The e-tron GT is the first fully electric car produced by Audi in its Böllinger Höfe workshops at the Neckarsulm site. The small series production plant has been extended, modernized and converted for its new role. The craftsmanship of the old unit has been preserved and is supplemented by digital processes and smart technologies.
During the expansion, production planners used new virtual methods. The testing of assembly line work procedures and logistics processes was first performed in the virtual domain, with container planning also being carried out using VR technology. The production of the e-tron GT was designed without physical prototypes: a first for Audi.
Innovation at every level
Large parts of the bodywork of this all-electric Gran Turismo are constructed from heavy-duty steel and aluminum. To produce this mixture of materials in the expected quantities, a body shop was established, combining the know-how of the employees with the full potential of automated production technology.
This is an innovative assembly line where each body goes through twice. It's built around what Audi calls the two-way framer, in which ten robots are used to secure the interior and exterior side panels. It combines all the manufacturing steps required to assemble the sides into one system, making it possible to produce the Audi e-tron GT on the existing floor space.
Also new is the online body measurement procedure. It guarantees even greater precision and can react very quickly to tiny deviations. It is at the end of the bodywork assembly line that the precision of craftsmanship comes into play.
Experienced workers adjust additional parts and check the finish of the body. The design of the Audi e-tron GT places unusually high production quality requirements: the side wall frame, for example, has a significant drawing depth of 35 centimeters between its highest and lowest point. .
E-tron and R8 in the same boat
Thanks to its assembly line extended to 36 cycles (instead of 16), Audi can carry out the assembly of two completely different models, the e-tron and the R8. This integration is a unique case within the Volkswagen Group. Both models are moved using the same driverless transport vehicles and an electrically powered monorail system.
At one station on the line, humans and robots work side by side. A 3D printer is also available to produce custom assembly aids upon employee request. When completed, each car is driven 40 kilometers on public roads, which also includes sections on the highway and in city traffic.
A matter of sound
Although powered by an electric motor, Audi was keen to pay particular attention to the sound emanating from the e-tron GT. Developed by engineers Rudolf Halbmeir and Stephan Gsell both on the computer, in the brand's 'sound lab' and in the car itself, the 'e-sound' consists of 32 individual sound elements.
The e-tron GT is also equipped with the Mandatory Acoustic Warning System for Electric Vehicles (AVAS), although it is integrated into a wider acoustic spectrum. A loudspeaker installed at the front of the vehicle emits the sound. For customers ordering the optional sound package, a second full-size speaker is added to the rear.
At the same time, two speakers inside the vehicle provide an intense sound experience. Two control units continuously remix the sound of the e-tron GT based on variables such as speed or throttle position. The 'Audi drive select' system allows drivers to determine whether and to what extent they want to experience the sound intensely.
Line release for the new Audi e-tron GT scheduled for late 2020.
Source: press release
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