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Audi's #electric Tesla killer is already rolling of the production line
Transportation Transportation Battery

The Audi E-tron, the all-electric SUV from the German car manufacturer, is rolling off smoothly in Brussels. On a daily basis, the factory already produces Audi's 'Tesla killer'.

Man standing next to the black and white #Audi E-tron
The #Audi E-tron

In the second half of the year, the Audi factory of Vorst starts the series production of the E-tron, the first fully electric SUV of the brand. But actually they have been building the E-tron in Brussels since last year. There were already more than a hundred pieces of the band, although Audi does not want to give exact figures.
"On a daily basis we send these extra cars through the production process," says factory director Patrick Danau. "We have already started." In the coming months, when everything is finally ready, the factory in Brussels switches to the production of the so-called 'zero series'. These are cars that are identical to the ones that are ultimately sold to the customers. "They will become service cars," says Danau. Then the final series production follows. The exact date remains unclear. Audi keeps it at 'the second half of the year'. Earlier, August was already whispered in trade union circles, but in Ingolstadt just as much autumn was pushed forward. In any case, this launch will be accompanied by a major event in Brussels. Audi Vorst will be the center of expertise for other factories that make the switch to electric vehicles From A1 to E-tron The E-tron in Brussels replaces the production of the small Audi A1, which is moving to Spain. But switching from one model to another does not happen from one day to the next. It is a gradual process, in which A1's and E-trons pass between each other on the same production line. They are already being built today by the same people who have been assembling the A1 for years. The fact that they are already allowed to work on the E-tron, the showpiece of the Audi group, according to Danau creates a lot of 'enthusiasm' among its people.

Test cars

The E-trons that are already on the belt are not intended for sale. They are test vehicles, which serve to make adjustments to the cars as well as to the production process. Some cars drive around in the street with technicians in order to take measurements. This is very structured: they are not homologated, so these road tests are subjected to rigorous rules. Other cars go to top managers at Audi in Germany who want to keep their finger on the pulse, or to other departments, such as marketing divisions. The least fortunate copies are used for the crash tests.

A new factory

In order to produce the E-tron, the factory in Vorst was completely rebuilt. A great deal, because in the meantime the production of the A1 had to continue to run unabated, which last year was still 95,000 units. The arrival of the E-tron is in any case a guarantee for the future in Vorst, thinks Danau. "We actually put a whole new factory there," he says. 'We have been running in Brussels for 70 years. I hope that we will continue for another 30 years. The basic conditions are there. "Audi does not yet want to say how many E-trons it wants to produce annually in Vorst. In any case, it would be sufficient to fully utilize the current capacity of the two-leg system. Further training for employees "And nothing prevents us from going to a three-shift system," says Danau, adding that this is not yet the case today. "That will depend on the market." But given that Audi Vorst will build the E-trons for the global market, including China, the cards are in any case favorable. To start building the E-tron in Brussels, Audi invested heavily in further training of the employees. 200,000 hours of additional training were provided. Two thirds of the employees in Vorst have already retrained. Audi Vorst will in the future serve as a center of expertise for other Audi factories that make the switch to electric vehicles.
The greay interior of the #Audi E-tron
80,000 Euros

The Audi E-tron is an electric SUV with a range of about 500 kilometers. The starting price is 80,000 euros, according to Audi CEO Rupert Stadler on the presentation of the annual results. At the head office in Ingolstadt, the launch of the Brussels E-tron is unequivocally called 'a milestone' for the company. The driving range of the E-tron is similar to that of Tesla's Model X and also in terms of cost price both cars are in the same category The E-tron is in any case a direct challenger of Tesla. The driving range is similar to that of Tesla's Model X, and also in terms of cost price, both cars are in the same category. At Audi, they already believe that the world is waiting for it. In Norway, the European country for the electric car, they already recorded 3,700 reservations. And there are already 340 reservations in Belgium in two months time. E-tron Sportback Audi is firmly committed to electric cars. After the Brussels E-tron many other models have to follow. In 2019 the E-tron Sportback will arrive, which will also be running in Brussels. By 2025, Audi wants to achieve more than 30 percent of its turnover from electric cars.

By: Karsten Lemmens, Ingolstadt