Through the lens

Two celebrated photographers capture the essence of the Audi e-tron at the Audi Brussels plant as it readies for the road.

A milestone moment for the Audi brand and one worth capturing for the future. Through the lens, these two gifted photographers capture the Audi e-tron as it passes through the phases of construction, the people and the environment that makes each vehicle a reality.

Paolo Pellegrin and Gueorgui Pinkhassov

4 April, 2019

As the Audi e-tron readies for the road, two world-famous photographers, Paolo Pellegrin and Gueorgui Pinkhassov, capture this e-storic event

Audi’s first electric car is ready to take to the road and to celebrate this e-storical event, Audi asked two world-famous photographers, Paolo Pellegrin and Gueorgui Pinkhassov, from Magnum Photos, to spend five days at its resource-efficient production plant in Brussels.

Capturing reflective surfaces, the robots’ strength and grace as well as the factory workers’ dedication and passion, the two photographers produced a series of photographs that reveal the innovation, quality, and attention to detail, that define the Audi e-tron technology. 

Paolo Pellegrin has been a member of Magnum Photos since 2005 and is the winner of many awards, including 10 World Press Photo awards. After completing a degree in architecture, he took his camera and began traveling all around the world to document, as a silent witness, humanitarian crises, wars, and other significant stories such as the effects of climate change. He regards electric cars as “an essential element for our future on a planet that man is compromising so badly.” 

At Audi Brussels, Pellegrin used his rigorous and poetic eye to interpret the essence of the Audi e-tron. The result is a series of photos that take viewers on a journey across high-tech industrial spaces dominated by robots. One of the aspects of the e-tron production process Pellegrin found most fascinating was the “gentleness” the robots brought to delicate tasks, such as applying glue to car bodies. 

Paolo Pellegrin regards electric cars as “an essential element for our future on a planet that man is compromising so badly”

In his photographs, Pinkhassov celebrates the “integration between people and technology"

Gueorgui Pinkhassov joined Magnum Photos in 1988 and contributes regularly to international publications such as The New York Times Magazine and Geo. His interest in photography began during his study of cinematography and his collaboration with the prominent Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky. In his photos, Pinkhassov celebrates the “integration between people and technology,” which he says “gives us more freedom.” 

At Audi Brussels, Pinkhassov wandered around the plant holding his camera, following his usual approach of “wanting anything for poetry.” His photos look like a series of odes to electric
cars, where workers and robots coexist in a rhythm “everything – colours, lines, even stains.” During the five days spent capturing the production process of the Audi e-tron’s, he observed among the care and precision of the workers. “They wanted to make something unique and interesting, like we do when we take pictures.” 

In the paint shop, more than 300 people and 90 robots apply paintwork that is no thicker than a human hair.

Audi is making e-story at its Brussels plant, where 3000 people work with passion to produce the brand’s first fully electric-powered production vehicle – the Audi e-tron. This is a vehicle that combines the space and comfort of a full-size SUV with a range suitable for daily use, with quattro drive and modern technology for “mobile networking, partially standard or optional.“ Thanks to the comprehensive selection of charging options to use at home and on the move, customers can enjoy electric driving with almost no compromise. 

At Audi Brussels, 3000 people work with passion to produce the brand’s first fully electric-powered production vehicle

The robots in the body shop are so majestic and methodical in their movements that they evoke dinosaurs.

The two electric motors set on each axle trigger completely new driving dynamics

Audi e-tron technology allows for long distance trips with a single charge, with two motors set on each axle that trigger completely new driving dynamics. More than just a car, this e-SUV is an advanced technology platform that lets drivers stay connected at every point in their journey. With a sound system that competes only with the silence of the surrounding landscape, LED headlights, optional 360-degree cameras, and optional virtual exterior mirrors, driving becomes a premium adventure. 

Before painting, a multitude of ostrich feathers envelop the car body and brush off the last specks of dust.

To embrace this e-volution, Audi Brussels has undergone a complete transformation and been reborn stronger and more determined than ever to make electric mobility intelligent. A new centre has been created to train employees to work safely with high voltages. 700kg batteries are assembled in-house and transported by driverless robots. A team of young engineers brings the spirit of innovative start-ups to the plant as they work to develop and optimise the Audi e-tron software. 

The 700kg batteries are assembled in-house and transported by driverless robots

Driverless transport systems are part of the production process, bringing components to the assembly line in the right order.

Last year, Audi Brussels become the world's first certified CO2-neutral high-volume production plant in the premium segment

While striving for a new emission-free era, the plant takes its mission to create resource-efficient mobility so seriously that it even extends to manufacturing. This has included significantly reducing energy consumption, introducing solar panels, using green gas, covering walls with plants and investing in other projects benefiting the environment in order to avoid and offset CO2 emissions. 

The distinctive body of the Audi e-tron prepares to come alive.

A new chapter begins for the brand with the four rings, which will see a wealth of new, all-electric vehicles introduced to markets around the world over the coming years. Audi will introduce all-electric variants to each of its model ranges giving customers the ability to match an e-tron vehicle to their specific lifestyle. But while each of the new range of Audi vehicles will bring with them new and exciting technology, the essence of Audi remains. Performance, luxury and an attention to detail in every aspect of the vehicle and its manufacture. Welcome to the future.

An electrifying new chapter for the Audi brand is underway

Audi virtual mirrors will be offered for the first time in a volume-production vehicle.