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Porsche opens new factory in Taichan.

Probably not too clean, probably whistled through the crevices of the wind – and was the roof narrow? Before the age of 71, Porsche started in a barn in Gmund, Austria. A modest start, but last year brought the Stuttgart sports car maker over 265,000 vehicles. And just in time for the IAA International Motor Show in Frankfurt (September 12-22), the new Porsche Taichan plant will be inaugurated.

The curtain goes up to the IAA: by the beginning of 2020, the four-door compartment will be the first brand electric model to be launched in a compact format. About 625 hp, acceleration of up to 100 km / h in less than 3.5 seconds, maximum range over 500 km thanks to a 96 kWh battery. This works for the first time at a voltage of 800 volts. "Higher voltage means less cable and therefore less weight," says Robert Meier, project manager at Tiancan Development.

No one is loading so fast right now

With a fast charging of up to 350 kW – up to 150 common today – the battery should be able to simulate enough power for 100 kilometers of range within four minutes. If it works, it will be a record in the industry. "Colleagues from sister brands in the VW group are constantly asking when they can get the technology," says Happy Meier. Porsche is currently building the necessary infrastructure along with ABB, Audi, BMW, Daimler and Ford in the Fonts consortium. By the end of next year 400 pillars will be available throughout Europe.

However, the new electric model not only requires garage and customer reviews – the whole company is adapting itself – from recruiting staff and production planning to CO2 offsetting for a lower environmental footprint. Simply rebuilding the existing plant was not the solution, says plant designer David Triggasson. A new one was to come. Not on the green field in the Czech Republic, Slovakia or Mexico, as would be the current industry trend. But in the middle of Stuttgart-Zaffenhausen's main factory. "Here we are bundling our electrical competence. Qualified and motivated employees are key, ”says Triggwasson. And this is what is being offered here: 1,500 new colleagues are hired by Porsche for the Taichan and Cross Turizo real estate variants.

Capacity doubled before take-off

Oak trees didn't have to give up, but about half of the old plants had to crack. It has been replaced with a block of 112,000 cubic meters of concrete, also a prototype for tomorrow's flexible operation. The planned annual capacity of 20,000 Taichuan has long been doubled due to the already large number of customers. But the risks of the volatile global economy and the unpredictable interest in electric cars can be mitigated better, though other models – up to 30 derivatives – could use this line.

It doesn't tighten the bar here. Autonomous, self-propelled transport vehicles drive vehicles through production stations, robots no longer operate as cages as before, but hand in hand with human counterparts. Industry 4.0 is a magic word and means complete networking, human and machine integration, maximum flexibility and sustainability in resource use and emissions. In producing 200 test prototypes of about 6.5 million test kilometers, Porsche has also redesigned the production process.

Investment of CHF 6.5 billion by 2022

The location of the old factory is also symbolic of change. "Everyone here should be able to see in which direction Porsche controls," says Triggwasson: Further hybridization, according to Teikan and Cross Turismo, the new edition of the Macan SUV is also purely electric. By 2022, the company will invest 6.5 billion francs in
E-mobility, of which only – comparatively – 500 million francs, also in the Taipei
760 million in the new plant.

It is quite possible that Electro Porsche trumpeter Oliver Bloom could bring the jackpot to his career. Rumors say the production specialist will work as Audi's new chief in the medium term; even for the legacy of Herbert Dys on the throne of VW's parent company he should be in the conversation.

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