As we pass through the Porsche 911 production line in Zuffenhausen, Germany, on our way to see where the 887-hp, plug-in-hybrid 918 Spyder is assembled, our tour guide informs us that very few media have seen the process. Tours generally are reserved for prospects, VIPs, and confirmed customers. We fall into the VIP category, or at least that’s what we were told; we certainly lacked the velour jacket of the presumed customer we spotted on another tour.
The 918’s final assembly takes place in one room that formerly served as a 911 paint shop. To get there, we duck into a stairwell and follow an acid-green line—the same color that adorns the brake calipers of all Porsche hybrids—to the second floor of the facility. If you didn’t know what to look for, the entrance could easily be overlooked. We’re sure many standard factory tours never even mention the place at all.
Entering the room, the hybrid-green theme continues. The walls at the ends of the rectangular room are painted green, and green stripes appear above head height on the structural columns. The floor is spotless, save for taped outlines that indicate where carts and parts bins go. The loudest single sound in the whole place is made by squeaking tires on the gloss floor when a freshly birthed 918 is taken to an elevator on its way toward validation. This occurs after it’s been aligned and corner-weighted—genuine race-car stuff.
Now that the scene has been set, here are 15 of the most interesting facts, tidbits, and pieces of intel that we learned:
1. There are 110 workers in total, on a single shift. If Porsche wants, as many as four cars can roll off the line each day. There are 15 primary final-assembly stations, each one given 111 minutes to complete its task.
2. Only two 918s have left the factory without paint of any kind.
3. The Weissach package, an $84,000 option, comes standard with a wrap and paint underneath. But wraps do not have the longevity of clear-coated paint and Porsche made sure the buyers understood that a wrap replacement might be necessary.
4. There are no air-powered wrenches on the line, a first for Porsche. This serves two purposes. First, it makes for a quieter work environment. Second, there are no air hoses hanging around the car, reducing the chance of inadvertent damage to the body or paint. Porsche can also keep track of which bolts were tightened to what level of torque via Bluetooth communication. Note the different torque specs written on each tool above (these are interior trim tools).
5. A fully dressed engine (there are no accessory drives) weighs 309 pounds, about 220 pounds fewer than a 911 engine. Those headers are made of Inconel, an alloy that maintains its strength at high temperatures. There is no way to see this much of the engine once the car is assembled. All engines are dynoed and verified before installation. The heat treatment of hot exhaust gases permanently changes the color of the headers; they will never look this uniform again.
We can only dream about our next engine-assembly project turning out this clean and organized.
6. Each sun visor has 200 hand-stitches and requires 45 minutes to complete. The sun visor’s core is made of Styrofoam. With the exception of the seats and steering wheel, all leather fitting is done in the final-assembly room. The leather work in a 918 takes three times more man-hours to complete than does that of a 911.
7. The backing for the leather-wrapped interior surfaces is either a lightweight wood composite (like MDF) or carbon fiber.
8. The titanium screws included in the Weissach package are ten times the cost of the steel bolts but weigh 60-percent less. They are used to attach subframes and the suspension control arms.
9. The A/C compressor lives behind the front-mounted electric motor in a magnesium casting. Note the pewter-colored cap on the top of the coil-over assembly; this is the optional front-axle lift system. A car without this convenience is in the background.
10. Six bolts are used to marry the carbon-fiber tub and the powertrain’s carbon-fiber substructure. This substructure carries the 4.6-liter V-8, rear electric motor, and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
11. Due to limited supplies of some of the Weissach package’s pricier parts, such as ceramic wheel bearings and the carbon-fiber rear anti-roll bar (seen above with the standard model’s steel unit), only seven of the Weissach cars can be produced per week.
12. Unlike most production lines, there is no fuel stop during 918 assembly. Once outside these walls, a 918 will not drive with an empty fuel tank (two of them are pictured above), but there is a special mode that enables the car to maneuver under electric power in the factory before fuel is added to the tank. This saved some complexity—mostly in safety infrastructure—when preparing the old paint shop for operation as an assembly line.
13. Aside from some fasteners, there isn’t much steel in the 918. What little there is includes the door beams seen here.
14. The honeycomb-laden engine cover (which features exactly 7436 hexagons) costs more than the painted body of a Panamera sedan.
15. The red padlock in the passenger footwell prevents the high-voltage battery from being connected. This keeps the workers out of harm’s way, electrically speaking.
- Porsche 918 Spyder Full Coverage: News, Drives, Photos, Pricing, and More
- 2015 Porsche 918 Spyder Tested: 2.2 Seconds to 60!
- Lightning Lap 2014: Porsche 918 Spyder Sets a New LL Lap Record!
And that, friends, is a little insight on how the ridiculously quick, hyperexotic, and nearly sold out Porsche 918 Spyder is screwed together. Pretty rad, right?
Source : https://blog.caranddriver.com/follow-the-acid-green-line-15-things-we-learned-on-the-porsche-918-factory-tour/