Green Vehicles

2021 Best Green Vehicle Over $50,000: Porsche Taycan

The Porsche Taycan has been crowned as the Best Green Vehicle Over $50K in the 2021 Awards. It was a tough field this year, with the finalists being the Audi e-tron, Polestar 2, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Jaguar I-Pace, and the Porsche Taycan. All are BEVs (battery electric vehicles) and all represent the cutting edge of each automaker’s thrust towards electrification. What convinced our jury of more than 20 automotive experts from all over the country to vote for this new Porsche, the only four-door sedan of the group, above every other available vehicle in this segment?

Porsche was late coming to the electric car party, but as might be expected, this German automaker arrived with a fully realized EV. That it expanded the boundaries of the premium electric vehicle is not such a great surprise, considering Porsche’s history of engineering acumen.

The swoopy Taycan sedan looks initially to be a direct competitor to the formidable Tesla Model S, but in reality it plays in its own exclusive sandbox, distanced from Elon Musk’s pioneer sedan by price, size, build quality, and dynamic capability. Porsche, by its own admission, did not set out to build a better Tesla Model S. It set out to build the Porsche of electric sedans, which it has. Those who know Porsches, be it through sport cars or SUVs, will find the Taycan’s driving experience to be instantly familiar. From the driving position to the gauge layout to the way the car engages the driver, the Zuffenhausen DNA is loud and proud in the Taycan. Porsche built its legend on producing driver’s cars, and this new battery-driven sedan is no exception.

The Taycan comes in three grades: very fast (the $119,400 522-hp 4S), shockingly fast (the $173,900 670-hp Turbo), and OMG-Time-Warp fast (the $213,900 750-hp Turbo S). Instant torque is the name of the game here, and 100 per cent of it is available 100 per cent of the time. Permanent all-wheel drive means all that power gets to the road undiluted by pesky wheel spin. The fact that this thrust comes on in near silence really does give one the sense of being teleported into the future.

Yet the Taycan is so much more than just its eye-widening acceleration. This sedan’s ability to carve a road with poise, balance and fluidity befitting of the best sports cars is somewhat transcendent. All the while, it delivers a controlled, compliant, and highly refined ride thanks to the standard adaptive damping. As our Road Test Editor Dan Ilika put it, “This is as about as dialled-in as you can make an electric vehicle.”

The Taycan is also a mighty sexy beast, looking sleek, muscular, and beautifully resolved from any angle. Is it a stretched 911 sports car with a couple of extra doors or a shrunken Panamera? That much is up to interpretation. From behind the wheel, it feels like the former, although with a much better ride.

There’s a solidity to the Taycan too – a sense of permanence – that envelopes every time the door closes with that vault-like thunk. The cabin is impressively quiet, and not just because of lack of engine noise. Occupants are well insulated from road, suspension and wind noise.

The interior design is simple and elegant and shows obsessive build quality. There’s no flash or frivolity, yet merely sitting here seems a guarantee no buyer will ever feel they overpaid. The seats are typically Porsche supportive and comfortable, and adhering to the fashion of the times, the Taycan gets a high count of digital screen acreage plus a panel of haptic touch points. It’s a cozy, sports car-like environment and back seat room, while comfortable for two, is bordering on tight. Its low-slung cabin also requires a bit of agility for ingress and egress.

The Porsche Taycan is the first electric vehicle to get an 800-volt charging system, versus the usual 400 volts. The benefits are consistent vehicle performance, decreased weight and installation space of the cabling, and reduced charging times if you can hook into one of the special 800-volt chargers being installed across the country now by organizations such as Electrify Canada and Petro Canada.

Yes, the Porsche Taycan is eye-wateringly expensive, and its range is not quite up to benchmark Tesla Model S numbers, but what this astounding car from Porsche does do is push the EV envelope further in terms of charging and performance with its breakthrough 800-volt system, while opening up a new world of driving engagement. It’s a harmonious experience that blends effortless speed, luxury, comfort and uncanny handling. We’ll give the last word to Dan. “There’s a pedigree here, and the Taycan is simply a continuation of it. It’s the reason the car’s power button is to the left of the steering wheel – a nod to Porsche’s years racing at Le Mans. Or why the connection to what the car is doing feels so organic, even in an electric car. It may be delivered differently but rest assured: this is still the Porsche experience, just evolved.”