On safety ratings, and what it says about the deep differences between two makers.
Recent headlines said Porsche’s 5 star safety rating matched Tesla.
But that doesn’t convey the differences in their safety design.
The operative number is the ‘probability of injury’. That tells much more than stars.
Recent Eurocap scores show a percentage score for each category, which appears to be similar to NHTSA’s probability of avoiding injury.
For adult occupants, the percent score is as follows -
Taycan - 85%
Model 3 - 96%
Zero probability of injury would be a 100% perfect score.
So 96% score suggests a 4% probability of injury in an accident.
And 85% score implies a 15% risk of injury in an accident.
You could say Taycan has only 11% more risk, but this does not express it meaningfully.
A more substantive mathematical representation is the ratio of probability of injury, so -
15% / 4% = 3.7X
Expressed as a ratio, Taycan seems almost 4 times more likely to see injury vs. a Model 3.
The cars’ safety performance is really not the same. While both may be good, one is clearly lower risk than the other.
You’d have to be in 4 (normalized) accidents in the Tesla to equal the same risk of injury of one crash in the Porsche.
35K buys a model 3, vs. 103K - 230K for a Taycan. So the Porsche is quite a bit more expensive.
In sum, 3-4X the cost for the Taycan, but 3-4 times lower risk in the Tesla.
Safety is perhaps the most important luxury, at any price.
For each of the two recent government reports on Taycan performance, there have been surprises that show significant differences between the cars.
Eurocap safety - Tesla is about 3-4 times lower risk of injury
EPA range - Tesla is about 1.9X longer range
EPA fuel efficiency - Tesla is about 1.5X more efficient
What is striking about all this is that Porsche had 6 years to study Tesla, and even copy their best techniques, without any royalties.
Yet they came out considerably worse on each of those specs.
Because they had the Tesla reference design to start with, I don’t believe Porsche engineering talent was less capable. They have excellent engineers.
Rather, I think the source of these deficiencies is in the will of VAG management.
Porsche made an EV not because they wanted to, but because they were forced to.
German laws, and increasing sales pressure from Tesla, pushed Porsche, reluctantly, to make Taycan.
They also directed that it should not be too competitive with current Porsche gas cars, lest they disrupt their own sales.
The result is that Porsche’s talents were shackled, and the car was hobbled by management meddling in the natural animal spirits of their race-winning engineering team.
On this forum now, there is an extraordinary disinformation campaign being mounted by Porsche trolls, to try to spin this as something better than a significant design miss.
On the heels of Dieselgate, this only further harms brand trust for VAG. The disinformation campaign compounds the PR damage from the performance shortfall, yet Porsche continues to do it.
It is hard to conclude other than that Porsche management is compromised by rampant cynicism about its responsibilities to society. To be fair, most of this happened under the watch of executives who are now in jail. But every day, new choices are made about how the company communicates, as we can see here. For that, the current management is accountable.
This is shaping up to be an object lesson in how the mighty fall.
VAG would be at least 33 billion dollars ahead today, if they simply told the truth.