“It’s Not Magic, It’s Science!” — Bill Nye Does Fun & Informative Porsche Taycan Commercials
Porsche’s YouTube channel has some neat new advertising videos featuring a famous guest: Bill Nye The Science Guy. In the videos, he uses the typical Bill Nye style of explaining scientific and engineering concepts, but covers things that are important to Porsche.
“Throughout the series, viewers will learn about the innovative technology behind the Taycan as well as its one-of-a-kind design and performance features that make it exceptional to drive,” the company said in a press release. “Using simple terms, Nye breaks down complex topics, such as the 800-volt battery technology that makes the Taycan unique as well as the added-value of its regenerative braking, two-speed transmission and aerodynamic design.”
Commercial #1: Repeat Performance
Like anything with batteries and an electric motor, the power will drop as the battery gets lower. I’ve seen this in my Nissan LEAF, and it’s been measured in various other EVs. The Porsche Taycan, on the other hand, gets the same time on the track (this looks like a 0-60 test) even in repeated runs. As the battery gets lower, it doesn’t lose acceleration power.
As you’d expect, Bill Nye is going to tell us why, not only because he’s the Science Guy, but because he’s an engineer by training.
First, he mentions the vehicle’s two-speed transmission. This aids not only in performance, but in efficiency and battery pack longevity. For those unfamiliar, there are advantages to EVs with multi-speed transmissions, and Tesla sort of does this on its dual motor models. This is definitely a factor here.
He then explains what regenerative braking is, and points out that the Taycan can get up to 265 kW of power from regen. He also explains that the Taycan has an 800 volt electrical system, which leads to less resistance, and allows for greater power.
He says all of these factors keep it from losing performance as it does things again and again.
Commercial #2: Aerodynamics
In this one, he explains what aerodynamic drag is, and how excess drag can make an EV lose power faster and even reduce the top speed.
He reveals that the Taycan has a drag coefficient of .22, which might not mean much for people unfamiliar with drag, so he clarifies that with, “That’s low.” He goes on to say that it’s the most slippery vehicle Porsche has ever made, and that it’s the lowest drag vehicle on the road (and I’m assuming he’s talking about mass production models). Sure, there are upcoming vehicles like the MB EQS and the Aptera that will have lower drag numbers, but they’re not on the road yet.
He then takes a peek under the bottom of the vehicle to show that a smooth bottom allows for less drag. The vehicle has active features, like a suspension that lowers the vehicle at speed, active shutters, and wheels that all lower drag.
Most importantly (you know, because we are all kids at heart), aerodynamic shapes look cool!
Commercial #3: Regenerative Braking
He shows a Porsche gas car first, and shows it using its brakes. Then, he shows that the Taycan has brakes, too. Then, he gets into the differences.
Like in the previous vehicle, he goes through what regenerative braking is, how it helps put some of the energy back into the battery, etc. He also explains that the Taycan has a lot more available regen compared to most EVs.
In many ways, this was a rehash of what was in the first video, but it’s good to highlight a special feature almost all EVs share. This helps educate. Showing how they’re a little better helps sell. The whole EV community wins this one.
Commercial #4: 800 Volts
In this one, he explains that most EVs have a 400 volt battery, while the Taycan has an 800 volt battery. “So what?” he asks. “What’s a volt, anyway?”
To the readers who don’t understand the advantages, he gives more information using water hoses. He first sprays water from a garden hose, and then from a firehose. He says voltage is like the pressure in a hose, and higher voltages allow batteries to deliver more power faster. He then fills two graduated cylinders with the hoses, and the bigger hose obviously fills the cylinder faster.
He finishes this one up by talking about the vehicle while a professional driver drifts it.
Commercial #5: Two-Speed Transmission
In some ways, this is a rehash of information presented in “Repeat Performance,” but he goes into further detail.
He starts by showing a Formula E car, and then some driving in a car with a manual transmission, so we can see the shifting action while he explains that gears help with efficiency by keeping an engine at its most efficient RPM ranges (if you drive it correctly). He then explains that EV makers have largely skipped transmissions because electric motors can handle a much larger range of speeds.
He then explains a bit about how the Porsche two-speed transmission works and what it helps with.
Why I Like These
As I was just hinting at, one thing that makes these short commercials great is that they’re actually educational. Sure, the main goal is to sell Porsche Taycans, but he does explain some basic EV concepts in a way that’s accessible to most audiences. Even if the viewers don’t ultimately purchase a Porsche, they come away from these entertained and a tiny bit educated. That’s no small task.
It’s also great that someone with a trusted background is doing this. I’m sure Porsche wrote a check with a lot of zeroes to get him to do it, but they didn’t compromise his background and make him a paid shill. In these commercials, he did exactly what he always has done: explain scientific concepts in an easy-to-understand and accessible way.
Yes, we know he’s actually got an engineering degree, but how many teachers in the K-12 scene have an advanced science degree? Not that many, but teachers don’t have to be experts in the field to teach simple concepts. And, if we’re being honest, that’s who Bill Nye is. He’s a teacher, and does a great job of it.
Finally, I’m going to do what Bill did. These commercials are great because they’re cool and fun. Education, increasing EV sales, and all of that are great things, but nobody will want to watch or share anything that isn’t at least a little fun.
Source: Videos and Porsche Press Release. Featured image and all other images provided by Porsche.