Fast and furiously green

James Kon

Porsche, known for its iconic high-performance cars, has been at the forefront of green technological advances in the global automobile industry for years.

As the world is fast moving towards incorporating green technologies into vehicles, the German carmaker is looking to lead the way.

To mark the recent World Environment Day, Porsche Managing Director for Asia Pacific Arthur Willmann revealed to the Bulletin some of the latest achievements the company has made in green and renewable technologies.

“Sustainability has taken a front seat as Porsche pursues the vision of becoming the most sustainable brand for exclusive and sporting mobility by meeting the ambitious targets by 2025, as outlined in the Porsche Sustainability Index,” he said.

He added in the bid to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, ‘Go to Zero’ is “one of the three goals that Porsche has set across our products, supply chain and company. We are working to reduce emissions through vehicle electrification, the use of green electricity and developing reuse and recycle concepts”.

Porsche Taycan is the first car from the company that has a completely carbon neutral production process. PHOTOS: PORSCHE
The company has reduced CO2 emissions per manufactured vehicle by more than 75 per cent since 2014
Besides manufacturing e-hybrid cars, Porsche has also been engaging in numerous initiatives to preserve the natural environment

The Taycan is the first Porsche with a CO2-neutral production process and “this is only the beginning of the sustainability efforts that we have set out to achieve”, he said.

He highlighted that in the area of production and logistics, the company has reduced factory CO2 emissions per manufactured vehicle in Zuffenhausen and Leipzig by more than 75 per cent since 2014 due to the consistent use of TÜV-certified energy from renewable sources.

By transiting from electricity and heating supply to renewable energies, the company is improving energy efficiency at their Zuffenhausen plant, and its Porsche Impact – a CO2 compensation programme – is available in 15 countries, including all 13 markets in the Asia-Pacific.

Porsche customers can make use of an online calculator to determine the CO2 footprint of their sports cars and financially support projects under the categories of biodiversity, wind, water and forest protection to compensate for it.

In terms of clean energy technologies, Porsche has been using renewable wind, hydro and solar energies at its sites in Zuffenhausen, Leipzig, Weissach, Ludwigs-burg, Sachsenheim and Bietigheim-Bissingen since January 2017.

“This alone saves more than 6,000 tonnes of CO2 a year,” Willmann said. “The Zuffenhausen site, which has started using biogas to meet its heating needs as of 2020, will save additional 5,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.”

In expanding the Zuffenhausen site, the company showcases recognition for the economic, ecological, sociocultural and technical quality of the processes used to build new – while restricting existing – industrial areas.

For example, Porsche is actively involved in protecting endangered species at the Greutterwald nature reserve, an important fresh-air corridor for the centre of Stuttgart that is perched right next to the site.

“With our updated environmental and energy policy,” he said, “we have adopted clear rules of conduct for all of us to live sustainably at Porsche by reducing the environmental impact of our business activities.”

He listed the four fields of action in the company’s guidelines – environmental protection, environmental goals, management conduct, and compliance.

“The new guidelines make it clear that environmental protection is a task for the entire company,” he said. “All 35,000 employees are required to commit to environmental protection and create an appropriate framework for implementing the principles in their area of responsibility.”

Porsche’s ability to blend high performance with clean energy technologies shows that both elements can coexist perfectly, as evident in the Taycan.

Willmann said that not only is the Taycan the first Porsche that has a completely carbon-neutral production process, it “meets the requirements of being a true sports car – breathtaking acceleration figures, typical sports car traction, and superior and continuously available power output”. In other words, it has succeeded in integrating “sport dynamics into an EV car to enhance performance while being environment friendly”.

Besides manufacturing e-hybrid cars, Porsche has also been engaging in numerous initiatives to preserve the natural environment.

“Porsche wants to counter the ongoing depletion of natural resources and climate change,” he said. Thus, “we are focussing on issues that our business model and related value creation processes can materially influence. By adopting a holistic approach towards sustainability, Porsche is taking action across the entire value chain to improve sustainability within our corporate activities on all levels”.

As a pioneer of sustainable mobility, Willmann believes sustainability is in the company’s DNA.

“Beyond manufacturing e-hybrid and electric cars, Porsche is also looking to establish future-proof solutions with our suppliers, employees and customers,” he said. “We ensure that our operations are environmentally and socially compatible while contributing to economic success through education, resource-efficient production processes and products, as well as technological and social innovation.”

The company’s vision for the future, he said, is even more far-reaching – a production where “we leave no ecological footprint in terms of the supply chain and product lifecycle. Our current sustainability strategies allow Porsche to be on course for success”.

With automobiles leaning towards electric vehicles, Porsche has already drawn up strategies for the future.

“The future of e-mobility is extremely important for Porsche,” Willmann said. “It plays a critical role in our strategy for 2025. Thus, Porsche has committed to investing more than EUR6 billion in this area, and we anticipate more than 50 per cent of our vehicles sold will be of electrically driven or partially electrically drive, plug-in hybrid models.”

In addition to the Taycan and possibly the electric Macan in the near future, the current PHEV line-ups include Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Sport Turismo, Panamera 4 E-Hybrid Executive, Cayenne E-Hybrid, Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid, and Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid Coupe.

Globally, Willmann noted, Porsche continues to prioritise the safety and needs of the ‘family’, which comprises both its employees and customers, especially amid these unprecedented times.

“Between March 21 and May 4 this year, we had to suspend production at the parent plant in Zuffenhausen and the production location in Leipzig to protect our workforce and reduce the spread of COVID-19,” he said. “We are looking positively towards the future, and are confident that we will come out of the crisis stronger overall.”

He added that China “gives us reason to be optimistic. And we are witnessing a positive development in our sale figures in other Asian markets as well”.

Given that the Porsche centres have now been re-opened in nearly all markets, “showroom traffic is increasing, and the same is true for the conversion rate and retail figures”, he said, while tentative in making predictions on the overall demand in 2020 due to the volatile developments caused by the pandemic.