The supercar factory
Carbon-neutral production is underway for the all-new Audi e-tron GT.
The eagerly anticipated Audi e-tron GT has begun series production alongside the brand’s exisiting supercar, the Audi R8.
21 December, 2020
The production of two technically completely different cars on one assembly line is unique within the Group
It’s called the Böllinger Höfe, the high-tech facility at Audi in Neckarsulm where the new Audi e-tron GT has now entered series production alongside its internal combustion engine sibling, the Audi R8 supercar.
This is the place where the R8 has been lovingly ‘crafted’ since 2014, but really to call it a ‘factory’ simply doesn’t do it justice as Böllinger Höfe reinvents the very concept of an automotive production facility.
Indeed anyone who has visited Audi in Ingolstadt and done one of the tremendous factory tours will know, the old-fashioned concept of a manufacturing is, well, old fashioned.
But where the Ingolstadt facility is gleaming and high-tech, the Böllinger Höfe is something else again.
“The production of two technically completely different cars on one assembly line is unique within the Group,” says Production Head Wolfgang Schanz. “Integration of the fully electric, four-door coupe transformed our small-series production facility at Audi Böllinger Höfe into a highly flexible, high-tech production facility that nevertheless retains its craft-scale character.”
That a state-of-the-art all-electric supercar can be built side by side with a high-performance combustion engined vehicle is a feat in itself, but in keeping with the brand’s drive to become carbon-neutral across all of its facilities, Böllinger Höfe is now net carbon-neutral, with its 100 percent eco-electricity and heat from regenerative sources.
The facility also avoids the use of paper and packaging, uses aluminium and polymer closed loops, and the e-tron GT is also the first Audi model to be planned without any using any physical prototypes at all.
In early 2020, the entire Neckarsulm site began using exclusively eco-electricity, a combined heat-and-power plant fired with biogas providing the heat required for production at the Bölllinger Höfe. Audi uses carbon credits from certified climate protection projects to offset emissions that currently cannot be avoided using renewable sources of energy.
“Following in the footsteps of the Brussels and Győr sites, the Böllinger Höfe is now the first Audi production facility in Germany where production operations are net carbon-neutral. This is an important milestone for the Neckarsulm site and another step along our path to carbon-neutral production sites worldwide by 2025,” says Peter Kössler, Audi Board of Management Member for Production and Logistics.
Of course it’s not just about using carbon-neutral power, but looking for ways throughout the entire production and supply process to make real savings. For example, all of the rail traffic at the Neckarsulm site is climate neutral, while another carrier uses trucks powered with biomethane for the road transport of its shipments.
Following in the footsteps of the Brussels and Győr sites, the Böllinger Höfe is now the first Audi production facility in Germany where production operations are net carbon-neutral
It’s an impressive achievement for the Neckarsulm site, but a fitting one given that after all this is ‘the supercar factory’
Then of course there is the Aluminium Closed Loop, a closed recycling chain for aluminium sheet offcuts produced in the press shop, which saves several thousand metric tons of CO2 emissions each year by returning homogeneous aluminium sheet offcuts to the supplier, where they are recycled and ultimately reused at Audi.
Then there’s the recycling of polymers, which, although still a pilot project, sees the polymer waste from A6 and A7 assembly sorted homogeneously, chopped up and then processed into special fibres. These filaments are then used in the 3D printers for the production process. The internal 3D printing team at the Böllinger Höfe is specialised on a wide variety of assembly aids precisely tailored to the requirements of the employees. Over 100 of these aids are used in the production of the Audi e-tron GT.
It’s an impressive achievement for the Neckarsulm site, but a fitting one given that this is after all ‘the supercar factory’ – the place where the brand’s two most powerful and fastest series-production cars are brought to life.
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