Back at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, just days before news of the dieselgate scandal broke and shook the entire Volkswagen AG group to its very foundations, VW’s luxury performance brand Porsche unveiled an all-electric performance sports sedan concept car called the Mission E. Offering sports car performance, a 500+ kilometer range on the overly-optimistic NEDC test cycle and a recharge time of just 15 minutes to 80 percent full, the Mission E was hailed by many as Porsche’s “Tesla Killer” in the electric car marketplace.
Just a few months later at the start of December, Porsche confirmed the Mission E would debut as a production car in five years’ time, its production scheduled to take place at one of Porsche’s production facility in Germany. Part of Porsche’s attempts to meet ever-tightening emissions requirements (and helped, we presume, by Volkswagen’s commitment to build more electrified vehicles in atonement for the dieselgate scandal) the Mission E is one of several new Volkswagen Group electrified vehicles due to enter the marketplace in the next five years.
As we’ve already seen, the financial knock-on effect of the many billions of dollars of fines Volkswagen faces — as well as the costs associated with bringing all non-compliant diesel-engined cars in line with regulations around the world — has left all of Volkswagen’s brands a little short on working capital. Even the Porsche Mission E, a car which could help transition the Porsche brand into the electric car marketplace, has financial hurdles to overcome before it hits the marketplace.
But as Reuters reports, worker representatives at the Zuffenhausen facility have come to an agreement with Porsche that will result in smaller pay rises than previously planned over the next decade, as well as an increase in shift duration, all so that the Porsche Mission E can be built there.
Citing an anonymous source at the automaker, Reuters explains that the Zuffenhausen facility has traditionally had higher wage costs than Porsche’s other German factories in Leipzig and Osnabrueck, which produce the Porsche Cayman and Porsche Cayenne respectively. To secure Zuffenhausen as the location where the Porsche Mission E will be produced, worker representatives agreed to reduce the planned pay increases for workers already scheduled to take place between 2016 and 2025.
Additionally, worker representatives agreed to Porsche’s plans to increase the work week for staff, raising total hours for the average staff member from 34 hours to 35 hours per week.
While Porsche declined to comment on the specifics of the deal. a spokesperson for the company confirmed that a dialogue between workers and Porsche had secured the Zuffenhausen facility as the chosen production facility for the Porsche Mission E.
“Employer and employees have jointly drawn up measures that have led to the decision of producing the Mission E model at Zuffenhausen,” a spokesperson confirmed last week.
In total, Volkswagen’s luxury brand is expected to spend about $1.1 billion (€1 billion) to ready the Zuffenhausen facility for Mission E production. The process is expected to create some 1,000 additional jobs at the facility. The expansion will include improvements in Porsche’s existing engine production facilities in order to establish a brand-new production line for electric motor manufacturer, as well as improvements to existing paint shops and body production lines to accommodate the new model.
As we’ve said before however, while we’re happy to see the Mission E green-lit for production, the planned launch date of some time in 2020 could leave the German automaker significantly behind the ever-evolving, ever-improving Tesla Motors in the electric car marketplace.
While five years isn’t a long time in the traditional automotive development cycle, it’s an eternity in the electric car world.
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