Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo Outback Drive

4 days ago 7
Glenn Butler

The Northern Territory has agelong been known arsenic LandCruiser Country due to the fact that the conveyance you needed to past up present utilized to beryllium a Toyota LandCruiser. The LandCruiser and akin vehicles similar the Nissan Patrol boasted go-anywhere quality and bullet-proof reliability which took the accent retired of venturing acold beyond civilisation.  

These days, Australia’s slightest populated and astir people beauteous authorities is becoming known arsenic Grey Nomad Country. 

Venture beyond the metropolis limits of Darwin and each 2nd car is simply a LandCruiser oregon a 4WD ute similar a Toyota Hilux oregon Ford Ranger. Of those, adjacent to fractional are being driven by adventurous retirees with six-figure caravans successful tow, exploring the Great Outdoors connected a carefree docket with nary end.

One benignant of car you don’t spot a batch up present is the electrical vehicle, not adjacent successful Darwin. These post-oil chiefly municipality alternatives to petrol and diesel-powered cars are not built for the Outback. None of the EVs sold successful Australia – yet – are built for beingness beyond the bitumen, oregon for towing. Limited driving ranges and agelong charging times compromise long-distance question and unit you to trust connected an emerging and fragile infrastructure to recharge. 

So wherefore has Porsche shipped 2 electrical Taycan Turismo Cross 4S wagons – $237,613 driveaway successful Melbourne – to Darwin for america to thrust done the bosom of the Northern Territory? Why person they flown their eMobility adept Mayk Weinkotter retired from Germany to travel the adventure, and wherefore has Australian F1 contention victor Mark Webber agreed to pb the convoy for the archetypal 2 days?

Porsche’s ambitions for this escapade agelong good beyond Drive’s ain decorativeness enactment of Tennant Creek, 1000km southbound of Darwin connected the Stuart Highway that connects our northernmost superior with Adelaide acold to the south. After Tennant Creek, the convoy volition crook southeast and upwind its mode done genuinely rugged terrain each the mode to Bondi Beach successful Sydney. 

All up it’s a travel of much than 4000km, and arsenic we observe connected Day One, the Taycan Turismo Cross 4S has a real-world driving scope of little than 400km connected a afloat charge. 

That’s a agelong mode abbreviated of the WLTP assertion of 512km. That besides suggests that a just chunk of the convoy’s clip volition beryllium spent waiting for the cars to recharge. Some of that tin beryllium done astatine nighttime portion bushed drivers sleep, but that restricts each time to 400km astatine astir – assuming there’s a charger astatine waiting for you astatine km 399 each day. Otherwise, we’ll request to thrust shorter distances each time oregon apical up passim the time erstwhile the accidental presents.

Day One is simply a bully illustration of this with a archetypal signifier from Darwin’s foreshore to Pine Creek 225km south. In a petrol car, that region is little than a 3rd of a tank. In the Porsches, sitting connected the 130km/h velocity limit, we usage 70 per cent of the battery’s charge. We get astatine the Pine Creek Hotel’s 20kW AC charger astatine 11 a.m. truthful we plug 1 car successful and drawback an aboriginal lunch. Once that car’s had an hr it heads disconnected and we commencement charging the 2nd car. 

After luncheon I drawback immoderate wheeltime with Mr Webber, to find retired what he’s doing here, wherefore Porsche is doing this, and however his Aussie F1 protege Oscar Piastri is handling a tumultuous archetypal play astatine McLaren.

“He’s establishing himself precise good arsenic a rookie successful Formula 1. It's truthful evidently highly challenging to larn the caller circuits, the caller tyre compounds…putting each the weekends together. Ultimately, I deliberation it's been a phenomenal archetypal portion of the play for him. He's done well. He's learning a lot. I anticipation that the backmost extremity of the play is much of the same. 

“I don't cognize that we should expect excessively overmuch more. I deliberation if he's doing what he's been doing up to this point, that's highly awesome for a archetypal play and helium conscionable keeps gathering connected that successful his archetypal fewer years.”

As for what we’re doing retired present successful the Northern Territory successful a Porsche EV, Mark has a presumption connected that too. 

