Safety. Tesla vs. Taycan. What the details reveal.

Safety. Tesla vs. Taycan. What the details reveal.

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.

jjs | December 14, 2019

"Truth in Engineering" Now where have I heard that before? Let me think... | December 14, 2019

For safety, it is also telling that the last car Porsche let be tested by the NHTSA was the 2006 Boxter. No other Porsche has been tested by the NHTSA since. It makes you wonder how safe any of their cars really are. Clearly it's a low priority for Porsche.

Aerodyne | December 14, 2019

If I was an engineer working for Porsche, after the recent news, I would be looking at getting a job with a company with more forward looking management. One with a proven track record for innovation. One that is opening a factory in Berlin would also be good.

Mark K | December 14, 2019

Aerodyne - Tesla is the number 1 most sought-after employer among new college grads in the US.

The staff at Grohmann Engineering got Tesla equity as part of the acquisition.

Pretty soon, they’ll see what a jackpot they hit.

The Grohmann team was instrumental in equipping G3 in Shanghai.

That achievement is the fastest in history, so the German teem has much reason to be proud.

Likely that a lot of German engineers will find Tesla the most desirable automaker to join.

Having a brilliant engineer at the helm distinguishes Tesla culture from all the rest.

G4 is a bold and smart strategic move. Good for Tesla, and great for Germany.

Tropopause | December 14, 2019

Well written, Mark.

Mark K | December 15, 2019

Tropopause - I think what moves many of us to speak up, is seeing how brazen VAG is here.

The disinformation assault is so bad, it prompts a popular uprising.

That’s what you see organically happening here, from all those who have pushed back.

Merit will prevail because we‘re not silent.

In a way, the fury of this troll campaign now, is a measure of how fast the tide is turning.

Good things are coming as we loosen this legacy chokehold.

We stop sending $6K every year to these guys, and we defund their damage to paradise.

Our little pale blue dot is the only home we have.

When we make our own free fuel from our roofs, we assert our economic independence.

And we use our money instead for things that make life better.

jjs | December 15, 2019

Ultimately this will not be good for Germany. Tesla is pushing the state of the art to the point where FAR fewer cars/trucks will need to be built. This is going to push an industry already suffering fro over capacity into massive, universal bankruptcy. There are two financial plays in the automotive industry that will make money in the next few years. Long TSLA, short everyone else. (A bit of an exaggeration,, but I'm betting not much of one.)

Mark K | December 15, 2019

jjs - ice unit sales will indeed plummet, due to ride-sharing tech and the transition to EVs.

But EV sales will rise sharply for the event horizon, since they solve fuel cost / carbon, and are well-suited to sharing / driverless.

There are 2 billion gas cars. They new EV tech reduces operating cost, which pencils out to a fast roi on the replacement decision.

As gas owners see this, they’ll replace their older tech. It would cost more not to.

If we end up with half as many cars, that’s still a billion unit addressable market for EVs.

For gas makers it will be a steep decline. But for advanced EV makers, it will be a long boom.

With G4 in Berlin, Germany will participate in that boom.

If VAG copies Tesla, they may survive, and if so, they will participate in the boom too.

We’ll need a lot advanced EVs for a long time, Germany has the talent pool to prosper from that.

Their government seems to understand where this is going, and legislating to get there for its citizens.

Mark K | December 15, 2019

Germany has a big opportunity to prosper if they navigate EVs wisely.

And Germans will breath cleaner air, and live better for it too.

Daisy the Road ... | December 15, 2019

Indeed, genuine EV competition would be good for everyone. I've bought my last ICE vehicle.

Mark K | December 15, 2019

Daisy - Likewise.

And I used to so love gas sports cars.

Now I’m looking forward to some EV CyberTrucks, even though I’ve never owned a truck before.

We’re lucky to be living in this time.

Mark K | December 16, 2019

Trying to wrap my brain around how Porsche product management would think that noncompetitive range would be viable as a starting point for a high-priced performance offering like Taycan.

Decisions like this usually emerge from constraints rather than goals. It was the best the could source from third party battery suppliers, so they went with it.

Tesla’s forward-thinking investment in their own, worlds best battery tech (2170 + tuned chemistry), may have looked like a crazy use of capital earlier ... but it looks pretty prescient now.

jordanrichard | December 16, 2019

I went on Rennlist (popular Porsche forum) and read the comments about this 201 debacle. One contributor said it best. "Porsche designed a performance sedan that has a EV drive train, Tesla built a performance EV sedan". The other thing that many on that thread agreed about was Tesla's vertical integration and optimizing electrical efficiency out of every component. Porsche just went to it's supply chain and bought parts. One even pointed out that the Taycan is too heavy for its own good, citing an example of unnecessary weight, the two charge ports and associated wiring. In a Tesla you can do trickle charging from a 120v outlet to DC fast charger from one single charge port, the size of a half dollar coin.

