Having now driven all three variants of the Taycan on sale I am convinced of two things, one you know already, namely that it is the finest electric car on the market right now. But behind those svelte lines lies a less convenient truth. The more I drive the Taycan, the more convinced I am that making an electric sports car – rather than an electric car that happens to be sporting in nature – presents a challenge of almost unimaginable proportion. And that makes me fear for the next generation of Boxster and Cayman which, if the rumour mill is correct, will have electric powertrains, as an option at first, but surely in time as a permanent solution.
The weight of electric cars, their lack of noise, their absence of gears and even the way they deliver their power all militate against the electric sports car. And yes, they’ll become lighter and more involving, but I just can’t see us falling for a whirring electric motor in the same way we fall for a howling flat six. I mean, look at the kicking these cars have had just because their cylinder count has been cut from six to four. From four to none is a leap of altogether different proportion.
Of course there will be those who love the idea of the electric sports car, especially if it’s made by Porsche. The opportunity to parade your credentials as an environmentally saintly citizen while also driving a two seat convertible will have a certain cadre dribbling with anticipation. But will they be people who actually love cars, or simply people who love what they think cars say about them? I am reminded of that excruciating series of Top Gear fronted by Chris Evans who took the public for fools and thought he could present his way out of not loving cars but only their image, and got royally found out at the first time of asking.
Now, Porsche engineers are clever people and if I’d back anyone to find a way, I’d back those guys and girls. But you know how you can see into the future with some things – I can even see a time when the world gets its head around climate change – but anyone creating an electric sports car hardwired deep into our emotional cortex? Right now I can’t see at all.
An electric sportscar? Is such a thing even possible, without the soul of an engine, a gearbox and noise?