Friday, July 30, 2021

Tackling the North East 250 in the five-star Porsche Taycan

Rain has started to fall as we continue onwards, the Taycan’s all-wheel drive system unflustered by increasingly wet conditions. We don’t stop at Braemar because we’re planning a break here on the way back, so we follow the River Dee towards the vast royal estate at Balmoral before slotting off towards Tomintoul on the A939 and another long stretch of moors and peaks, passing the smaller ski centre at Lecht. The scenery is fractionally less spectacular than around Glenshee, but the road is quiet enough that we’ve pretty much got it to ourselves. Probably unsurprisingly, the Taycan’s range display is falling faster than its odometer is adding miles. The need for fresh electrons is not pressing, with 80 miles to empty, but it’s clear we’ll need to recharge some way short of our planned overnight stop in Banff. Beyond Tomintoul, the road becomes tighter and busier as we enter single malt country, where the passing villages become a roll call of famous distilleries, Glenlivet, Ballindalloch and Glenfarclas following in quick succession. We stop at Craigellachie, where the Dewar’s distillery is pretty much in sight of one of the few available DC chargers hereabouts.

Before starting the trip, I was warned by a previous Highland EV-er about the need to get an RFID card from ChargePlace Scotland to unlock local chargers. This turned out to be a close-run thing. Despite ordering the card a full two weeks before starting the trip, it reached me on the day of my departure. But without it, we would have been in a serious jam, given the near-total lack of alternatives and the fact that ChargePlace Scotland doesn’t have an app capable of unlocking its chargers. (The company says it is possible for an account holder to access a charger by phoning its call centre. Or, if that fails, presumably sending a telegram or carrier pigeon.)

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Craigellachie’s 50kW charger adds range at a less than searing pace, but after spinning out a fuel station sandwich and coffee for 50 minutes, it has given 38kWh and cost £11.03, the cheapest half tank I’ve ever paid for in a Porsche.

The A95 that carries us north for the next stretch along the Spey valley is busier and slower, giving the chance to experience the other side of the Taycan’s character. Cruising refinement is nearly as impressive as the brutality of its short-notice performance, the cabin quiet and the air-sprung ride pliant for a car capable of such athleticism. With the optional adaptive cruise managing distances, it’s a struggle to nominate any other car that would make low-intensity use feel so effortless.


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