“Porsche has ne'er been shy of doing this benignant of stuff: taking their products into challenging environments. Look astatine the aboriginal days of the 959 and the Dakar acquisition astir that and Jacky Ickx. Fast guardant and Porsche conscionable released the Dakar car, the 911. And evidently present with these EVs, we’ve seen that they tin truly beryllium dependable and robust and person the scope to get america done specified a trip.

“Some different brands mightiness find it intimidating but Porsche is blessed to instrumentality connected the challenge.” 

Like me, Mark is amazed astatine however often we’re uncovering charging stations. 

“It’s beauteous phenomenal, isn't it? Obviously, you person to program up and past you tin conscionable leapfrog your mode down the roadworthy getting a top-up present and determination wherever you tin successful astir luncheon oregon overnight. It's a spot similar a mobile phone. You aftermath up with a afloat complaint acceptable to go. That's been a pleasant astonishment for us, each right.”

As it turns out, we astir apt could person made our Day One destination of Katherine 317km connected a azygous charge, but vigor depletion astatine the highway’s 130km/h velocity bounds was unknown. A abbreviated trial during the 2nd limb pegged this astatine 32kWh/100km. Given that the Porsche’s 93.4kWh artillery has a usable complaint of 83.7kWh, our real-world scope is 260km astatine best. 

At 110km/h the Taycan averages 27kWh/100km and astatine 90km/h the mean is 23kWh/100km, truthful we did person the means to widen that driving range, but it would mean a longer travel time. On a abbreviated travel similar our archetypal day, what could beryllium a 2.4-hour travel would stroke retired by astir 50 per cent to 3.5hr. But if you origin successful the hr spent charging, they nett retired the same. 

We could besides person employed the Taycan’s specially programmed “Range” driving mode which increases the imaginable region connected a complaint by limiting apical speed, lowering the thrust height, reducing headlight strength and aerial conditioning effectiveness, and adjacent turning disconnected the passenger’s integer show – each to conserve power. But that Pine Creek boost meant we didn’t request to alteration our driving behaviour. 

Day Two’s destination was Daly Waters, an Outback municipality that’s overflowing with character. We had a mates of stops planned on the way, the archetypal astatine Mataranka for a dip successful the thermal springs and the 2nd astatine Larrimah for lunch. Overall this would beryllium a shorter time than the archetypal with conscionable 276km to cover. 

Again we took the accidental to complaint the cars portion enjoying the 28-degree waters of Mataranka Springs, adjacent though we’d lone covered 120km. The 2 cars’ departure times from Katherine had been staggered truthful each car could get an hr without delaying the convoy much than necessary. It meant an earlier emergence for Car One’s squad that greeting but erstwhile swimming finished we near successful convoy for Larrimah.

Larrimah is an outback roadhouse and caravan parkland with plentifulness of quality different 80km south. For immoderate reason, the owners person adopted the Pink Panther arsenic their mascot and determination are much than a twelve of them each implicit the compound – including a larger-than-life statue sitting retired beforehand with a tinny and a 2nd full-size Panther successful an ultralight precocious implicit the car park.

There’s besides a crocodile basking successful an enclosure, which I initially thought was fake until it batted an eyelid astatine me. 

We plugged the EVs successful again… and promptly blew the fuse connected the caravan park. Once that was reset the recharging resumed, again astatine 20kW AC, which was proving to beryllium the Outback standard. 

After an Outback-sized steak sandwich, we continued connected to Daly Waters, a municipality that makes Larrimah’s conception of quality look drab and underdone. 

The 90km cruise to Daly Waters proves uneventful. In fact, this full travel is proving precise uneventful from an automotive perspective. The cars are doing it easily, and determination are capable charging points on the mode that adjacent a car with little than 250km EV scope would not struggle. 

Daly Waters is not truthful overmuch a municipality arsenic a pub and a caravan parkland that has been fixed a monolithic tourer makeover. The main thoroughfare is lined with truly aged rusted cars and trucks and busses and adjacent aged planes, parked by immoderate long-ago patrons that simply ne'er bothered to determination them. 

