In this instalment of The Bigger Picture, polar explorer and photographer Sebastian Copeland, visits Audi’s facility in Győr, Hungary to see what steps the brand is taking to achieve its goal of becoming carbon neutral on balance.

26 April, 2024

From a massive photovoltaic installation to harnessing geothermal power and using second-life EV batteries to power utility robots – Audi’s Győr facility in Hungary is a perfect illustration of what the brand is doing to achieve net zero on balance at its manufacturing facilities worldwide by 2025.

The largest engine plant in the world, the Győr facility started production back in 1993 and last year produced 1,660,425 engines, including more than 114, 000 electric drives and 176,493 cars. It employs more than 11,500 people and sits on a site some 5000 square metres in size. 

Since the start of 2020, the Győr site has also been carbon-neutral, one of the first Audi sites to achieve the goal, and it is a perfect example of some of the innovative ways the brand is changing the way it operates to achieves cleaner outcomes while still maintaining standards and meeting the tremendous demand for drive trains.

Perhaps most talked about and hard to miss is the massive solar energy park that covers the roofs of the two logistics centres – an enormous 160,000 square metres of photovoltaic cells with a peak output of 12 megawatts. This photovoltaic array is in fact the largest of its kind in Europe.

The Győr facility is also Hungary’s biggest consumer of geothermal energy, with over 70 percent of the heat energy that the company needs generated by geothermal energy since 2015. That equates to some 82,000 megawatt hours of energy each year and also accounts for reducing CO2 emissions by 17,000 tons each year.

Then there is the use of ‘green trains’ to transport components, engines and vehicles between its plants and the Aluminium Closed Loop project that recycles this high value alloy in a closed loop – an initiative that resulted in the collection of over 5000 tons of aluminium waste last year alone, then returning it to Audi’s two supplier companies which then recycle the scraps to produce new aluminium coils of the same original quality and return them to Audi.

For those emissions that can’t be reduced or removed completely from the production process, Audi Hungary covers its natural gas consumption with biomethane certificates and compensates for the likes of engine test stands, with internationally recognised and certified carbon credits, which account for around five percent of CO2 emissions.

There are also numerous environmental initiatives that see the plant involved in extensive biodiversity projects that are backed by the Audi Environmental Foundation including the ‘we4bee’ initiative which sees beekeeping at the site.

It’s a rich and varied approach that delivers real results and sees the world’s largest producer of drive units operating Caron-neutral on balance as well as enjoying the status of being Europe’s ‘Most Attractive Employer in the Automotive Industry’.

Also in the series

The Bigger Picture - Part 1

The Bigger Picture - Part 3

The Bigger Picture - Part 4