Porsche is celebrating the official start of production of the Macan Electric in Leipzig. The mid-size SUV is the first electric car to be manufactured at the site. To be able to build this car, the VW subsidiary has invested around €600 million in the plant over the last few years.

In particular, a new body shop has been created. What's more, the plant is now designed for maximum flexibility: combustion-powered vehicles, plug-in hybrids and electric cars all pass through the same production line.

"Electromobility is the future", said an optimistic Oliver Blume, Chairman of the VW Group and head of Porsche, at a ceremony in Leipzig. However, the transformation "is not happening everywhere at the same speed". That's why the company is positioning itself flexibly and is also offering combustion and plug-in hybrid vehicles. In this area, Porsche's Leipzig plant is a forerunner and a benchmark.

Gallery: Porsche celebrates the start of Macan production

Despite the current low demand for electric cars, Porsche aims to deliver at least 80% of its new vehicles with a purely electric drive by 2030, but "depending on customer demand and the development of electromobility in the various regions of the world", writes the manufacturer.

The new Porsche Macan is the Zuffenhausen-based manufacturer's second electric car, after the Taycan. It is based on the new Premium Platform Electric (PPE), which also powers the Audi Q6 e-tron and will in future form the basis of the Audi A6 e-tron.

Production of the new Macan is currently being ramped up. Porsche is not disclosing how many examples can be produced in Leipzig. In addition to the Macan, the Panamera is also made in Leipzig, as is the bodywork for the Bentley Continental GT.

Around 4,600 people work at the site. It's likely that not everyone was immediately enthusiastic about the idea of making electric cars instead of combustion-powered ones. Indeed, the fact that the fossil-fuelled Macan had no successor was viewed with scepticism by some in the media. That's why the staff were trained and 'emotionalised' early on for electromobility and the tasks associated with it, as Porsche put it. The employees "are and will remain a key factor in the organisation of the transformation. A plant lives from the people who actively shape the technologies," said plant manager Gerd Rupp.

In Leipzig, the electric Macan comes off the production line CO2 neutral, according to Porsche. Exactly what this means is not specified. The addition of the term 'carbon-neutral' indicates that the emissions released can be offset by other measures.

The ceremony in Leipzig was attended by a number of leading figures. In addition to Oliver Blume, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board Wolfgang Porsche, Federal Minister of Transport Volker Wissing, the Minister-President of Saxony Michael Kretschmer, his counterpart in Baden-Württemberg Winfried Kretschmann and the Mayor of Leipzig Burkhard Jung made the trip.

In conclusion

Not only at BMW and Mercedes, but also within the VW Group, the emphasis is currently on flexibility in the move away from combustion-powered vehicles. The long-term goal remains electromobility, but company bosses are increasingly adding restrictions: "Where market conditions allow", "depending on customer demand" and so on. But it's likely that bosses will have to do it this way. The alternative would be mass redundancies like at Tesla.