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Meet Tesla's Newest Competitor, the 2021 Porsche Taycan Base Model Starts at $79,900

Meet Tesla's Newest Competitor, the 2021 Porsche Taycan Base Model Starts at $79,900

Author: Manish Kharinta   

Following in the footsteps of electric automaker Tesla, German sports car manufacturer Porsche refrained from introducing a more affordable version of its electric Taycan when the automaker introduced the high-performance, battery-powered sedan in 2019. 

This meant that Porsche fans and enthusiasts around the world would have to wait for the more affordable base variant of the Taycan. It's the same playbook as Tesla, releasing the more expensive (and more profitable) models first, then using the proceeds to manufacture lower-priced versions.

Now Porsche has finally introduced the Taycan's entry-level sibling in the U.S. with a starting price of $79,900. Porsche offers the standard variant exclusively in rear-wheel-drive, unlike the sportier Taycan 4S, which gets an all-wheel-drive setup.

The new model, simply called "Taycan", has been a long time coming, especially considering that Porsche rolled out its more competitively priced version in China last year.

Up until now, the Taycan 4S was the most affordable model in Porsche's North American lineup with prices starting at $103,800. The top of the line 670 hp Taycan Turbo starts at $150,900. 

The rear-wheel-drive layout in the standard Taycan produces 402 horsepower and 254 lb-ft of peak torque from its electric powertrain. Porsche claims that the base Taycan can accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH in just 5.1 seconds. Top speed is 143 mph.  

Customers can also opt for a Performance Battery Plus option, which bumps the horsepower up to 469 with 263 lb-ft of torque. For the optional battery pack, Porsche is replacing the Taycan's standard 79.2 kWh lithium-ion pack with a larger 93.4 kWh unit.

Unfortunately, the models equipped with the Performance Battery Plus option also take the same 5.1 seconds to reach 60 mph, as the additional weight of the larger battery affects the initial acceleration off the line.

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The $79,900 Taycan is poised to become a strong competitor to the flagship Tesla Model S.

The entry-level Porsche Taycan models will get 225 kW charging capability, which is bumped up to 270 kW for the models with the Performance Battery Plus option. Tesla vehicles can also charge at 225 kW using one of the company's V3 Superchargers

Both the 79.2 kWh and 93.4 kWh battery packs can be recharged up to 80% in about 20 minutes, and as a bonus, the entry-level Taycan will be offered with three years of free charging from EV charging operator Electrify America.

So far, we do not have the official EPA range estimates for the new entry-level Taycan. However, the Chinese-spec version offers 256 miles of range for the standard battery pack and 330 miles for the larger 93.4 kWh pack (as per NEDC standard).

It's also worth noting that prices for the base Long Range Plus version of Tesla's flagship sedan start from $69,420, and Model S offers 402 miles of EPA-estimated range. So the Tesla Model S will be Porsche's main competitor in the segment. 

With Tesla now the world's most valuable automaker, it is safe to say that the Californian EV manufacturer's brand image is just as influential (if not more) as that of Porsche. It will be interesting to see if Porsche manages to appeal to its high-income clientele with the base Taycan. 

Porsche said the new Taycan will arrive at U.S. dealers in the spring.

The $79,900 Taycan is poised to become a strong competitor to the flagship Tesla Model S.

Manish Kharinta
Manish Kharinta
Manish Kharinta is a automotive writer based in the Los Angeles area. He has worked for automotive industry websites TheSmokingClutch.com, CarDekho.com and CarBikeindia.com. His experience ranges from covering auto shows, to car reviews and breaking automotive news. Manish aims to bring forth his unique perspective on automotive design and technological innovations in the automotive industry.
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