Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates’ passion for Porsches can be traced back to a blue 930 Turbo he purchased in 1979, four years after Microsoft was founded. Apparently, Gates earned quite a few speeding citations with this car, even landing him in jail at least once. Clearly, Gates enjoyed it, as accounts even put it he had kept the 930 Turbo for more than a decade before the car found itself in Austria with a new owner.
Over the years, Gates had parked several more Porsches in his garage. One of these was a 964 Carrera Cabriolet. Another was his infamous 959, which Gates purchased after the supercar’s release in 1986. He had this shipped over to the US, where it was not sold because the 959 did not comply with the country’s environmental laws—it was not fitted with a catalytic converter, which was not required in Germany at the time—and Porsche was logically also not willing to submit four units of these limited-production supercars for crash testing. Privately importing the 959 into the country was not permitted as well, so the car was seized upon arrival.
As Gates’ 959 sat in a US impound facility, he, along with some other notable Porsche fanatics, waged a prolonged legal battle to get cars like the 959 be allowed to be used in the country. Persistent lobbying and court actions eventually led to the “Show or Display” law, which finally permits certain technologically and historically significant cars, otherwise disallowed entry unless these are at least 25 years old, to be imported into the US provided these comply with certain requirements. So, more than a decade after Gates’ 959 arrived in the US, he finally got to drive the car.
The technopreneur made Porsche headlines again in early 2020. He revealed in a YouTube interview that he bought a Taycan, Porsche’s revolutionary fully electric sports car. The announcement prompted Tesla founder Elon Musk to tweet that his previous conversations with Gates were “underwhelming.”
In the video, Gates shared his views on the impact of climate change and called for various industries to reduce emissions through technologies. Gates noted people should be “willing to pay extra” for some of the activities meant toward such a goal—like driving electric vehicles.
“I just got a Porsche Taycan… and I have to say—I mean, it’s a premium-price car, but it is very, very cool. That’s my first electric car and I’m enjoying it a lot,” Gates said in the interview.
The Taycan—which is currently pioneering premium electromobility in the Philippines, having been sold in the country since late 2020—is the first production vehicle with a system voltage of 800 volts instead of the usual 400 volts for electric cars. With the 800-volt system, the car can be charged from 5% to 80% of battery capacity in under 30 minutes when using a 175 kW DC charger. When fully charged, driving range can go as high up to 431 kilometers under ideal conditions (according to WLTP standards).
The new Taycan sold in the Philippines keeps in mind the legendary 911’s classic rear-engine/rear-drive layout. It has a Permanent magnet Synchronous Motor (PSM) on the rear axle. Matched to it is a two-speed transmission and Porsche’s Performance Battery. The powertrain combination produces up to 408 PS, enabling the fully electric sports car to accelerate from a standing start to 100 km/h in 5.4 seconds and to reach a top speed of 230 km/h.
Defining the Taycan’s styling are a low and wide front area with highly contoured fenders, a sporty roof line sloping toward the rear, sculpted side sections, a sleek greenhouse, and pronounced shoulders that are typically Porsche. The latest model is distinguished by 20-inch Taycan Turbo Aero wheels and black anodized brake calipers. Its front apron, side sills and rear diffuser are finished in black. Fitted as standard are LED headlights, as well as six-piston brakes in front and four-piston brakes at the rear.
As Gates put it; it’s a “very, very cool car.”
Charles E. Buban is an old timer in the Philippine automotive journalism scene. He first started covering the automotive beat in 2003, writing news and reviews of new models and car tech, among other car-related stuff. When not writing about cars, he could often be seen riding his mountain bike or doing long walks in the hope of catching a couple of legendary Pokemons.