Porsche upgrades German factory to build Taycan electric cars

Porsche Taycan assembly line rendering

Porsche is preparing to launch its first production electric car, the Taycan. Previewed by a pair of Mission E concepts, the all-electric four-door is expected to launch at the end of 2019. Expected to pack 600 horsepower with a 300-mile range, the Taycan will be Porsche’s rival to the Tesla Model S, and the first of what will likely be many electric cars from the German automaker. But because the Taycan is a different kind of Porsche, it demanded a different kind of factory.

To build the Taycan, Porsche created what it calls a “factory within a factory” at its Zuffenhausen, Germany, plant, which already builds 911, 718 Boxster, and 718 Cayman models. A new body shop and paint shop will accommodate Taycan production, and new Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV) will move bodies around on the factory floor. This eliminates the need for conventional conveyor belts to move bodies and other large assemblies, allowing Porsche to rejigger the setup of its assembly lines on the fly. That’s crucial, as Porsche plans to continue building two-door sports cars alongside the four-door Taycan electric car.

Porsche also promised that the Taycan production process will be carbon neutral, meaning there will be no net carbon emissions associated with building the car. Sibling brand Audi has made a similar claim for its e-tron electric SUV, which will be built in Belgium. A green factory is an important part of minimizing the environmental impact of electric cars. Because electric cars produce no “tailpipe” emissions, the emissions associated with building them make up a larger portion of their overall carbon footprint.

The Taycan assembly line will generate 1,200 new jobs in Zuffenhausen, according to Porsche. Some employees will also transition from other lines to electric-car production. Porsche will use digital training tools to ensure that all employees, new and old, are prepared to work on electric cars.

In addition to upgrading its Zuffenhausen factory, Porsche is preparing for the arrival of the Taycan by making plans for charging stations. Porsche will use the Ionity and Electrify America charging networks for DC fast charging in Europe and the United States, respectively. The automaker also plans to install 2,000 AC charging stations in up to 20 markets. These stations won’t be able to charge as fast as their DC counterparts, but they will be located at hotels and other places where drivers are likely to linger for long periods of time.


Formula 1 is putting data in the driver’s seat, and not all racers are happy

After a single weekend of racing, a Formula 1 pit crew typically pulls around 2TB of data from the car. Everything, from tire pressure to the temperature of the track, is recorded and analyzed in the name of boosting performance -- and not…

Is this electric car startup the next Tesla, or will it go the way of Coda?

The electric car startup formerly known as EVelozcity has changed its name to Canoo. It also announced a lineup of four cars including a commuter-friendly model and a lifestyle-oriented car. Its first electric vehicles will begin to appear…

Tesla lets you skip the dealership, order a car from the comfort of your couch

Tesla has always bypassed traditional dealerships, and it has now adopted an online-only sales model that lets customers configure and order their car without leaving their couch. Here's what you need to know.

Fiat wants to transform the cheeky 500 city car into an urban Tesla

Fiat is finally preparing a new 500. Scheduled to make its debut in early 2020, the retro-chic city car will go electric in part to comply with looming emissions regulations.
Product Review

2019 Volkswagen Jetta offers German refinement and tech at an affordable price

With enough tech to make villains jealous, the Volkswagen Jetta punches above its class as a forward-thinking sedan. Spacious, comfortable, and efficient, the Jetta is a refined offering. German refinement comes with a serious attitude.

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.
Product Review

Chris is the virtual co-pilot phone-obsessives need in their car

Driving while using your phone is dangerous, and often illegal. Meet Chris, the digital assistant for your car that wants to help keep your hands off your phone, and your eyes on the road.

Protect yourself and your ride with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.

Tesla revives its referral program with chances to win a Roadster

Tesla has revived its referral program that ended in February because of cost pressures. This time around the perks aren't quite as diverse, though it does offer regular chances to win a Roadster or Model Y.

Tesla ends scheduled servicing because electric cars need less maintenance

Tesla will longer offer scheduled maintenance plans, switching to an "as needed" model. This reflects the fact that electric cars need less regular maintenance than gasoline or diesel cars.

The go kart-like Mini Cooper will soon add zero emissions to its resume

Mini is in the final stages of developing an electric version of the Cooper. The 2020 Cooper SE will receive powertrain components from the BMW i3, including a 181-horsepower electric motor and battery technology.
Product Review

By adding features, tech, and all-wheel drive, Mazda puts the 3 in a class of one

Since its introduction in 2003, Mazda’s compact Mazda3 has been a mainstay of the brand’s driver-oriented strategy. Mazda now plans to move upmarket, and the all-new 2019 Mazda3 offers some clues about how that’s going to work.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!

Tesla Model 3 vulnerability exposed at Pwn2Own; hackers take home the car

A Tesla Model 3 vulnerability was exposed at the Pwn2Own hacking competition. The hackers, who were able to display a message on the electric vehicle's internet browser, won $35,000 and took home the car.