Trip report: LA to SF Bay Area round trip

submatrix

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I just completed a successful trip from LA to the Bay Area and back. It's my first trip in the Taycan. The relevant stats of the vehicle:

- 2021 Taycan RWD
- 20" Aero wheels
- Performance Battery Plus
- Range Mode set to 85mph max
- ACC set to 75mph, ALK on for 95% for drive
- A/C set to 70F eco mode, fan speed at 2-3
- Standard seats
- Standard roof
- Insulated windows option

I'll be breaking up this report into sections discussing battery efficiency, comfort, charging, ACC/ALK, etc. Since my last vehicle was a 2018 Tesla Model S, I'll be making some comparisons to making this trip in that vehicle, since I did it many times during my ownership of that car.

Route
For the trip up north, I took the 101 for a more scenic route. I've never taken this route before, always favoring the 5 freeway in the past in my Model S in order to get to my final destination asap. There were 2 scheduled stops at the EA stations in Solvang and Soledad. ABRP had the stops at 15 and 16 minutes each. ABRP was also configured conservatively at 330 Wh/mi as this was my first road trip, so I figured I'd rather be on the safer side in terms of consumption. We left around 10am, had a leisurely lunch in Solvang, and arrived in the Bay around dinnertime. ABRP had the drive estimated to take 6h50m, with 31m of that being charging time.

For the trip back, I took the 5 freeway since we left around 1pm on Sunday, and wanted to get back asap to make it back to LA in time for dinner and to rest and prepare for the work week ahead. ABRP had the drive at 5h53m, with 25m of that being charging time. Again, 2 scheduled stops, this time in Firebaugh and Bakersfield.

Battery Efficiency
The entire drive was basically performed at 75-78mph with ACC/ALK enabled.

I planned my route assuming 330 Wh/mi, but in actuality the Taycan performed better than I expected. For the first leg from LA to Solvang, I got an impressive 235 Wh/mi:

IMG_4301.jpeg


Temperatures were in the low to mid 70s for this leg. As mentioned above, I used ACC/ALK for basically the entire drive, with Range mode engaged and A/C set to 70F eco mode.

For the second leg from Solvang to Soledad, efficiency was a bit worse, but still an impressive 308 Wh/mi. Temps were higher for this part, with a large portion of it being more inland and thus higher temps, reaching around 90F at the highest point. Some elevation gain as well, I believe, since I was going from the coast and driving more inland:

IMG_4311.jpeg


And for the final leg from Soledad to the Bay Area, a comparable 310 Wh/mi:

IMG_4312.jpeg


For the return trip, since I took the 5, the entire drive was in much hotter temps, ranging from 90 to 110F. The first leg from the Bay Area to Firebaugh was again, excellent consumption:

IMG_4318 2.jpeg


And from Firebaugh to Bakersfield, with temps ranging from 100F to 110F the entire way, an excellent 276 Wh/mi:

IMG_4321.jpeg


And finally, from Bakersfield to LA, again, an excellent 263 Wh/mi:

IMG_4322.jpeg


One thing I wonder about Range mode in the RWD is whether it does any tricks with the motor like in the 4S+ trims. There's obviously no rear motor to disable here for efficiency sake since that's the only motor in the car. In any case, I was very impressed with the Taycan's consumption on this trip. My Model S was rated at 260 miles EPA range but it's well known that it doesn't get nearly that if you're going at 75mph. By contrast my Taycan seems like it could easily get 300 real miles traveling at 75 mph.

Comfort
The Taycan seats are by no means uncomfortable, but from a pure road tripping perspective, I would give the edge to the Model S here. The Model S seats are squishy and pillowy and very comfortable to sit in for long periods of time without any part of your body getting sore. In contrast, my Taycan has no lumbar support since it has the standard seats and I found my lower back suffering a bit over the course of the trip. Not enough to ever affect a decision to take or not take a road trip, but enough to be notable. In driving the exact route in my Model S many times, I arrived at my destination with 0 soreness, almost as if I hadn't just driven a long distance at all. Of course, the Taycan seats are much better for engaged driving, and I feel they strike a good balance of comfort and feeling of connection to the vehicle.

