A nondescript white van rolls up beside my blue 2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo as I sit at a red light on the Pacific Coast Highway near Huntington Beach, Calif. The driver rolls down his window, gives a hearty thumbs up, and makes it clear via additional hand signals that he wants to see me stand on it. His grinning passenger leans forward and seconds the motion with an enthusiastic nod. I roll down my own window. “Sorry, but I’m in the middle of a range test.” They seem to understand. When the light turns green they hang back, content to snap pictures as I accelerate away at a prudent pace. Normal driving is the goal here. To do this right I can neither be hyperactive nor drive like a hypermiler. That’s because this test has two parts. The first is a controlled drive around a standardized test course I’ve used before. The second is a more freeform road trip to see friends in the isolated desert town of Borrego Springs, Calif. At the end, I'm hoping to answer two questions we all have about the Porsche Taycan: Is the Taycan Turbo’s 201-mile range achievable in the real world? Can you travel out of town and have a little fun along the way without fretting over range? A lap of Orange County — or maybe two I’m driving on what I call my "Lap of Orange County" test loop, an EV range test course of my own design. It’s made up of suburban residential and arterial streets, along with a stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway. Speed limits range between 25 and 60 mph, with much of it in the 35-to-45-mph range. There are no outright freeways, but there are more than 100 potential stoplights and a couple dozen stop signs. One lap of the circuit is 104.5 miles, which means that two laps would exceed the Taycan Turbo’s rated range by 8 miles. I’m hoping for two laps, but if I make it, I won’t keep going until the Porsche craps out along some random curb. That’s not safe, and it’s not a realistic reflection of how EV ownership works. Besides, no one wants to see the “winch of shame” onto a AAA flatbed. Instead, I’ll add the miles remaining, if any, to the number of miles driven. This “projected range” figure should be quite accurate because the distance-to-empty calculation should be mature after all that time. Then I’ll plug it in and calculate consumption after it’s full. The Taycan’s consumption rating is 49 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles (kWh/100), which is frankly terrible. Profiling in the O.C. By my calculation, this is going to take nearly eight hours. But this course has enough to look at to keep things interesting. Along PCH there’s sun, surf, and enough G-Wagens to equip a small army. Not to mention the stoned surfers in white vans looking for an Instagram fix. I start out in Range mode instead of the default Normal mode because, …
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