The Audi e-tron GT will be entering production soon, and it will be the first fully electric Audi model to be made in Germany. The automaker said it has implemented new technologies at the Böllinger Höfe plant in Neckarsulm, and the existing assembly line – the same one that produces the Audi R8 – have been upgraded, expanded, and converted.
The assembly line now includes 36 cycles instead of 16 from before, and its ability to produce both the e-tron GT and R8 (two technically different cars) is unique within the Volkswagen Group. During production, both models are moved using the same combination of driverless vehicles, robots, electrically powered overhead conveyor rail, and autonomous transfer station.
Production of the e-tron GT is not fully automated, though. Along the assembly line, humans and robots work side by side. There is also a 3D printer is to produce customised assembly aids. However, the e-tron GT’s body shop is nearly 85% automated, featuring 10 stations with 34 robots.
Speaking of body, the e-tron GT is largely constructed from ultra high-strength steel and aluminium, created in what Audi calls the two-way framer. A new inline measuring procedure guarantees even greater accuracy – in other words, the tolerances for fit and finish is even tighter.
The gran turismo will also feature a unique e-sound, or acoustic vehicle alerting system (AVAS). To achieve this, engineers Rudolf Halbmeir and Stephan Gsell created a progressive electronic sound, which gets emitted through a speaker positioned in the front section of the cabin. An optional sound package adds two control units in the luggage compartment, two external loudspeakers on the car and two internal loudspeakers in the rear doors.
Together, the speakers continuously remix the e-sound (32 individual sound elements) based on speed or accelerator position. The intensity of this sound can be adjusted through the Audi drive select system, but cannot be fully disabled since AVAS is mandatory by law.
Production head Wolfgang Schanz said: “With the integration of the Audi R8 and Audi e-tron GT, a unique combination of craftsmanship and smart factory technology is coming to life at Böllinger Höfe. I am especially proud of the passion and spirit of our team.”
To recap, the e-tron GT shares the same J1 underpinnings with the Porsche Taycan, and is powered by two electric motors that provide all-wheel drive and torque vectoring. In its concept guise, the car produces 434 kW (582 hp), enough to propel it from standstill to 100 km/h in 3.5 seconds.
The 90 kWh lithium-ion battery provides a range of around 400 km, and because it too uses the same 800-volt electrical system, ultra fast DC charging is possible. A 20-minute charge gets the battery to an 80% state of charge. Audi is also planning to introduce the more hardcore e-tron GT RS sometime in the future. So, what do you think?
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