The climate in the cabin was very comfortable, even with A/C in eco mode the entire time due to using Range mode. A/C temp was set to 70F, with fan speed ranging from 2-3. Even when temps were 110F outside, I felt no effects of it while driving. In the Tesla, with the panoramic roof, I definitely remember feeling radiated heat in my head area when it was really hot outside. None of that here with the standard roof. I placed my hand to the inside of the roof to test and it was hardly warm. Between the lack of pano roof and having the insulated windows, I was impressed with the climate control in the Taycan.

As a minor note, I also set up the same thing I would do when enabling Autopilot in my Model S, which was having a separate seat profile for when Autopilot was engaged. All I would do is simply tilt the seat back a few degrees rather than the more upright position I do when doing daily/city driving. Over long distances, the few degrees tilt back helps with the back comfort and is definitely more relaxing when the car is driving itself. To get the same effect in the Taycan, I've configured one of my 3 driver seat positions to also tilt the seat back a few degrees. I enable it when I have ACC/ALK on, and then go back to profile 1 (my main one) when I'm driving manually.

Charging
For the most part, this went well. As I've mentioned, I had 4 total stops at EA stations. I also charged at my destination in the Bay Area.

I've never been able to get Plug & Charge to work, and rather than even bother wasting time trying it on this road trip, I just had it disabled. I initiated all my sessions from the Charging NA app. The last thing you want to do when it's 110F outside is see if Plug & Charge will work, have it fail, and then find that you need to instead start the charge manually.

The only station I had trouble with was Bakersfield. There were 4 stations in total, and 1 and 3 were in use when I pulled up. I pulled into 2 and plugged in. I got to the payment screen, which is usually a good sign. I then initiated the session from the app as usual. It spun for a long time saying Initiating Charging..., but then eventually timed out and failed. I switched to spot 4 only to find that station saying it was Unavailable. At this point the other drivers who were charging noticed I was having issues and I ended up chatting with them. I ended up taking station 1 when one of them left, and started the session with no issues.

I also had the pleasure of running into @Torv 's Cherry Red 4S by pure coincidence when charging in Firebaugh, though I missed the man himself :) Due to the unexpectedly good efficiency of the Taycan, ABRP had me stopping Firebaugh and charging up to 70% before continuing on to Bakersfield, but I actually arrived with 70% charge and so it just ended up being a bathroom break plus surplus charging. It also helped me charge for less time at Bakersfield, since naturally I pulled up to that station with more charge than ABRP expected as well. My Chalk and @Torv 4S:

IMG_4319.jpeg


Adaptive Cruise Control/Active Lane Keeping
ACC works pretty well, but there is one definite case where it lacks compared to Tesla, and that is when people are merging in front of you. It always picks up the car much later than I would like. If you are in traffic and a gap has opened up in front of you, you'll get into this awkward situation where ACC will start to speed your Taycan up as the car is merging into your lane, and then you can either brake manually or let ACC brake super late (maybe even too late in some cases?) and give you and any passengers an uncomfortable jolt. Other than that, I think ACC is purely radar based so there's no phantom braking issue here. To be fair to Tesla, after a big software patch early on, I never had any phantom braking issues in my Model S again, but I still see a lot of Model 3 owners complaining about it to this day.

