VW’s Phaeton transparent factory in the heart of downtown Dresden runs counter to the traditional impressions of a car assembly plant. Instead of blue-collar workers, there are white-gloved technicians. Instead of deafening noises, there is the hushed atmosphere of a research lab. The floors are lovely Canadian maple, and the walls are clear glass, which is why a loudspeaker outside imitates territorial bird sounds to keep birds from flying into the glass. There are no smokestacks, shrill sounds or noxious fumes. The grungier stamping, welding and painting of steel bodies take place elsewhere. VW’s transparent factory, designed by architect Gunter Henn and opened in 2002, showcases the final assembly of the luxury Phaeton sedan. Futuristic, exacting, open, and pristine, the Dresden facility is as much a marketing device as a working production plant, drawing thousands of visitors for tours each year. This video is from Megaworld Germany.
YeZ, this is just a concept car, but consider the possibilities. Developed by Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) in partnership with General Motors and Volkswagen, YeZ, which means “leaf” in Mandarin, not only absorbs carbon dioxide and water molecules from the atmosphere, it exhales oxygen. Through solar panels on its roof and wind turbines in its wheels, YeZ generates energy that it stores in its lithium ion batteries. YeZ is like a mechanized photosynthesis process. It is still a concept and only seats two, and no one has said how fast it can go, but consider the possibilities.