Audi presents future production plan and will only launch electric vehicles (EVs) globally from 2026

Audi has announced that as of 2026 the company will only launch all-electric models onto the global market. As part of this Audi will be gradually phasing out production of its combustion models by 2033. 

Audi is now taking steps to prepare its global facilities for the production of all-electric cars. It is building on its existing global production network to achieve this vision. 

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Gerd Walker, Audi Board Member for Production and Logistics, said: “Step by step, we are bringing all our sites into the future. We don’t want any standalone lighthouse projects on greenfield sites. 

“Instead, we are investing in our existing plants so they end up being just as efficient and flexible as newly built production sites or greenfield plants. The path Audi is taking conserves resources and accelerates our transformation to a provider of sustainable premium mobility.”

Audi wants to make manufacturing flexible and resilient to ensure it will be future-proof in the long term. In keeping with this aim, Audi developed its comprehensive strategy taking various perspectives into account. The company has created the 360factory which they see as a vision of the future. The approach places equal emphasis on cost-effectiveness, sustainability, flexibility and attractiveness.

Ambitious Roadmap to Emobility

By the end of the decade, Audi will be making electric-drive models at all of its production sites worldwide. Two sites, Böllinger Höfe and Brussels, are already producing all-electric vehicles. 

Walker said: “To achieve our goal, we are relying on our highly qualified staff and will make all our employees fit for the future by 2025 with a training budget of around 500 million euros.”

Starting next year, the Audi Q6 e-tron will be the first electric vehicle (EV) to roll off the production line in Ingolstadt. Production of all-electric cars will gradually start in Neckarsulm, San José Chiapa and Győr as well. 

Assembling the Audi e-tron GT at Böllinger Höfe

In 2029, all production sites will be producing at least one all-electric model. Depending on local conditions, production of the remaining combustion models will be gradually phased out by the beginning of the next decade. New plants will only be built where additional capacity is needed. 

For example, Audi and its partner FAW are currently building a site in Changchun (China) where models based on the PPE (Premium Platform Electric) technology platform will be locally produced. With construction set to finish by the end of 2024, this will be the first automotive plant in China where only all-electric Audi models roll off the line.

Transformation as a Catalyst for Increased Productivity

Electrifying its plants is just one aspect on the road to Audi’s vision for the production of the future. 

Walker said: “We will use the transition to e-mobility to make major leaps in productivity and optimisation by making the necessary modifications.” 

Once it is equipped for the future, Audi’s production network is intended to be economical, sustainable and attractive as well as flexible. Four central goals with ambitious key figures to ensure that future production will be economical, Audi wants to cut annual factory costs in half by 2033. 

To achieve this, the brand plans to reduce the complexity of its vehicles where it does not benefit the customer. To this end, vehicle development will take a streamlined production process into account from stage one. 

Audi will also continue to digitalise production, for example, with the Edge Cloud 4 Production solution using local servers. This will make it possible to replace expensive industrial PCs, reducing IT efforts such as software rollouts and operating system changes. 

In the future, Audi will also be using independent modular assembly to simplify work with high product variability. Virtual assembly planning saves material resources and makes innovative, flexible collaboration possible across locations.

Battery assembly in Brussels: Final acceptance of a cell module controller and cable laying

Flexible Sustainable Production

To ensure Audi will be able to respond more flexibly to fluctuations in customer demand or production program, the company will make its manufacturing processes even more flexible. 

Walker said: “We want to structure both product and production so we get the optimum benefit for our customers.”

The new Audi Q6 e-tron, for example, will initially be made in Ingolstadt on the same line as the Audi A4 and A5. The electric models will then gradually replace the combustion cars on the lines.

Audi has been pursuing its Mission:Zero environmental program to reduce its ecological footprint related to production and logistics since 2019. The program’s central goal is to make all Audi production sites worldwide net carbon neutral by 2025. 

The plants in Brussels and Győr as well as the Böllinger Höfe in Neckarsulm have already been converted. The environmental program also addresses the areas of resource and water efficiency as well as the protection and preservation of biodiversity. 

For example, Audi plans to halve today’s ecologically weighted water consumption value in its production sites by 2035. In 2018, Audi México became the world’s first premium manufacturer to produce cars completely wastewater-free. 

At the Neckarsulm site, a water cycle was set up in a pilot project between the factory and the neighbouring municipal wastewater treatment plant, which will reduce the demand for freshwater by more than 70 per cent.

On its way to becoming a 360factory, Audi is now setting itself even more ambitious sustainability targets related to production. By 2030, the company aims to cut its absolute environmental impact in the areas of primary energy consumption in power plant emissions, CO2 equivalents, air pollutants, local water risk, and wastewater and waste volumes in half, compared with the 2018 figure. 

Important steps to achieving this goal include generating renewable energy in-house and using innovative technologies to create more circular value chains where resources used are utilised in closed cycles.

Wheel brake of a Audi Q8 e-tron during assembly in Brussels

Attractive Internally and Externally

The Audi 360factory will also showcase Audi as an attractive employer both internally and externally, particularly within production. As part of this commitment, Audi is currently working on concepts for making working hours more flexible, even in areas that are tied to specific shifts. 

Audi is also making the working environment and break rooms more comfortable for its employees. The Audi Production division does not see itself purely as a vehicle manufacturer but also as a developer of process technology. 

Walker said: “We want to be the best employer for our employees already on board as well as for all applicants, students, and professionals. Our transformation into the 360factory will require the very best minds, even in disciplines not commonly associated with production, such as electronics and software development.”

As Audi’s first fully comprehensive 360factory, the Ingolstadt plant will serve as a blueprint for the transformation of the company’s large-scale production facilities worldwide. The other sites will tackle the transformation step-by-step. 

Walker concluded: “We still have a long way to go but the direction we’re headed in and the steps to get there are clear.” 

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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