ALK works fairly well when there are either completely solid lines, or clearly marked segmented lines (whatever the normal ones on a multi-lane road are called). There were some stretches where old lane lines had been painted over in a sort of black paint, leading to a weird mishmash of black segments and white segments, and ALK frequently lost the ability to steer during this section. The worst part is that when it loses the ability to auto steer, you get no audible warning. The only notification is that the normally green steering wheel ALK icon turns gray to show that it is on but not active. I had a few instances where I would expect the car to steer, only to find the car starting to drift into the neighboring lane. Once I figured out that the car does this from time to time, I found that the best way to handle it was to kind of "phantom steer" with my hands whenever there's iffy sections of road markings. Basically, sort of steer with let's say 30% strength. This allows you to expend minimal energy while still being able to correct for the car starting to drift. This method also helps when the car doesn't stay fully centered in the lane, which also happens somewhat often. For example, the car might hug the lane line to the right a bit more than you'd like, but there's also a fat car in that lane to your right, or even a car who itself is hugging that same lane line. You can steer with 30% strength and the car fairly easily lets you take over or make adjustments.

One thing I like about the ALK system over Tesla's is that if you ever do take over, the system doesn't shut itself off until you turn it on again. Instead, the Taycan's ALK system is always looking for lane lines, so if you take control or the car loses the lines for a period of time, it will automatically resume steering once it's able to. One huge benefit of this is for changing lanes. It is very easy to change lanes while ALK is on, with the car putting up almost no counter resistance to you manually steering. Once you've entered the new lane, the car automatically picks up the new lane lines and resumes automatically steering. With Tesla, you have to either forcefully counter steer until the system realizes you are trying to manually drive, at which point it turns off auto steering until you turn it back on, or you have to use auto lane changing which is not available with the standard Autopilot package.

Overall, the combination of ACC/ALK made the long drive a breeze and once I learned how the handle the deficiencies of ALK, I was able to confidently and safely use the system while reducing the physical/mental fatigue of the long drive as much as possible. I'm pretty sure that on my next road trip, the car will never drift because I'll be driving with that 30% strength thing I mentioned above during the sections where the lines are iffy.

Misc

Nearing Solvang:

IMG_4302.jpeg


Charging in Solvang:

1627945449709.jpeg


Spotted EA using Teamviewer to remote into the station? :CWL:

IMG_4307.jpeg


More beautiful California coastline:

IMG_4308.jpeg


Charging in Soledad:

IMG_4309.jpeg


IMG_4310.jpeg


Charging in Bakersfield:

IMG_4320.jpeg
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Torv

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Comfort
The Taycan seats are by no means uncomfortable, but from a pure road tripping perspective, I would give the edge to the Model S here. The Model S seats are squishy and pillowy and very comfortable to sit in for long periods of time without any part of your body getting sore. In contrast, my Taycan has no lumbar support since it has the standard seats and I found my lower back suffering a bit over the course of the trip. Not enough to ever affect a decision to take or not take a road trip, but enough to be notable. In driving the exact route in my Model S many times, I arrived at my destination with 0 soreness, almost as if I hadn't just driven a long distance at all. Of course, the Taycan seats are much better for engaged driving, and I feel they strike a good balance of comfort and feeling of connection to the vehicle.

The climate in the cabin was very comfortable, even with A/C in eco mode the entire time due to using Range mode. A/C temp was set to 70F, with fan speed ranging from 2-3. Even when temps were 110F outside, I felt no effects of it while driving. In the Tesla, with the panoramic roof, I definitely remember feeling radiated heat in my head area when it was really hot outside. None of that here with the standard roof. I placed my hand to the inside of the roof to test and it was hardly warm. Between the lack of pano roof and having the insulated windows, I was impressed with the climate control in the Taycan.

As a minor note, I also set up the same thing I would do when enabling Autopilot in my Model S, which was having a separate seat profile for when Autopilot was engaged. All I would do is simply tilt the seat back a few degrees rather than the more upright position I do when doing daily/city driving. Over long distances, the few degrees tilt back helps with the back comfort and is definitely more relaxing when the car is driving itself. To get the same effect in the Taycan, I've configured one of my 3 driver seat positions to also tilt the seat back a few degrees. I enable it when I have ACC/ALK on, and then go back to profile 1 (my main one) when I'm driving manually.
Regarding your experience with the hot day, I too had the AC running but mostly in the standard mode, but unlike your Taycan, mine has the panoramic glass roof along with the thermal and noise insulated glass option. I was completely amazed on how cool the car stayed as we drove. I set the temp at 72 and the cabin was completely comfortable, but too cool for my wife who set her side at 74. I didn't notice any thermal transmission from the glass roof to the cabin--there is some serious alchemy going on with that glass! When we stopped to charge and opened the door to the blast furnace that is the Central Valley I was struck by how efficiently Taycan maintained a totally comfortable climate despite the 110 degree heat. My Tesla couldn't do that without running the AC full blast, probably as you said because of the heat penetrating the Tesla panoramic roof.

