electrify America location, today I had to charge at Gilroy on my way home from a quick (shopping) trip to Monterey. Had I charged the car to 100%, I might have been able to make the whole trip without a charging stop, in sport mode.
I pulled into the charger with 24% remaining, set up the camera (not easy given how short the cables are on these chargers) and plugged the car in…
Unlike our previous road trip to Monterey, this one was going to be a three day, two night stay. That gave us extra time to do a little more around the area than just the aquarium, although we did manage to fit in a visit there as well.
We left relatively early in the morning, traveling with some friends, and met up at Sea Harvest in Moss Landing for lunch.
After lunch, it was a short drive down to Pacific Grove to visit the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary and see all the monarch butterflies stopping there for the winter season.
Today’s road trip was not meant to be titled Rodeo Beach, but that is where we ended up, as we knew we would. The first stop on the trip was meant to be the nearby Marine Mammal Center, but it seems they are closed either due to COVID or for renovations (unclear from the website, and in fact it was unclear from the website that they were even closed when I looked from my phone).
Disappointing as it was to miss the Marine Mammal Center, Rodeo Beach is always a part of our trips there, and we had a good walk up on to the cliffs on the north side of the beach that we had not explored previously.
Six months into the Porsche Taycan, it is time to review what I love and what frustrates about the car that many have dubbed the best EV available (controversial, I know, especially among fans of a certain US brand). I’m going to avoid that completely because to be honest “best” overall is just too subjective. What is best for one person may not even come close for another, and at this end of the market it is not just about the numbers.
It has been a little over six months since we took delivery of the white Taycan 4S, and we have done 3,676 miles in the car. Much of that has been on longer than average road trips, including a trip to southern California and back (over 1,000 miles round trip). We have documented those trips here on this site, including stats for the efficiency we achieved. What we have not yet captured are some of the problems we’ve had with the car (outside of problems charging it on long trips).
TL;DR The Taycan is a fantastic car spoiled by unbelievably poor software. Mainly the infotainment system, but there are problems in other parts of the software too.
It might be a stretch to call this a road trip since it was not even 15 miles round trip, but the zoo is a place we have had limited access to over the last 18 months, and we were able to grab tickets (free, since we’re members, but required nonetheless as they control numbers) for Sunday afternoon. So, our road trip for the weekend was perhaps the shortest we’ll ever do, to the Oakland Zoo!
We did not really have any plan, and since it was after lunchtime, we had no reason to eat there, although both the cafe near the entrance at the new one at the top gondola station were open and serving food. Both had outdoor dining locations as well.
Coming out of our daughter’s quarantine from being in “close contact” with somebody who tested positive for COVID (another student in her class), we thought we’d take advantage of the weekend and head out for a short road trip. This week we chose Jack London State Historic Park, near Glen Ellen, as our destination.
Not far from home, and mostly freeway driving, we made it to the park in around an hour and a half, starting the journey with around 85% state of charge (our home charger is offline at the moment as we are getting it rewired as part of upgrading the central heating and water heater in the house to be electric heap pump systems – more on that in a future post).
This road trip was a little different to the first nine in that we were staying at our destination for a week of vacation. Given the situation with COVID-19 in California, we had decided that rather than stay in a hotel, where we would be exposed to many other people all week, we would instead rent a house somewhere in the state that had a private swimming pool for the kids to play in all week. We would drive there, spend a week basically in the house we rented, and then drive back.
The final trip was pretty close to that, with only a couple of day trips while we were there, both of which we stayed mainly in the car.
When making long trips in an EV, plentiful, reliable, fast charging locations are essential. Electrify America has done a good job of installing fast (150KW and 350KW units) in lots of locations, but the reliability is simply not there today.
Before getting to my thoughts on the state of Electrify America, I will recount our recent experiences. Also, I am restricting this to Electrify America for now for two reasons: firstly, they are the network that provides the Taycan’s included charging service, and secondly, they are the network with the most 350 KW charging units. We have used ChargePoint for a long time with our previous EV, and once with the Taycan too, and while I have never experienced serious problems with their network, the DC chargers they have deployed in most locations seem to be 50 KW units.
I should also note that Electrify America did reach out to me on Twitter and arrange to call me to talk about the experiences we had on this trip. In general, Electrify America support personnel are great, and will do everything they can to make it work, but, much like the Porsche Connect support team, they have very limited tools at their disposal to diagnose issues or resolve problems. Most of the time, the best they have been able to offer is to pass the message on to maintenance to get the charger looked at.
Our recent trip down to SoCal and back highlighted just how much the reliability matters, and how far from achieving it we are. The round trip was just over 1,000 miles, so we needed several charging stops (we also had no charging facilities at our destination, so we needed a charge while there to prep for the return journey). We left Alameda with 100% state of charge; enough to make it to the charger at Walmart in Tulare, about 220 miles away.
Another trip to the foothills of the Sierra Mountains, and back in time to the gold rush era. We have had a couple of trips out this way before to visit parts of California’s gold rush history, including Coloma where the first gold was discovered in 1848.