Bighorn | December 16, 2019

Porsche’s oversight is personified by Darth’s assertion that battery tech is an equal opportunity commodity rather than a large continuum at which Tesla excels and leaves others in the proverbial dust. Weight is a red herring.

Tropopause | December 16, 2019


Here's a TSLA bear who agrees with you about the battery tech at Tesla:

"Levy said he and his team visited Tesla’s Gigafactory 1 in Nevada and came away impressed by Tesla’s battery strategy.

“Tesla is likely ahead of others on batteries – the core of the electric powertrain,” Levy said.

Levy noted that last year Tesla had a total 44 gigawatt hours (GWh) of battery capacity, with 35 GWh from its Nevada Gigafactory and 9 GWh imported from Panasonic. According to Levy, that’s so far ahead of the industry that it is just shy of the 46 GWh of all other automakers in the world combined."

jimglas | December 16, 2019

Darthamerica | December 16, 2019
Boonedocks, no the 150kW chargers will be faster as well because the car and EA cooling systems are batter at keeping the temps down. The pack design and cooling systems are more advanced than what Tesla currently uses in any car.
yup, he is actually posting this garbage

Mathew98 | December 16, 2019

And you are listing his filth.

Drop him and let him keep on stroking Nuke. Why are we still responding to these known trolls who systematically regurgitate VAG PR snippets?

jimglas | December 16, 2019

you are right

Mark K | December 16, 2019

The scope and duration of deception by Darth-Porsche is somewhat surreal.

Porsche management has still not wised up, and muted his china shop rampage.

Though it’s not without precedent from the same gang. Dieselgate is pretty staggering.

The longer this goes on, the more it points to Porsche having a big hard fail with Taycan.

The specs are far off from promises over years.

Forum readers don’t like lies, but customers who pay 200K sure as hell don’t abide them.

jordanrichard | December 16, 2019

I personally know someone that pulled the plug once the pricing was announced, never mind the 201 debacle. He traded in his MS 90D and bought a Raven 100D. Then when the 201 number came out, he said he would definitely would have cancel his reservation after hearing that. Not all reservation holders for the Taycan will cancel because they are dyed in the wool Porsche customers. Just as Tesla didn’t announce the number of cancelations for the 3, Porsche is certainly not going release their cancelation numbers.

The number I would be interested in is how many Taycan and even E-Tron buyers came from other branded cars, even Tesla. Many MS owners it turned out were previously Prius owners.

Mark K | December 16, 2019

I think Taycan - it’s high price, with so many shortcomings - makes Raven stand out even more.

It’s unmatched joy for the dollar.

Darthamerica | December 16, 2019

Context @Bighorn... Today's batteries! Lead your flock right.

Mark K | December 16, 2019

Above is what Darth says when he has no retort.

Tesla knows batteries. VAG doesn’t.

Batteries are core to EV dominance.

Pungoteague_Dave | December 19, 2019

It would be better for the OP if the missive left out any spin. The facts are good enough on their face to make the case. When using low price numbers for Tesla and absurdly high numbers for Porsche, intentionally using factual extremes that have no real world application, I can't read further - it helps change no minds defines the comments as fanboism.

Pungoteague_Dave | December 19, 2019

@jordanrichard "I personally know someone that pulled the plug once the pricing was announced, never mind the 201 debacle. He traded in his MS 90D and bought a Raven 100D. Then when the 201 number came out, he said he would definitely would have cancel his reservation after hearing that. "

@jordan - that's my experience exactly - but I don't regret lending $2,500 to Porsche for a while - it is good to have optionality - I gave Tesla my money for three years on a much more tenuous bet. There's no way Porsche was going to keep the money if I didn't like the result. Then initial pricing was silly, and now range impeaches the car - but who was to know, and it was worth the ride. Meanwhile I am driving a new Raven X that is a huge upgrade uver the old MS's that we enjoyed for six years. No harm, no foul on either company, Tesla wins for now.

Tropopause | December 19, 2019

Over $70B market cap valuation seems to confirm Tesla is the clear leader in BEV tech.

jjs | December 19, 2019

@Mark K Don't disagree with anything you said. There will be a boon for those that can build a credible (that is, something similar to Tesla) EV. But there won't be many survivors. This is going to get ugly. I hope the feds don't try to save GM again. Even more, I hope Ford and GM save themselves. But that is now where I'm putting my money.

I have to say that after diesel-gate I'm not very sympathetic to VAG.