I have to disagree with you though regarding the Taycan’s seats. I also had a Model S, a 2015 85D and I found those seats to be like a Barcalounger compared to the supportive 14-way sports seats in the Taycan. I'd taken several trips to LA in the Tesla and always felt a bit fatigued upon arrival. The Taycan seats were a revelation compared to my Tesla’s seats

By the way, you mentioned that you've never had a successful plug and charge. I wonder what's up with that as your car and mine are probably very close together in terms of production. Have you queried your dealer or Porsche?
 
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submatrix

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I have to disagree with you though regarding the Taycan’s seats. I also had a Model S, a 2015 85D and I found those seats to be like a Barcalounger compared to the supportive 14-way sports seats in the Taycan. I'd taken several trips to LA in the Tesla and always felt a bit fatigued upon arrival. The Taycan seats were a revelation compared to my Tesla’s seats
Well keep in mind Tesla upgraded the seats multiple times between your 2015 model and my 2018 model: https://insideevs.com/news/339209/watch-tesla-model-s-seats-evolve-over-time/. Also, I only have the standard 8-way seats in my Taycan, with the key lacking feature being lumbar support (for me anyway).

By the way, you mentioned that you've never had a successful plug and charge. I wonder what's up with that as your car and mine are probably very close together in terms of production. Have you queried your dealer or Porsche?
I mentioned it once but they never got back to me about it. I'm fairly certain the dealer knows less about this stuff than I do :) I need to call Porsche NA I think, it sounds like some users here have been able to get info about server issues and such, which is what I think is going on here. I have a feeling my car is in some in between state where it's not fully registered with Porsche.
 

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I have to disagree with you though regarding the Taycan’s seats. I also had a Model S, a 2015 85D and I found those seats to be like a Barcalounger compared to the supportive 14-way sports seats in the Taycan. I'd taken several trips to LA in the Tesla and always felt a bit fatigued upon arrival. The Taycan seats were a revelation compared to my Tesla’s seats
Agreed. I have 14-way in my RWD and they are miles better in terms of comfort compared to Tesla seats. I'm 6' 3".
 
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Agreed. I have 14-way in my RWD and they are miles better in terms of comfort compared to Tesla seats. I'm 6' 3".
Agreed, but @submatrix is right, Tesla did change their seat design after my 2015 Model S. Whether or not those seats were more comfortable than the previous gen seats is debatable and definitely a matter of personal preference. That said, I do find the 14-way sports seats in the Taycan supremely comfortable and vastly more supportive than my Tesla’s loungers.
 
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submatrix

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I mentioned it once but they never got back to me about it. I'm fairly certain the dealer knows less about this stuff than I do :) I need to call Porsche NA I think, it sounds like some users here have been able to get info about server issues and such, which is what I think is going on here. I have a feeling my car is in some in between state where it's not fully registered with Porsche.
Also @Torv regarding Plug and Charge, I've mentioned it a few times but one of the obvious symptoms seems to be that in the Charging NA app, there's nothing listed under My Vehicles. It just shows a blank page and then an error at the bottom about some backend server issue. It's been like this since I took delivery.
 