The pub itself is emblematic of galore outback pubs. The walls are covered with paraphernalia near by erstwhile customers from each corners of the world. There are slope notes from dozens of countries, driver's licences, hastily scribbled travel notes, hats, shirts and adjacent bras hanging from the ceiling. 

The brew is acold and the nutrient is huge. That, too, is thing outback pubs person successful common.

The adjacent morning, Car One again leaves an hr early, heading for Tennant Creek. This promises to beryllium our biggest time – 407km – truthful charging en way volition beryllium crucial. Our archetypal halt is the tiny outpost of Elliott 150km from Daly Waters, again small much than a roadhouse and caravan parkland but it could person been truthful overmuch more. 

Not acold from Eliott is the immense cattle presumption of Newcastle Waters, erstwhile portion owned by Kerry Packer who sent his son, James, determination to enactment for a year. It’s besides the tract of Sun Cable’s projected $30bn star farm. When operational, this ambitious 12,000-hectare task would supply powerfulness to Darwin and – via a 3500km undersea cablegram – Singapore and Indonesia. 

What initially started arsenic a associated task betwixt 2 of Australia’s richest men, Mike Cannon Brookes and Andrew ‘twiggy’ Forrest who had invested a combined $210 million, stalled owed to a fund-raising disagreement betwixt the two. In January this year, Sun Cable went into voluntary administration.

If the task had got up, it’s a just stake that Elliott’s EV-charging installation would beryllium a spot nicer – and faster – than it is. To find it, you transverse the roadworthy from the Roadhouse and look for the agleam yellowish factual toilet block. Just down that, adjacent to the rubbish bins and nether the clothesline is the 20kW AC charging point. 

It’s not the astir salubrious, but it charges the car and proves thing of a deterrent for immoderate would-be car thieves successful the area. It’s the past spot anyone would deliberation to parkland a Porsche.

As 1 of conscionable 2 autarkic media connected this travel – the different was Jörn Thomas from Germany’s Auto Motor Und Sport magazine – we got the Pony Express attraction astatine Elliott. We had near Daly Waters successful Car Two, 2 hours aboriginal than Car One. When we arrived astatine Elliott we swapped the EVs connected complaint and took Car One portion the unit from Car One sat for different 2 hours.  

This ‘swapping of horses’ is simply a instrumentality popularised successful America’s pioneering days to let manager drivers to propulsion their teams harder, knowing that a caller squad of horses awaited astatine the adjacent stop. Urgent message couriers utilized the aforesaid method, often jumping from 1 equine to different with hardly a infinitesimal to remainder themselves. 

For existent Outback travellers, it’s simply not an option. Who has a 2nd EV waiting for them astatine each stop, recharged and acceptable to rock? It’s a sleight of manus for sure, but for me, it doesn’t undermine Porsche’s wide extremity of proving that EVs tin beryllium driven immense distances crossed the country. And to beryllium honest, I don’t cognize wherefore they felt it necessary. I’ve done large drives successful EVs. I don’t caput waiting for a car to charge.

The limb from Elliott to Tennant Creek would beryllium our biggest azygous limb without charging: 254km. Not an earth-shattering number, but inactive a decent trial of the 4S’s existent scope astatine a changeless 130km/h with a fewer squirts beyond to overtake roadworthy trains and grey nomads.

Again, it passed without incidental with not adjacent a level tyre oregon a wildlife adjacent telephone to constitute about. Still, it gave maine clip to speech aboriginal with Mayk Weinkotter, Porsche’s Taycan and eMobility spokesperson. I besides learned that this was not Mayk’s archetypal Taycan adventure.

“At the opening of the year, we took immoderate Taycans to India and we drove from Mumbai to Hyderabad to ticker the precise archetypal Formula E contention successful India wherever Porsche was rather successful. So, that was a bully acquisition arsenic well. We struggled with the charging infrastructure and making it enactment with the traffic, but it was a precise bully adventure. Very antithetic from this scenery obviously, but besides precise utmost connected the different hand.

“By comparison, I expected this travel to beryllium harder but it’s proving overmuch easier than anticipated due to the fact that I was not expecting to person truthful overmuch powerfulness [availability] connected the camping grounds wherever we were chiefly charging. Plus having the enactment to complaint overnight truly made this travel overmuch much easier than I anticipated.”

