A Porsche Taycan battery-electric vehicle has just landed a spot in the Guinness World Records for requiring the shortest charging time to travel coast-to-coast across the U.S.
Plugging in for just 2 hours, 26 minutes and 48 seconds, the Porsche driven by Wayne Gerdes required barely a third of the time to charge as the previous record holder, a Kia EV6 last year making the trans-continental run in just over 7 hours.
“I’m proud and honestly a little surprised to have set the new benchmark by such a margin,” said Gerdes as he finished the record run which took him 2,834.5 miles from Los Angeles to New York City.
“The Taycan performed even better than expected. Its performance, comfort and road holding were excellent, but the standout metric alongside the charging capacity was its efficiency.”
Overcoming “charging anxiety”
Porsche is actively trumpeting the trip, and for good reason, along with so-called “range anxiety,” the lack of a fleshed out public charging network, and slow charging times are often seen as the most serious barriers to widespread acceptance of battery-electric vehicles.
It can be a challenge to travel in some parts of the country in an EV, especially sparsely populated states like Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas, where chargers are few and far between. But Gerdes said he “didn’t have to divert” from the main route between Los Angeles and NYC, with plenty of high-speed chargers all along the way.
He specifically relied on those operated by Electrify America, the charging network set up by Porsche’s parent Volkswagen. Most of its stations offer chargers capable of delivering between 150 and 350 kilowatts of power, helping to reduce the time the Taycan needed to be plugged in.
During the journey, Gerdes passed through 13 states. The Porsche traveled through all sorts of different weather conditions and climbed from sea level up into the Rockies. While the Taycan has an EPA-rated range of 225 miles per charge, Gerdes at times nearly doubled that. That said, he is a specialist in “hyper-miling,” and holds what he said are “six or seven” other Guinness mileage records.
Nonetheless, this trip proved especially challenging. He was required to record every minute of his travels, with GPS tracking and other documentation — all eventually inspected by Guinness adjudicators.
If anything, the record book’s strict requirements actually lengthened the amount of time he needed to be plugged in.
Things could’ve gone even quicker
Electrify America chargers are the first to offer a feature called “Plug and Charge.” If a vehicle with the right software is plugged in a driver doesn’t have to use a credit card or smartphone app to pay. The charger and vehicle automatically exchange billing information.
Guinness required paper receipts from each charging stop, explained Gerdes, noting that if he had used Plug and Charge, “I probably could have saved another 20 minutes compared to going through the app or using a credit card.”
Even so, his record time of 2 hours, 26 minutes and 48 seconds handily beat the previous charging record set last autumn by a Kia EV6. It required 7 hours, 10 minutes and 1 second to go coast-to-coast.
Some careful planning helped
While Gerdes might make the cross-country trip by EV sound easy, he did have to do some planning to make it happen — primarily laying out a strategy for when and where to charge. And that did reflect the fact that there are far fewer chargers than gas stations, even along major cross-country highways. At some stops he would just “fill” his battery to 50 or 60% of capacity — enough to get him safely to the next charging station.
That did create a problem passing through Missouri, where one of the Electrify America charging stations was temporarily closed for maintenance. But he was able to push on to the next station and then keep going.
All told, the 2021 Porsche Taycan Gerdes piloted required $76.03 in energy to make it from Los Angeles to New York City.
How much less time might another BEV take to plug in for the trip? By comparison to some new BEVs, the Taycan’s range is rather modest. A version of the new Lucid Air gets an EPA rating of 520 miles. That could permit it to stop less often. But, when it does, it likely would have to plug in longer. But there’s little doubt that others will try to challenge Porsche’s Guinness record, and Gerdes admits he’d love to be behind the wheel when that happens.