Audi is committed to sustainable transportation and will begin releasing only all-electric vehicles to global markets starting in 2026. The high-end maker plans to stop making cars with internal combustion engines by 2033. Audi has already started preparing all of its factories to manufacture electric cars in light of this plan, which was announced in 2021 as part of the group's strategy "Vorsprung 2030."
In contrast to many rivals, Audi expands on its global production network rather than establishing new factories. "We are preparing all locations for the future," explains Gerd Walker, chief production manager at Audi. "We'd rather not construct individual lighthouses in the middle of nowhere. In its place, the company plans to increase spending on existing facilities to make them "as efficient and adaptable as so-called Greenfield factories." Walker claims this strategy is superior because it can be maintained indefinitely over time. "Audi's strategy saves resources and adds further fuel to our shift towards being a supplier of more environmentally and climate-friendly premium mobility," Walker says.
The senior production manager at Audi will make production more adaptable, reliable, and future-proof over the long haul. That's why Audi's strategy was established with a multifaceted and comprehensive approach. Walker and his group consider the query, "What does society demand from us?" in this context. Is there anything special that consumers want? We need to ask, "What do our stakeholders want, and what do our employees require going forward?" As a result, Audi has coined the term "360factory" to describe its vision of the factory of the future. Attractiveness, adaptability, and cost-effectiveness are all given similar weight in the plan.
Audi plans to have all of its manufacturing facilities worldwide producing electric vehicles by the decade's end. According to Walker, "to this aim," the company spends over 500 million euros annually on training and education to ensure that all its workers are ready for the future by 2025. Two current examples of such plants are Böllinger Höfe in Germany and Brussels in Belgium. Ingolstadt will begin production of the Audi Q6 e-tron, the company's first fully electric vehicle. In the future years, the manufacture of purely electric vehicles will also begin in Neckarsulm, San José Chiapa, and Gyr. Every factory will turn out an Audi electric car by 2029. Depending on local regulations, production of the last few models using internal combustion engines will terminate sometime early in the next decade. Only in cases where there is an apparent demand for more output will new factories be constructed.
However, the transition to electric power in the factories is just one step on the path to the future of Audi production. Using the shift to electric mobility, Walker adds, "we also want to take significant jumps" in productivity and optimization. The future of Audi's production network aims to be cost-effective, environmentally and climate-friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and adaptable. Four primary aims with lofty quantitative targets: Audi plans to cut its annual plant expenditures in half by 2033 so that it may continue to produce profitably into the future. To get there, we'll simplify the cars where it doesn't provide value for buyers and start thinking about making them as efficiently as possible from the beginning of the design process. The premium manufacturer will also help speed up the process of digitizing manufacturing.
Since 2019, Audi has been operating based on the environmental program Mission:Zero, intending to minimize its environmental impact across the production and distribution processes. The primary goal is to produce all Audi assembly plants worldwide with a zero-carbon footprint by 2025. Brussels and Gyor industries, as well as the Böllinger Höfe in Neckarsulm, have already been successfully converted. Resource and water efficiency and the preservation and protection of biological diversity are other focal points of the environmental agenda. For instance, by 2035, ecological water usage during production is expected to be cut in half from its current level. Audi Mexico's assembly line has been entirely free of wastewater discharge since 2018. As part of a pilot program, the factory in Neckarsulm has connected to the local sewage treatment facility via a water circuit. In the long run, it will cut our need for potable water by more than 70%.
Along the path to the 360 factory, Audi has set even loftier goals for its production: by 2030, the company aims to cut its absolute environmental impacts in primary energy consumption, power plant emissions, carbon dioxide emissions, air pollutants, local water risk, and wastewater and waste volume by 50% compared to the figures from 2018. Self-production of renewable energy and the employment of innovative technologies for an increasingly circular value creation in which resources are utilized in closed loops are two significant levers that might be activated in this regard.
The Ingolstadt facility is the first of its kind and will serve as a model for the rest of the Audi 360 factories as they transition to full-scale series production. The transition to the new system will be handled gradually at the other locations. Walker says, "We still have a long way to go." "However, the destination and the necessary actions to get it are crystal obvious." @via Audi.