I really do. Rarely do I ever root for success on a new car company. Cynical, yes?
I argued that Teslas didn't understand what a car meant - that giving only two screens in an otherwise empty interior was not enough to make your car feel like home (I was wrong).
When I saw startup electric car companies popping up in the past decade, I thought to myself, huh what a bunch of over ambitious people with bad financial planning (I'm looking at you, Faraday Future).
But then, somehow Rivian manages to capture my heart.
I guess it's the fact that their trucks show a glimmer of hope in adventuring into the wild in a zero emissions car, and those two aspects seem to go hand in hand if you get what I mean.
All I can say is this, one day I hope I'm able to hurl down a meadow in New Zealand (officially my dream country to move to) with a Rivian.
I wish you all the best in your succession, Rivian!
And it's not the ludicrosity or sustainability of the Taycan's power
What I actually think is amazing is its 800v architecture. Sounds boring, yes? But it has so much potential going for it. Here's why:
Being the first production car to be equipped with this architecture, not only does it allow for thinner cables, it also allows for a higher theoretical charge rate. And that's important because charging times is one of the biggest beef consumers have with electric cars. If car manufacturers solve the issue of charge time, people wouldn't really mind with a slightly dismal driving range especially when fast charging stations begin to pop up everywhere. Think about it, why do we rarely hear about complaints of a small fuel tank? Because it's fast and easy to refuel, duh.
Porsche claims that with the new 800v architecture, the Taycan is currently capable of accepting charge at a rate of up to 270kw. At that speed, 5 - 80 percent of charge can be done in 22.5 minutes. Not quite 5 minute refuelling fast but its definitely faster than other makes (with the exception of Tesla rolling out V3 supercharging of course).
But this is Porsche we're talking about. Perfect ain't perfect enough. This is why they're currently testing charge rates of 400-500kw. They claim that just 3 minutes will give you 100km of added range; now that sounds more like it.
Not only is this good news for the future of electric cars, it also tells us that maybe we need a rethink on how charging stations should be laid out. Here's the current problem, EVs are a growing market and to cope with that growth we need to build more charging stations with more stalls. Imagine you're third in line to a charge point, if each car takes 30 minutes to charge you're looking at waiting there for 1.5hours just to complete charging your car.
Tesla gets around this problem by simply increasing the number of stalls in an often crowded station like this station which has 40 superchargers! When have you seen a gas station with 40 gas pumps or bowsers?
The other way which Porsche seems to be betting on is by increasing the charge speeds. Instead of each car spending 30 minutes they only need to spend 5-10. This means less time spent on charging, more cars coming and going, negating the need to install double digit amounts of chargers in each station. It also means stations take up less space and can be placed in denser cities, costs of making these stations are less because they require fewer chargers which allows more stations which allow further travel.
There will come a time when charging an EV will be very similar to refuelling a car ironically, albeit you can make phone calls.
With great change comes great problems
Imagine this, you get up one morning to start your phone up. It roars into life. You wish to you use, but wait - to use it to its fullest potential you need to let it warm up, so you use it for a few minutes gently only to be able to give it the beans after. All while it emits a toxic smell and greases up your hands. Now this isn't how our phones work don't they? They don't have an engine, they have a battery! We pull the plugs off our phones and use it. Period.
Cars deserve this such seamless operation.
Now I know, our phones shouldn't be put to the same regard as our cars. But here's some hard truth, most car users use cars as a mean to bring them from point A to B - the less frills the better. You get up every morning with a full tank. You don't need to do any engine warmups, decide when to visit the next gas station or check which station offers cheaper fuel. Heck you can even heat up your car's interior to a toasty level all without worrying about harmful gases plaguing in your front porch.
And when you do drive off, its whisper quiet so you can listen to your music or your podcasts better. You don't need to raise your voice when you're in the car with your mates. It’s not to say that electric cars are all perfect and all (nothing is really). Yes, range, price and charging times are still an issue even though they have been drastically improving from the EVs of yesteryear. But, if you can make do with those issues, or you’re living in a cbd with a deep pocket and not travel too far, then an EV might start to become a convenience.
And that’s the key takeaway here, EVs will be a convenience.
Not just yet, but it will.