Porsche is betting heavy connected an EV future, but it’s not an all-in bet. Synthetic fuels is different avenue Porsche is exploring, and applying to circumstantial models successful its range.

“It truly depends connected wherever successful its lifecycle the exemplary enactment is astatine the moment. If you person a wholly caller exemplary enactment coming up, it's much apt to beryllium electric. But arsenic you know, we besides person the precise iconic 911 and that's expected to beryllium the past car that is going to beryllium electrified. And for this model, we decidedly are relying connected e-fuels, which is besides a precise environmentally affable and sustainable mode of moving this car for a agelong time.”

I inquire Mayk however helium feels the enthusiast volition respond to an electrical 911. 

“Umm, I deliberation by the clip we bash it – and if we ever bash it – the exertion volition beryllium truthful advanced, and EV volition beryllium the caller normal, radical volition admit it. Doing it present for definite would not beryllium the champion and smartest thought to beryllium fair. But by the clip we yet bash it, the technologies volition beryllium overmuch much precocious than they are today.”

“We ever assertion that by 2030, 80 per cent of each caller Porsches volition beryllium afloat electrical and that's evidently not including the 911 exemplary line. But SUVs similar the Macan and the Cayenne are bigger vehicles, they are little delicate to value truthful they are much due to electrify. 

“Next year, we're going to contiguous the afloat electrical Macan mentation which volition beryllium our 2nd afloat electrical vehicle. Then we person the 718 exemplary enactment successful the pipeline. The next-generation Cayenne volition beryllium afloat electrical arsenic well. We besides readying to found a caller SUV adjacent much luxurious than the Cayenne. The interior codification is the K1 and this is besides going to beryllium afloat electric.”

Porsche has confirmed small astir the K1 beyond its existence. We judge it volition beryllium a luxury seven-seater and it volition articulation the scope successful 2027. You tin work much here.

Mayk’s chat concludes with our accomplishment into Tennant Creek, the extremity of Drive’s engagement successful this adventurous undertaking. So, aft 3 days of driving 1000km done the Northern Territory, I present cognize the reply to: “Can you thrust an EV done the Outback?”

The reply is yes, easily. As agelong arsenic you instrumentality to the main roadworthy and program your charging points. And you’re not successful a hurry.

The much pertinent question is: “Would you take to thrust an EV done the Outback?” 

The reply is no. Because the regular scope is limited, there’s a batch of sitting astir waiting to charge, it can’t tow a caravan and it can’t spell acold beyond the blacktop. 

As for scope anxiety, retired present it is precise overmuch an contented – for each cars. Knowing the determination of your adjacent recharge oregon refuel is cardinal to survival. Sure, there’s capable postulation connected the Stuart that you’d ne'er beryllium stranded for much than 5 minutes, but if you crook disconnected the blacktop past marque definite you’ve done your homework.

An EV retired present takes that to the adjacent level. You request to beryllium hyper-aware and person planned ahead, adjacent connected the Stuart highway. 

We did 1000km from Darwin to Tennant Creek successful an EV successful 3 days. For sightseers that gait is astir apt accelerated enough. For radical who request to get wherever they’re going, an EV wouldn’t chopped it retired here.  

Not yet anyway.

One day, though, they’ll beryllium arsenic communal retired present arsenic grey nomads.

Porsche Cars Australia provided the cars and paid for each flights, accommodation and crushed costs associated with this article.

Glenn Butler

Glenn Butler is 1 of Australia's best-known motoring journalists having spent the past 25 years reporting connected cars connected radio, TV, web and print. He's a erstwhile exertion of Wheels, Australia's astir respected car magazine, and was lawman exertion of Drive.com.au before that. Glenn's besides worked astatine an enforcement level for 2 of Australia's astir salient car companies, truthful helium understands however overmuch attraction and information goes into designing and processing caller cars. As a journalist, he's driven everything from Ferraris to Fiats connected each continents but Antarctica (which helium 1 time hopes to achieve) and loves discovering each car's unsocial property and strengths. Glenn knows a car's terms isn't indicative of its competence, and adjacent the cheapest car tin heighten your beingness and grow your horizons. 

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