What is hidden behind the production of an electric car like the Q6 e-tron?

From the end of 2023, Ingolstadt takes over the production of the Audi Q6 e-tron and, since the beginning of 2024, it does so through a zero emissions process like that of the Brussels plants (2018) and Györ (2020). This addition to the assembly line of the German headquarters is not important only because of its relevance in the Audi portfolio, as first model based on the PPE platformhas also involved the implementation of the first battery assembly facility in Germany.

Indeed, the transition towards electric mobility not only affects the product or end customer, who suffers from restrictions on road traffic in some cities or the increase in taxes derived from emissions. The choice of electrification as a strategy to reduce road pollution has required a large investment on the part of the manufacturers, responsible for developing new platforms, propulsion systems and factories to build these zero-emission cars.

There is little point in producing a sustainable car if during its first days of life it pollutes more than a combustion car, so plants in Europe have undergone rapid remodeling during the last decade. An example of this is Ingolstadt, responsible for assembling the new Audi Q6 e-tron. With this model, the German headquarters launches its era of electric cars and does so with a global strategy that involves the different production phases in the existing bodywork and assembly structures and processes.

The incorporation of the Q6 e-tron also involves the assembly of batteries.

Without going any further, the new PPE platform (Premium Electric Platform) requires a battery, so the factory had to incorporate a surface to assemble said device. With a 90% automation and 300 employees for three shifts, the specific area designed in Ingolstadt will be able to assemble 1,000 high voltage batteries per day. First it will be with the Audi Q6 e-tron, but the idea is to gain experience to produce its own battery modules.

What is retooling?

Reusing is one of the keys to sustainability and, to make the production of the Q6 e-tron as efficient as possible, Audi has recycled existing structures in Ingolstadt. In the 148,000 square meters of the factory there are 1,150 robots in operation, of which 680 were previously used in the body shop of other models. AGVs (automated guided vehicles) are also reused from other projects. This versatility has the benefit of being able to maintain other productions in the same line of work.

Flexibility allows producing thermal and electrical models.

Top coat is applied to the inside of the bodywork.

In this case, The combustion Audi A4 and A5 coexist with the electric ones and this flexibility is transferred to sections such as hot forming for bodies. The objective is that, in addition to the elements for the PPE platform, the production equipment will be used to manufacture components for combustion engines based on this same platform.

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