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Agreed, but @submatrix is right, Tesla did change their seat design after my 2015 Model S. Whether or not those seats were more comfortable than the previous gen seats is debatable and definitely a matter of personal preference. That said, I do find the 14-way sports seats in the Taycan supremely comfortable and vastly more supportive than my Tesla’s loungers.
I had a 2020
 
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submatrix

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Agreed, but @submatrix is right, Tesla did change their seat design after my 2015 Model S. Whether or not those seats were more comfortable than the previous gen seats is debatable and definitely a matter of personal preference. That said, I do find the 14-way sports seats in the Taycan supremely comfortable and vastly more supportive than my Tesla’s loungers.
In retrospect, given the choice, I definitely would have specced the 14-ways. Unfortunately, I bought an inventory model so I wouldn't have to wait months for my order. I got a lot of what I wanted in my own config, but the seats were definitely not one of them. That being said, I still like the seats quite a bit.
 

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Great writeup. I just did the same trip. Some data.

Route: LA to San Jose area via i5. Left about 2pm.
Total miles: 336
Consumption: 310
Speed: 66 average, with many times much faster than that given the 70 mph limit which if you drive at, you are being passed .
Outside Temp: majority of trip: 100-109.
AC: 70 set at auto.
Charging. 1 stop - charged from 50 to 92 in about 25 minutes at a 150 charger which was enough time for a burger, frosty and bathroom break. Arrived home with 21 percent left. The battery temp was close to 100 so that probably helped the speed.

Echo @Torv comment about the panoramic roof and insulated glass. The AC was barely noticeable and I didn't realize how great everything worked until I got to the charging station and opened the door and felt the 109 degree heat. I was surprised that given the outside temp and the speed I was driving the battery temp stayed below 100. I would have thought it would have been much hotter.

On the reverse trip, I did 2 stops and that was only because I wasn't sure how convenient it would be charge once I got to LA given LA traffic, my schedule, etc, so i planned it to arrive with about 50 percent full.

Only "negative" about charging was that when I pulled in I saw that there was broken glass all around my parking space and another beer bottle was on put on the parking line. I didn't notice it until I pulled in - when I pulled out I saw another half broken bottle that I had parked over - I was lucky and i managed to miss all the glass that was scattered about. Obviously not EA's fault, and I suspect it was done by some anti-EV person. I cleaned up the glass.

Other observations, There were two different Tesla's that wanted to race me (pulled up next to me, honked horn, pointed ahead, then speed a little bit and waited for me to take the bait). I did not. I also was surprised at how many Kia's I saw - and I only noticed them since they were the ones who were driving wicked fast...and I mean fast... saw at least 5 that were doing that.
 

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Only "negative" about charging was that when I pulled in I saw that there was broken glass all around my parking space and another beer bottle was on put on the parking line. I didn't notice it until I pulled in - when I pulled out I saw another half broken bottle that I had parked over - I was lucky and i managed to miss all the glass that was scattered about. Obviously not EA's fault, and I suspect it was done by some anti-EV person. I cleaned up the glass.
True, not EA’s fault, but kind of indicative on how crappy their maintenance is. I've now gone to more than a few EA chargers, and I'm struck by how trashed they tend to be. There's one near Burlingame that had empty coffee cups strewn about the tops of the machines, trash everywhere and coffee stains running down the front of the chargers, simply general neglect and really gross! I called EA about the decrepit condition and I sure hope they send a crew out to clean their equipment.
 
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submatrix

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Charging. 1 stop - charged from 50 to 92 in about 25 minutes at a 150 charger which was enough time for a burger, frosty and bathroom break. Arrived home with 21 percent left. The battery temp was close to 100 so that probably helped the speed.
Can you remind me how to check the battery temp?
 

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Can you remind me how to check the battery temp?
Settings -> display -> instrument -> customized view

(those names are approximate).

Then it shows up in the "information" screen on the right-most display in the center display.

I forgot to also select GPS which would have been good to have to see the height of mountains I was driving through.
 

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but kind of indicative on how crappy their maintenance is.
I would expect them to maintain the operation of the equipment. Expecting them to pick up a beer bottle or other trash that maybe was put there that day, seems unrealistic.
 
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