• The Grand Rallye Electrique organized by the FQESR with the participation of Porsche recently took us through several provinces aboard the all-electric Taycan GTS!
• The event consisted in demonstrating that “traveling over long distances in an electric vehicle is easy, accessible and above all, very pleasant”. Was this the case?
Not so long ago, traveling great distances in an electric vehicle was a fad. But technological advances in battery development and the deployment of the charging infrastructure network across the country should help simplify travel. Or at least make the adventure less perilous.
This is what we tried to verify by taking part in the first Grand Rallye Electrique which took place from September 18 to 24.
Set up by the Quebec Road Safety Education Foundation (FQESR), and funded in part by Natural Resources Canada, the event consisted of demonstrating that « long-distance travel in an electric vehicle is easy, accessible and above all, very enjoyable,” according to Stéphane Pascalon, the FQESR’s transportation electrification project director.
In five days, twenty-four participants, aboard various electric vehicles, from the Chevrolet Bolt to the Ford Lightning 150, traveled more than 3,000 km and traveled the roads of five provinces. We were going to cover four.
The desire for sport versus the competitive spirit
Auto123 was invited to join the ranks of this event and live the experience behind the wheel of the 2022 Porsche Taycan GTS. I could have taken advantage of the sporty performance it has to offer, but my competitive side took over. Instead of exploiting the 509 horses available to me, as it should be when you have access to a car stamped with the coat of arms of Stuttgart, I was going to adapt my driving and find out how to optimize my energy consumption.
Yes, I got into an energy efficiency mindset and nothing was going to get me out of it.
I took part in the adventure accompanied by an employee of Porsche Canada who, what a coincidence, drives a Taycan daily. He took his role in planning the route and the obligatory stops to fill up on electrons very seriously, with the help of the browser and the integrated PlugShare application, which he tapped on from the third screen. (optional) placed on the dashboard in front of it.
In addition to providing relevant information on the stations located within a perimeter delimited by our remaining autonomy (availability, charging power), these tools work together to preheat the battery, so that it reaches an ideal temperature (between 30 and 35 degrees Celsius) when arriving at the destination and thus maximizing the load.
It was on a chilly morning that we left the city of Halifax. As soon as I got into the cabin, the engine revved up…silently! To save energy, we had deactivated the E-sound (offered as an option), a futuristic sound, generated from frequencies taken from the duo of electric motors, which adds to the pleasure of driving.
With 348 km in the bank in “Normal” driving, we were going to gain about thirty by selecting the “Range” mode. We had high hopes of reaching Charlottetown without having to stop at the bollards before boarding the Confederation Bridge.
Natural Resources Canada (RNC) estimates the autonomy of the Taycan GTS at 396 km, by the way.
We were going to discover quite quickly that the charging offer in the Maritimes is rather poor compared to that of Quebec and Ontario. Let’s say that in the Atlantic provinces, Tesla owners have a clear advantage thanks to their vast network of Superchargers deployed across the country.
For the others, it is impossible to find a terminal higher than 50 kW. So I did not have the happiness of filling up with electrons at lightning speed. With a maximum capacity of 270kW, the Taycan can go from 5% to 80% charge in less than 23 minutes, when drawing its juice from a 350kW station.
Also, note that the car has two charging ports for added flexibility when charging at home, but only the one on the passenger side combines sockets for AC (level 2) and DC (level 3).
Fast terminals you say?
Consequently, due to the 50 kWh limit, we therefore had to wait patiently to bail out the autonomy. Rarely have we been able to bet on a full charge, limiting ourselves to the autonomy necessary to arrive at our destination in order to save time. We took the opportunity to have a bite to eat and follow the progress live on the cell phone, via the Porsche app. After an hour and a half of rest and a gain of 338 km on a 50 kW terminal, we were ready to hit the road again.
The only team to complete the first stage on time, with a consumption of 22.0 kWh/km, below the figures published by RNC (25.42 kWh/100 km), we finished the day in first place.
We had spent more than 8.5 hours on the run and accumulated 608 km on the clock. Good news, despite the distance covered, no fatigue. Of course, enjoying a Taycan had something to do with it. Welcoming seats and a cabin where leather and carbon rub shoulders with Race-Tex, a faux suede with the most exquisite touch developed by Porsche and used in motorsport, which is not unpleasant.
Then, I realized to what extent the absence of vibrations and noise generated by a combustion engine, and the quietness of the ride of an electric vehicle, accentuated in particular by the double-pane windows, could have beneficial effects on long journeys.
The second day, we took off as the sun was coming up, each having a flight to catch at the end of the afternoon. 112 km of autonomy, that’s all we had to reach a first terminal, those located nearby being already occupied by the other participants who had left before us.
Our objective: the city of Bathurst located 80 km. The on-board computer told us that we would arrive at our destination with 3% charge. To conserve our energy, we even plugged our cell phones into a portable charger. Along the way, it was the turn of the cruise control to go into economy mode, adjusting the cruising speed downwards, as we passed through an area where the temperature dropped a few degrees.
Finally, we reached the 50 kW terminal in the colors of NB Power with a measly eleven kilometers remaining. After a “fast” recharge, we took the 180, a secondary road that stretches over 140 km in the heart of a forest region. An uncrowded section, perfect for testing the Taycan’s spirit. But, for the sake of 1) skyrocketing my daily consumption 2) attracting my co-pilot’s wrath and 3) mowing down a moose, whose hunting season had just begun, I had to curb my enthusiasm and simply appreciate its impeccable road holding through the curves, honoring its Grand Touring Sport designation.
The rest of the day flew by at an accelerated pace as we raced against time to arrive in time for our flights. Always in action, the cruise control adapted perfectly to the traffic which intensified as we approached the airport. The second stage ended without us crossing the finish line. Two other journalists took turns to finish this rally under the aegis of the Taycan.
Planning and patience, the prerequisites for traveling by EV
Traveling long distances by electric vehicle requires a little planning and a lot of patience. Easy? It all depends on where you are. Comfortable and pleasant? Absolutely!
Without being perfect, the Porsche Taycan is undoubtedly the electric vehicle that comes closest to being perfect. Introduced in 2020, it marks the German manufacturer’s entry into the era of electrification. Respecting the DNA of Stuttgart, this sedan, where comfort is teamed with performance and sportiness, combines the finesse of German engineering with driving pleasure.
Every dream has its price and the price is $187,080 including shipping and preparation.
Launched in the midst of a pandemic, the Taycan was successful from its inception, when the first units in the country found takers even before landing in dealerships. Porsche recorded 844 copies sold in 2020 and 732 the following year.
Surprisingly, globally, more Taycans were sold in 2021 than 911s, a sign that performance and luxury buyers are ready to go electric.