We Drove 8 Electric Cars over 120 miles…

…in real conditions so you don’t have to

As it turns out, not all electric cars are created equal

Electric cars are not absolute newcomers to the car industry anymore. Over the past five years or so, most carmakers have churned out at least one electric car with plans to release a handful of others over the coming decade or so. The charging infrastructure has grown, too.

While this is obviously good news, it also leaves us (and the customer) with quite a big pond of EVs to choose from. To add more to the confusion and indecision, electric cars come in all shapes and sizes, set in motion by just one electric motor, two, or even three, and, obviously, very different price tags. Long story short, picking your next electric car might leave you scratching the top of your head. We get it.

Fret not, though. We’ve been kindly invited by Romania’s leading car outlet, Automarket, to an eight-day, eight-car real-life experiment that set out to discover just how good (or bad) the latest electric cars are in actual traffic both in and outside the city. What followed was to be known as Electric Romania 2020, basically a workshop on wheels powered by Vitesco Technologies, joined by other partners such as Michelin. The experience helped us better digest and understand both the strengths and shortcomings of today’s electric car: range-wise but also in terms of comfort, dynamics, user friendliness, tech-savviness, and overall liveability.

Porsche Taycan Turbo S (Image: Porsche)

Porsche Taycan Turbo S (Image: Porsche)

This is where I started feeling like doing my dissertation paper all over again. Firstly, Electric Romania was thought out and designed as a tour of Romania done with EVs.

In case you’re asking why eight days, well, the backbone of the tour consisted of eight cars – all launched in 2020 on the Romanian market – and 14 journalists and content creators that would sample the said cars.

Basically, you got to drive another car each day, and the end of which you had to fill in a form with various bits of information: distance travelled, total time of travel, charging times, how much battery you had left at the destination, how much electricity went into the battery during charging, average speed, and so on.

So, each electric car was put through its paces over eight days, but every time by a different driver with a completely different set of driving habits than the one before him and on a different route. This included highways, winding A- and B-roads through the mountainside and hillside, as well as flat, plain-splitting roads where the elevation didn’t change much.

As for the car lineup itself, this is it, in the exact order we drove them:

Porsche Taycan
Renault Zoe
Volkswagen ID.3
Audi e-tron Sportback
Hyundai Kona Electric
Kia e-Niro
Mini Cooper SE
Peugeot e-2008
From here on, each car’s battery pack, electric motor (or motors), range, other specs as well as driving impressions will be presented as it follows.

Porsche had to get its first electric car right. And good God, it did. The Taycan Turbo is not just a flurry of performance, but a smile magnet. Sitting behind the wheel in the handful of traffic jams that slowed us down is the best way to enjoy the most honest smiles I’ve been treated with in a luxury car. Some people see you in Mercedes-AMG S63 or in a Panamera Turbo and you can just read either envy or loathing on their faces. With the Taycan, it’s the complete opposite: candid, genuine smiles from folks of all ages, walking on the street or driving in the next lane.

When you’re not sitting in a traffic jam, the Taycan Turbo’s personality can flip from tame to psycho as quick as it can go from naught to 60 mph: three seconds flat with Launch Control, on its way to a top speed of 260 kph (162 mph). The acceleration is brutal. You can easily squeeze a lot of squeal out of the wider-than-life rear tires from a standstill and with a drop of bad luck, you can even fracture a vertebra before the electronic nannies kick in or you decide to lift off. Even at highway speeds, smashing the accelerator will make the Taycan squat then shoot straight up ahead. The back of your head never leaves the headrest. Even if it wants, it can’t. At this point, I’m scared just thinking of what the Turbo S can do.

For a car this wide and long, city cruising is surprisingly swift and easy, but it’s the outer roads that make your spine tingle inside the Taycan. When on, the Launch Control feature triggers the Overboost function that unlocks the Turbo’s 500 kilowatts (670 hp, 680 PS) and 850 Newton-meters (627 pound-feet) coming from two electric motors fed by the 83.7-kWh battery pack (that’s the net, usable capacity – gross capacity according to Porsche literature is 93.4 kWh).

Read more: TopSpeed

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