To be produced side by side with the Audi R8, the all-new e-tron GT will go into production at Audi Böllinger Höfe at the Neckarsulm site by the end of the year.
19 October, 2020
On the one hand they are completely different vehicles – one a supercar powered by a V10 normally aspirated petrol engine and the other, a purely electric sports tourer. But both of these vehicles represent high-performance and the pinnacle of their respective lines – the Audi R8 a car that has long set the standard both on and off the track and the eagerly anticipated Audi e-tron GT, a car that takes the brand’s all-electric aspirations to a new level.
So, while the Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback are manufactured at Audi Brussels, the first fully carbon-neutral production facility in the premium sector, the Audi e-tron GT will be produced side by side with its high-performance petrol sibling at Audi Böllinger Höfe at the Neckarsulm site. To achieve this dual purpose for the facility has meant significant retooling and expansion of the facility, but both high-performance models will share the same manufacturing line and indeed utilise the same highly skilled technicians and craftsmen and women to achieve the final results.
The Audi e-tron GT is the brand’s first fully electric car to be built in Germany, with the first vehicles expected to roll off the production line ready for their individual test drives before the end of the year.
The new production line requires that the e-tron GT has to move along the line several times with different processes being applied or finished with each pass. In addition to the handcrafted areas of the car, many of the process are carried out across 10 stations by a total of 34 robots which are able to complete multiple tasks depending on the production cycle. At one point in the process, humans and robots even work side by side.
This sharing of a production facility for two such individual models is unique in the Volkswagen Group, and even the development phase, where the production of the e-tron GT was designed without physical prototypes being produced represents a first at Audi. Even the tests of the work procedures on the assembly line and the logistic processes were conducted in the virtual domain for the first time, with container planning also performed with the help of VR technology.
The inline measuring procedure for the bodies is also new and guarantees even greater accuracy and can respond very quickly to minute deviations as required during the process. At the end of the body assembly line is where precise craftsmanship comes into play and here the same master craftspeople who lend their talents to the handmade aspects of the Audi R8, likewise finest the Audi e-tron GT.
Despite the fact that significant areas of the body of e-tron GT (and the Audi R8 models) are constructed from ultra-high- strength steel and aluminium, a significant number of the craftsmen employed in this highly specialised area come from backgrounds in carpentry and similar disciplines. This affinity for working with a different material translating beautifully to finishing these highly specialised vehicles.
Of the two vehicles, the e-tron GT takes longer then the R8 to be completed from scratch, its additional 100 components and the need to return to the line for different assemblies taking slightly longer than its ICE sibling.
Both models are moved around the Böllinger Höfe facility using the same driverless transport vehicles and an electrically powered monorail system.
Once the vehicles are completed, every one is taken out on the public roads and driven for 40 kilometres to ensure that everything is working perfectly and ready to be transported to the customer.
It’s a highly specialised facility that reflects the highly specialised nature of both of these vehicles. That the all-new Audi e-tron GT should be built next to the brand’s ground-breaking supercar is particularly fitting, as it represents in no small part the performance future of a brand with an enviable performance past.
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