Porsche’s Taycan Software Update Is A Generous One And More Automakers Should Take Notice

Porsche’s Taycan Software Update Is A Generous One And More Automakers Should Take Notice
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Everything gets updated nowadays, even albums and cars. Porsche’s just dropped a big one for 2020 model year Taycans, though it’s not the kind of update you can install from your driveway.

Rather, you’ll need to go to a Porsche service centre and accept the possibility you might be without your all-electric grand tourer for two days. This free update touches everything from how the car deploys its power, to charging, navigation and Apple CarPlay, so the trip to the garage makes sense.

Essentially, this update adds features and functionality present on 2021 Taycans to the first batch of vehicles. According to Car and Driver, Turbo S models post-update will hit 200 km/h in two tenths of a second less — from 9.8 seconds, to 9.6 seconds.

There’s also a new feature called the Charging Planner, which lets owners optionally cap full charging capacity in the interest of prolonging their battery’s long-term health. This is an interesting one, because it actually echoes what’s been happening in the mobile tech space for the last several years. Back in 2017, Apple came under fire and ultimately had to pay out a class-action settlement for throttling charging capacity in older iPhones without telling users.

Apple’s defence was that it only took the measure to prevent random reboots and further battery degradation, but that didn’t calm consumers’ nerves. Batteries are batteries — whether they’re in cars or smartphones — so it’s interesting to see EV manufacturers already reckoning with this dilemma. In the Taycan, the Charging Planner feature will limit full capacity from 270 kW to 200 kW.

Moving back to the update’s feature set, the Taycan’s improved navigation system will now do a better job of pointing you toward high-speed charging stations that can actually take advantage of the car’s 800-volt throughput. Also new is a suite of subscription features called Functions On Demand, that include assisted driving systems like lane-keeping assist and Porsche Innodrive — the company’s name for its sophisticated adaptive cruise control tech.

As for the CarPlay improvements, updated Taycans will now accommodate wireless iPhone mirroring. This is something that typically requires a special chip and can’t simply be flipped on in cars that already have wired CarPlay, so the fact Porsche has been publicizing this as a software update — rather than a full-blown tech upgrade — seems a little strange to me. But hey, it’s free, so who cares what it’s called. Regardless, we’ve reached out to Porsche to determine whether this aspect requires new hardware.

Some automakers might’ve charged for such a comprehensive tech update, so I have to hand it to Porsche for making it available to the Taycan’s earliest adopters. Sure, there’s a sneaking suspicion that Porsche only made it free so those subscription-based extras would be accessible to more buyers, but regardless — it’d just be great to see free updates like this become standard practice across the industry.

Updated 4:24 p.m. ET: A Porsche representative confirmed to Jalopnik that the update is all to do with software, though service is still required because the update concerns “powertrain components.” Furthermore, the wireless CarPlay hardware was already present in 2020 Taycans, but not active. Per the representative:

This is purely a software update. The car had the wireless CarPlay hardware all along. The update is extensive so there is hardware recalibration necessary for the powertrain components (which is why we require a dealer visit), but obviously that and CarPlay are not directly related. It just so happens that both are occurring at the same time.