Porsche building Taycans in a tight spot

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Taycan production occurs in four buildings, with body, paint, drivetrain and final assembly carried out separately. The 667,000-square-foot final assembly plant, now the largest building on the Zuffenhausen campus, is a four-story steel-and-glass building that dwarfs the neighborhood’s brick office buildings and supplier factories.

The inside of the assembly plant is as futuristic as the car built there. Porsche ditched the conventional rigid assembly line in favor of a “flexi-line” that uses driverless skates, or automated guided vehicles, to transport vehicle bodies and drivetrains silently between workstations.

The AGV system was 30 to 40 percent less expensive to create than a comparable conveyor-based assembly line, since it didn’t require concrete pits or reinforced floors.

The flexi-line also gives Porsche a more adaptable and flexible production system. The AGVs, guided via magnets in the floor, can move at 3 to 66 feet a minute, allowing the assembly line to move at different rates. If more time is needed on a vehicle, the AGVs can be pulled aside without halting the assembly process.

On the other side of the Zuffenhausen campus, the Taycan’s high-strength, lightweight steel-and-aluminum body is put together by a hive of hissing and whirring yolk-yellow robots. Elsewhere, the Taycan’s whisper-quiet electric motors and two-gear transmissions are built alongside throaty V-8 engines that power the Panamera sedan and Cayenne crossover.

A nearly 3,000-foot conveyor bridge transports drive components and painted bodies over city streets to the final assembly hall.

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