Traveling 2,000 Miles in 24 Hours, The 2020 Porsche Taycan Is Ready for a New Cannonball Record
Alex Roy not immediately included.
Porsche is serious about its dedication to EVs. And though Stuttgart's first dabble into the endeavor, the 2020 Porsche Taycan, is still due for release later this year, ze Germans are already coming out with blackeye benchmarks meant to assert their dominance. And, possibly, provide a preview of a new electric Cannonball record.
On Monday, Porsche announced that it had shipped the Taycan to Italy for some testing at the world-famous Nardò Technical Center, a 7.8-mile test loop which recently underwent a $40 million refurbishment sponsored by the German sports car manufacturer's checkbook. During its time at the track, the Taycan's fortitude was stress-tested via 24 hours of extreme endurance driving; a feat which would net an astounding 2,128 miles (3,425 kilometers) of covered pavement.
The automaker says that the Taycan was able to achieve this number in the 24 hours by only breaking to swap out drivers and recharge the EV's batteries with Porsche's ultra-fast 800-volt chargers. While going 'round the ring, Porsche says that its all-electric sports car maintained speeds between 121 miles per hour and 133 MPH, though it's capable of reaching speeds beyond 155 MPH.
For ease of arithmetic, and those who want to get nerdy with the numbers in terms of speed and time, let's call the Taycan's average speed a happy medium of 127 MPH. In a perfect world sans traffic laws, pedestrians, and traffic, the car would have been able to travel about 3,048 miles in 24 hours at this sustained speed if it didn't need to stop in order to recharge its battery packs. Realistically, the car actually traveled a total of 2,128 miles; a difference of roughly 920 miles. Using the total traveled mileage, we can work out the actual average speed over the entirety of the 24 hours to be 88.6 MPH, meaning that the additional 920 miles of unaccounted range may indicate a downtime somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 hours, likely the time it took to charge the car.
Enter the Cannonball Run; a 2,800-mile coast-to-coast sprint designed for those who like to set records and hate sleep. Though all start at the same point, the Red Ball Garage in New York City, New York, and end at the Portofino Inn in Redondo Beach, California, drivers carefully curate a route looking to best the overall trip time of their predecessor by shaving minutes off their journey—all, of course, in the name of notoriety.
With the rise in popularity of electric cars, a new set of benchmarks have been established to crown a new king or queen. Not only do drivers have to race against the clock when driving, but they also need to weigh in when and where to charge, average speeds, and mile-per-joule. In 2018, The Drive's Alex Roy (who is now a Tesla Model 3 owner) set off with companion Dan Zorrilla in a California-bound Tesla to break Roy's previous Cannonball Run EV record—the team did so in 50 hours, 16 minutes, and 32 seconds.
Roy and Zorrilla held that record until recently when it was broken not once, but twice within a month's time. First came Lars Thomsen, a Swiss-native who made the trek in 48 hours and 10 minutes with his family during the second week of July. Thomsen would hold the record for less than three weeks, bested by duo Kyle Conner and Matthew Davis who began their run on the very last day of July and finished in 45 hours and 16 minutes.
In a Reddit thread, Conner admitted to hitting a max speed of 140 miles per hour, "not just once". He also indicates that his car is lowered, a common mod for Tesla Model 3s which serves both aesthetic and range benefits. In total, he estimates between 6 and 7 hours were spent charging. Conner also let slip that this was just their trial run, and he wasn't giving up too many secrets.
One common theme could be seen between all records: Tesla.
In fact, the latest three records are all held by the Model 3; the most efficient car of the automaker's lineup to date. But more important to the success of the runs may be Tesla's robust Supercharging network which has more than 1,600 locations and 14,000 chargers.
But slowly, other automakers are beginning to implement their own solutions. Electrify America, which was birthed in-part by Volkswagen's dieselgate settlement, has roughly 450 charging locations plotted on their charging map. As their network matures, and the above mentioned Taycan-compatible 350 KW ultra-fast chargers become more commonplace, the Cannonball Run competition could intensify.
Porsche says that it's not just charging rates that ensure the Taycan's ability to prove in high-endurance situations. The automaker also praises the platform's ability to handle thermal management efficiently. This means keeping the car's components cool as the ambient temperatures rose to 107 degrees, and also ensuring that the battery cells were at optimal charging temperature when the Taycan arrived at a charger.
So, for now, there is no quintessential "Tesla-killer", but competition helps to foster better technology. Only time can tell how long it will be before other EVs begin joining in the coast-to-coast race—Porsche included.