Legacy automakers struggling with electrification of their fleet

Legacy automakers are failing to offer competitive driving range due to poor battery efficiency. Earlier this month, Porsche Taycan’s estimated EPA range came out to be just 201 miles surprising the auto community as Porsche lead people to believe its going to be near 300 miles.

2020 Porsche Taycan Turbo S

Porsche Taycan’s 201 miles EPA range came in as a big disappointment to the EV community considering how Porsche was boasting nearly 300 miles of driving range. That’s about a hundred miles difference between expectation and reality, does this mean legacy automakers are doomed?


Not a single automaker has produced a vehicle that is equipped with a battery pack as efficient as Tesla’s. When it comes to electric vehicles, driving range is king. Although 200 miles range is adequate for daily commute, but range anxiety is a real thing and will put off many buyers because of less range.

Its not like these new electrified vehicles will not sell, they will certainly have a place in the market. But when you consider how many years these automakers have had to develop a feasible market product, how far they can go on a single charge and the efficiency of the battery pack, it’s difficult to not see them as rookies in EV industry.

The turbo version of Taycan has base price of $150,900. For this hefty price, Porsche should have had no difficulties tackling both the competitive range and performance. Yes, it has 800V high voltage architecture that allows for steady high performance. But considering its meager 201 miles range, there is a high chance that if you’re driving that car in a high performance mode, it is not going to get anywhere near 200 miles of range. It will most probably get half of that.

Driving Taycan in high performance mode will also result in more charging stops because of its low range. And since the current charging infrastructure for these high-performance cars is not as readily available as gasoline, it makes it a bit more problematic and confines the use.

Battery Efficiency Comparison

The problem of inefficient battery is not limited to high-end performance electric vehicles, its happening with almost all vehicles coming out of legacy automakers assembly lines. It’s astonishing how they are installing such high capacity battery packs and yet so fruitless with their range.

VehiclesRange (miles)Battery pack (kWh)Miles per kWh
Chevy Bolt259604.31
Mercedes EQC293803.7
Nissan Leaf226623.65
Volvo Polestar 2275783.52
Ford Mach-E300993.03
Jaguar I-PACE234902.6
Porsche Taycan Turbo201932.2
Audi e-tron204952.14

A few vehicles in the list are expected to hit production soon, and if their EPA range turns out like other vehicles in production, it might be game over for these automakers in the EV future.


Given the track record, the driving of range of vehicles like the Mach-E, the Polestar 2, as well as the Mercedes EQC may not come close to what the automakers have been ballyhooing. No electric vehicle that is in production to date has managed to beat the 2012 Model S 85 kWh battery range of 265 miles.

VehiclesRange (miles)Battery pack (kWh)Miles per kWh
Chevy Bolt259604.31
Model 3 LR322754.29
Model 3 P310754.13
Model Y LR300754
Model S LR3731003.73
Model Y P280753.73
Mercedes EQC293803.7
Nissan Leaf226623.65
Volvo Polestar 2275783.52
Model S P3581003.48
Model X LR3251003.28
Model X P3051003.05
Ford Mach-E300993.03
Jaguar I-PACE234902.6
Porsche Taycan Turbo201932.2
Audi e-tron204952.14

Tesla’s preeminence can be further seen when you compare their top range and performance vehicles with their opponents. Tesla cars continuously have the highest miles per kilowatt hour.

One more important point to mention is that Tesla has planned to debut their next-generation of batteries at their forthcoming battery & powertrain investor day in the start of 2020. This will most certainly increase the gap between Tesla and its competition.

Elon Musk said during a recent speech:

I think it’s always difficult when you know that there’s a lot of momentum around an old technology, there’s a lot of infrastructure, a lot of capital that’s tied up in the the older technology. When you have a new technology the market is unproven, so then you say like okay, should you do it? Does it really make sense to place a bet on this technology that’s unproven?

~ Elon Musk

Legacy automakers should probably find a way to license out Tesla’s older battery tech to shorten the gap in range, because right now they are just not competitive.

Contact the author: adambraylon@wheelsjoint.com


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