26 September 2023

Charger Anxiety In The Electric World

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By Paul Gover.

There is a new challenge to electric motoring in Australia.

Carmakers are rapidly getting on top of the original challenge, range anxiety, with cars that will cover 400-plus kilometres between plug-in renewals.

As yet, there is no solution to number two – the safety threat from silent cars.

And now comes charger anxiety. It’s number three, but with a bullet.

It’s something that hits me while I’m having a second look, and drive, with the Porsche Taycan.

This time around it’s the ‘cheapie’ Taycan, only $156,300 and only a 5.4-second sprint to 100km/h, but now part of a five-strong Taycan line-up that is outselling the full suite of classic 911 sports cars in Australia.

There is a lot to enjoy in the basic Taycan, until I go face-to-face with charger anxiety.

I’m lucky to arrive first at the nearest plug-in station to my house, near a major airport.

But – there are only three chargers and only one is suitable for the Taycan.

Then a Tesla Model 3 arrives, and I have to break the news – since he wants the same plug – that it’s going to be a minimum of a 30-second wait.

Luckily, it’s an urban area and he uses the Tesla’s computer to track an alternate charger.

But imagine that I had arrived second. And we were in a country town. With, once again, a single plug-in point.

So my day would be potentially ruined by a 30-second delay in my trip.

Arriving third or worse, with today’s charging infrastructure, gets even worse …

That’s charger anxiety, and it’s not going away any time soon.

Thankfully, the Taycan reads 400-plus on the range meter with a full dose of electrons, which puts it among – like the Audi e-tron GT – the best of the current electrics.

Porsche has done a smart job on the basic Taycan, even advertising its arrival with a pop-art paint job by artist Nigel Sense on one of the cars.

Mine is fairly boring in the bodywork, a deep maroon, and it’s the same with the equipment list and performance.

The Taycan only has a single electric motor, cut by one from the upper models in the line-up, although it still has a heated steering wheel.

All the basics are good, the most important thing, and it’s good – in lots of ways – not to be distracted by too many trinkets.

The performance of the Taycan Turbo S, which can easily pin your head to the seat in a flat-out sprint, seems excessive at $345,800.

The comfort is everything I remember – and expect – from a Porsche, the dashboard is clear and simple with big screens, the sound system is good, there is space for five (at a pinch) adults and it is extremely quiet at all speeds.

The youngster wants the artificial ‘electric sound’ while we’re driving, and I’m keen to dispose of the over-eager lane-keep assistance, but the heads-up display is great and the headlights are just plain brilliant.

The ride is softer than I expect, but actually very plush, although there is still the Sport setting that firms things up and gives more throttle response.


Carrying the charger cable takes a huge amount of the boot space and I really, really dislike that there is no electric ‘braking’ when you lift off the accelerator. It is far too easy to roll past the speed limit on a downhill and I find myself braking far more often than I expect – and like – in traffic. Porsche says its drivers prefer it this way, but using shift paddles for regenerative braking – like lots of other electric cars – would be preferable.

My time with the Taycan is good, although not nearly as memorable as the rocket-powered Turbo S, and proof that electrification can be simple and effective.

Still, the e-tron from Audi is an impressive rival and you get more for similar money.

Always provided you can find a charger, of course …


Position: starter car for Porsche electric fans

Price: from $156,300

Engine: single electric motor

Power: 300kW/345Nm

Transmission: 2-speed auto, rear-wheel drive

Plus: quick, simple, effective

Minus: still costly

THE TICK: I’d prefer an Audi e-tron

Score: 8/10

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