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Porsche will give 2020 Taycan owners a bunch of updates for free

But you'll have to bring your EV to the dealer if you want the upgrade.

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- 03:30

This software update makes the Porsche Taycan even better.

Porsche

The Porsche Taycan received a number of enhancements for the 2021 model year, including infotainment tweaks, smarter charging logic and access to in-car subscription services. Does that mean you're SOL if you bought a 2020 Taycan? Goodness, no. Porsche announced Tuesday that it's giving 2020 Taycan owners the option to update their EVs for free.

On the infotainment front, this software update includes wireless Apple CarPlay (but still no Android Auto) and you can also link your Apple ID to the car in order to download things like podcasts and music lyrics. The update also allows the ambient lighting to change its color based on the music, if that's a thing you're into. More importantly, the new software enhances the Taycan's embedded navigation system, adding better traffic data and a simplified structure for searching for EV charging stations, including the integration of the all-in-one Porsche Charging Service that lets you pay right from the car.

Speaking of charging, the software update will allow drivers to reduce the maximum charging speed from 270 kilowatts to 200 kW, which can preserve battery life and performance. This might seem like an odd choice to make when the batteries are designed to routinely handle 270-kW charges, but Porsche said some customers are asking for this feature.

"The charging process might take 5 to 10 minutes longer, but it gives some battery saving for customers who [want to take care of] the battery," Robert Meier, Taycan vehicle line director, told members of the media during a press conference on Monday. Additionally, Meier said the updated software can "even more precisely optimize the temperature of the battery" when the vehicle is plugged into a charger. This helps with overall battery health and allows it to charge faster.

A key functional improvement in this update is the addition of Porsche's Smartlift feature. Taycans fitted with the air suspension can raise the front end while approaching a speed bump or steep driveway, and the Smartlift tech allows you to store the location through the car's GPS system. If you have a tricky driveway, the Taycan can automatically activate the nose lift as you approach.

The software update also unlocks Porsche's new Functions on Demand feature -- a sort of in-car subscription service that gives buyers the option to add specific vehicle features for limited amounts of time. These include niceties like lane-keeping assist, Porsche's InnoDrive highway driving assistant and more.

As for the Taycan's on-road performance, this update "includes recalibrated software for control units responsible for powertrain and suspension control," Porsche said in a statement, though most buyers won't really notice a difference. Specifically, Meier said the software has "some fine-tuning in the communication between the power electronics and the battery management, and therefore we are able to improve the 0-to-200 [kilometers per hour] time in the Taycan Turbo S from 9.8 seconds ... to 9.6 seconds." It seems unlikely that this 0.2-second improvement in the 0-to-124-mph sprint will make a difference in the real world, but hey, speed is speed.

Because this new software affects aspects of the powertrain, it introduces a pretty big caveat: These updates need to be performed at a Porsche dealer, rather than over the air. "We have changes on the control units which are safety relevant, for example the power electronics for the [powertrain]," Meier said. "We want to be absolutely sure that this update goes through in a completely safe way, and when we get the car back to the customer, we have to be sure that it's completely bug-free."

In the future, Porsche will further refine the Taycan with over-the-air updates, but don't expect a Tesla-like rollout of lots of small updates rather than larger-scale refreshes. "We will improve the over-the-air updates step by step," Meier said, but this won't be a frequent occurrence.

Porsche will contact its 2020 Taycan owners to set up a dealer visit and will offer customers a loaner car if needed. Look for this robust software update to be rolled out in the coming weeks.

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