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This is how Porsche is turning half of its fleet green

The German luxury carmaker is planning for a more sustainable future and is taking massive steps towards that goal, beginning with the Porsche Taycan.

Between 2014 and 2018, Porsche managed to reduce factory carbon dioxide emissions by 75 per cent. But the German luxury automaker isn’t stopping there. A few years ago, Porsche engineered an ambitious plan called Strategy 2025 that touched on the different parts of its business as well as its commitment to the environment. As part of this plan, Porsche eventually aims to have 50 per cent of its vehicles sold to be either electric or plug-in hybrid models. But it isn’t just about cars.

Last year, Porsche unveiled its restructured and renovated factory in Zuffenhausen, a district in Stuttgart, Germany. The factory creates zero impact on the environment, thanks to the numerous initiatives that were put in place. These include using the heat generated as part of energy production to provide heating and hot water, covering the building’s exterior with titanium dioxide coated aluminium that breaks down pollutants into water and nitrate when hit by sunlight, and more. It is truly an engineering marvel.

The factory is also responsible for producing the Porsche Taycan, which is the company’s first fully electric vehicle.

The Peak speaks to Henrik Dreier, the Singapore General Manager for Porsche Asia Pacific, to find out more about Porsche’s efforts for the planet.

(Related: A review of the Porsche Cayenne Coupe)

The Porsche Taycan is Porsche's first fully electric vehicle.

The Porsche Taycan is Porsche’s first fully electric vehicle.

How much did the restructure of Zuffenhausen cost?

Porsche is investing a total of six billion euros in electromobility by 2022 and more than 700 million euros will go into the construction of new production facilities for the Taycan. In addition to the Taycan and the next generation Macan, which will also be fully-electric, our current plug-in hybrid models include
the Panamera and the Cayenne. As for our 911 models, we’d like to maintain the combustion engines and there are no plans to make it fully electric as of now.

Let’s talk about the emissions.

Sure. The Taycan is the first Porsche model which production process is completely CO2 emissions neutral. Porsche has already been using renewable wind, hydro and solar energy at all its sites since January 2017 and as of 2018, we have also been using renewable electrical energy for all rail transport of new cars from the Kornwestheim and Leipzig loading stations. This alone saves more than 6,000 tonnes of CO2 a year. In addition to these efforts, the Zuffenhausen site will use biogas to meet its heating needs as of 2020, which will save additional 5,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.

As we constantly improve the environmental performance of our products, we have reduced CO2 emissions per manufactured vehicle by more than 75 per cent since 2014.

Does Porsche Singapore have any plans to restructure its properties to become more environmentally-friendly?

On a global scale, we have a sustainability strategy in place – the Porsche Sustainability Index defines clear goals to be reached by 2025 – and we are committed to continuously reduce our negative environmental impact while further reinforcing positive influence on society.

Aligned with this strategy, our Porsche Asia-Pacific office in Singapore is also rolling out similar initiatives, both on a company and individual level. Our office is located at The Tokio Marine Centre, which was awarded the BCA Green Mark Award in 2007 for its eco-friendly design and engineering. Likewise, sustainability was also a focus during our office renovation last year. Our employees have been reducing the use of plastic and increasing their use of reusable cutleries and digital tools for paperwork. Furthermore, they’ve been also encouraged to organise their meetings virtually to reduce the need for business travel (even before Covid-19).

Additionally, we’ve been taking reactive measures such as offsetting the CO2 emissions from our events. During our Taycan regional preview held in Singapore last year, the emissions generated from the event relating to travel, accommodation, food consumption, waste generation, freight, venue and food and beverage were calculated in order to achieve our goal of carbon neutrality.

We’ve also introduced Porsche Impact this year, a web-based emissions calculator that allows Porsche owners to assess and compensate their car-related CO2 emissions. Customers who seek to offset their carbon footprint can make financial contributions to environmental projects to help combat the growing threat of global warming.

(Related: How to save the environment the right way)

An aerial view of the Porsche factory in Zuffenhausen.

An aerial view of the Porsche factory in Zuffenhausen.

When it comes to the transportation of vehicles to other markets, there are significant carbon emissions. What is Porsche’s plan in reducing these emissions so that there can be a truly carbon-neutral car one day?

We acknowledge that transportation of vehicles are also contributors to carbon emissions. Porsche’s vision is to have a ‘zero-impact factory’ where we leave no ecological footprint – in terms of both supply chain and product life cycle. We must reduce emissions to make sure our planet remains sustainable.

Hence, we are taking proactive action towards reducing emissions in our logistical processes, starting from our home in Germany. Our transition to green energy for rail traffic is a logical step and another milestone towards a free CO2 neutral production. As of 2018, we’ve connected the loading port in Bremerhaven to Kornwestheim. The proportion of vehicles transported by rail has increased by around 45 per cent, which means a further reduction in polluting lorry transport, avoiding another 650 tonnes of climate damaging CO2 each year.