The Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo is designed to be an all-terrain vehicle that can go everywhere. There are numerous methods to test this, but one of the most challenging ones for a battery-powered vehicle is major elevation change. Nevertheless, this was the job that a Taycan had lately completed, ascending 15,889 feet from deep within a mine to the Pikes Peak.
Obtaining three miles of elevation without flying is difficult, so a crew led by documentary maker J.F. Musial had to start by negotiating a low point. The most extreme difficulty was that, in addition to being very deep in the ground, it had to be somewhere that the Taycan could drive into and, more importantly, out of to begin its trip. For the record, every foot of elevation had to be accomplished by the car’s own rolling force; therefore, elevators were out of the question.
Fortunately, there’s a mine in Michigan that you can drive into, and the Taycan Cross Turismo was let in because it’s both electric and has enough off-roading power. Eagle Mine has a tunnel that reaches 1,774.4 feet below sea level before you can’t carry a car any deeper, and that’s where the Taycan began its journey under close supervision.
Once you’ve worked out a low enough starting point, the rest is—relatively—easy. On a map, at least. To get to Pikes Peak from Eagle Mine meant driving 1,413 miles, and they had only two pauses to charge the battery. That’s impressive on mileage if the Taycan had been coasting on flat roads. Still, one of the problems with steadily climbing in an EV is that you’ve got all the torque but none of the opportunity for sweet, delicious regenerative braking to put range back into your car.
The entire attempt took 33 hours and 48 minutes, and by the end, the team was worried about snow on the mountainside closing in on them. Between the mine and the top of Pikes Peak, oxygen levels plummeted by 40%, and the peak appeared to be in danger owing to relatively harsh weather. However, Dai Yoshihara, the winner of the 2020 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb class, was so familiar with the course that he could bring the Taycan home and set the team record.
“You can plan for months, develop a highly detailed schedule, but at the end of the day, it always comes down to execution and weather,” J.F. Musial stated.
“I couldn’t have been prouder of our team’s efforts. The weather—that was a different story. I’ve always been told that the mountain decides if it’ll allow you to get to the summit,” Musial continued.
“Despite an incoming snowstorm, we got lucky and found a small 45-minute window to get to the top—the mountain; let us get this record.”