A decade into the modern electric-car era one thing is clear: easy access to charging is vital to convince more drivers to make the leap to battery power from gasoline. So to ensure a smooth launch for its much-anticipated Taycanelectric sports car Porsche is taking a page from Tesla’s playbook and ensuring customers have access a coast-to-coast network of fast-charge stations.
The German luxury company said it will offer three years of charging at hundreds of stations operated across the U.S. with Volkswagen-owned Electrify America LLC as part of Taycan’s purchase price, which starts at about $80,000. Additionally, fast-charge stations will be installed at all of its 191 dealerships across the country, while customers will also be able to purchase Porsche home-charging systems, the company said.
“Together, Electrify America and our Porsche dealer network will provide a national infrastructure for DC fast charging that frees future Taycan owners from range anxiety,” Klaus Zellmer, president and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, said in a statement. “Porsche home charging technology will turn the customer’s garage into the equivalent of a personal gas station.”
Tesla has dominated the market for high-end electric vehicles since it began delivering $100,000 Roadsters a decade ago, but faces an onslaught of competition from new entries including the Taycan, Audi’s e-tron and Jaguar’s I-Pace, with more on the way from Cadillac and others. Porsche last week said it’s boosting production plans for the Taycan owing to higher demand than initially planned.
Some analysts suspect the competition from those new premium EVs, priced between $60,000 and $90,000, were behind Tesla’s recent decision to discontinue its entry-level 75D versions of the Model S sedan and Model X crossover to focus mainly on pricier versions selling for about $100,000 or more. Tesla’s core vehicle, the Model 3 sedan, starts at $44,000 and can cost more than $60,000 with all options.
Details of Porsche’s sleek four-door coupe are limited so far, though it will be a juiced up performance car offering more than 600-horsepower and over 300 miles of driving range per charge.
For three years Taycan buyers will get unlimited 30-minute charging sessions at Electrify America facilities that include more than 300 highway stations in 42 U.S. states and more than 180 stations in 17 cities, Porsche said. Each location will have an average of five charging bays, with some having up 10. The highway stations will have at least two 350 kW chargers per site, with additional chargers delivering up to 150kW.
The initial phase of the network, at 484 locations with more than 2,000 charging dispensers, will be installed or under construction by July 1, prior to Taycan’s launch in late 2019, Porsche and Electrify America said. Porsche dealers will spend about $70 million for fast-charge kiosks at their stores, the company said.
Tesla early on baked in a charging network to support its Model S when it launched the car in 2012. Initially, powering up at its Supercharger stations was also free, though over time it began charging customers as its owner base grew. Last week it moderated a planned increase in charging rates that Tesla fan site Electrek estimated would go up by about 33% per kilowatt hour.
-Alan OhnsmanForbes Staff