The battle for “superiority” between the Porsche Taycan and the Tesla Model S electric cars has taken an unexpected turn after a test run in the German car maker’s first electric offering ran into difficulties.
According to French auto journalist Matthieu Sentis who works for L’Argus, the Taycan had its speed limited while Sentis was putting it through its paces on the Nürburgring Nordschleife (North Loop) in July, due to an overheated battery.
During the second lap, Sentis reported for L’Argus that the Taycan went into “turtle mode”, saying (translated from French) that, “the second (lap) could not be completed: after about 10 km, a first loss of power was felt.”
Sentis says that the decision to take the Taycan for a run on the famous track (where the Taycan had been officially tested some nine months ago) was part of a plan to put an electric car through its paces doing “1000 km of motorway in one day, four laps of 21 km “hard” on the famous north loop (and its long relaunches on steep hills).
But rather than choose the Tesla Model S, Sentis and his team opted for “the most sporty of the self-proclaimed electrics: the Porsche Taycan Turbo S.
The reason behind the decision was for its “761 hp, 1,050 Nm of torque and, despite 2.3 tonnes on the scale, a lower center of gravity than a 911 due to the heavy batteries confined under the floor,” writes Sentis.
But two laps into the North Loop endurance track, the Taycan hit trouble, forcing Sentis to admit in the future he should keep to “a simple rule: start with a “cold” battery.”
Pundits in a Reddit thread discussing the reason behind the battery heating incident suggested that, unlike the Tesla’s reputation for overheating the drivetrain, or stator in the electric motor, the likely reason for the Taycan going into turtle mode was because of the electric sportscar’s ” insanely strong 265kW regen”.
“My guess is that the insanely strong 265kW regen that the Taycan has is working against it here because as you can see its the battery getting too hot, not the drive train while Tesla is always fighting with the drive train temperature,” said the most highly upvoted Reddit user on the thread.
Another suggestion to remedy the situation given in the thread is to reduce the regeneration. But with the Taycan’s power consumption in the first lap reported to be as high as 138 kWh/100km, its useful driving range on the track was already reduced to about 60 kilometres.
However, reducing the regen would mean a further drop in range, and more need to boost the range via a fast charger (which further heats up the battery).
It’s not the first time the Taycan has been reported to overheat when taken for a high speed spin.
According to a report by Autobild in May, another Taycan test drive ran into turtle mode strife after hitting a power consumption rate of 118kWh/100km.
“Oh no! The fun has barely started when the turtle appears. After 30 kilometers or 15 minutes of quick chasing on the motorway, the Porsche Taycan 4S simply turns the tap off,” that report says of a drive on the German autobahn.
“But maybe it was also a good thing that the Porsche slowed us down. The on-board computer shows a consumption of 118 kWh per 100 kilometers when driving, the full battery would be empty after 71 kilometres. On the A 24 in the direction of Berlin you can’t even begin to reach the next exit, let alone the next charging station.”
Regardless of the turtle mode troubles, it’s a fun video to watch:
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.