Audi has tapped into its deep pocketbooks and constructed a new development and testing center for electric drive systems in Ingolstadt, Germany. This facility is a home away from home for 840 of the automaker's experts who are working on e-mobility. Audi hopes that combining development of advanced electric drive systems, batteries and power electronics under one roof will allow it to react to the swiftly changing automotive industry and develop hybrid and electric vehicles quickly. Michael Dick, Audi board member for technical development, describes the importance of consolidating e-mobility efforts in this way:
With the new development and testing center for electric drive systems, we've reached an important milestone on the way to e-mobility. Consolidating the employees involved in the development process in one area allows solutions to be found quickly and efficiently.
Over the past two years, Audi has invested nearly €65 million ($90 million U.S. at the current exchange rate) to build its new test center. The 150,690-square-feet facility houses advanced battery testing rigs, drive system simulators and a host of other high-tech evaluation devices. Sounds like a fun playground.

[Source: Audi]

PRESS RELEASE

New Audi center consolidates e-mobility efforts


* New development and testing center for electric drive systems
* Audi Board Member for Technical Development Michael Dick: "Consolidation in one area allows solutions to be found quickly and efficiently"

November 10, 2010 – Audi commissioned a new development and testing center for electric drive systems at its Ingolstadt site this week – providing the company with an ideal environment for development of hybrid and electric automobiles. Around 840 employees will now work here to further advance drive systems, batteries and power electronics – using highly networked methods.

"With the new development and testing center for electric drive systems, we've reached an important milestone on the way to e-mobility," said Michael Dick, Audi Board Member for Technical Development. "Consolidating the employees involved in the development process in one area allows solutions to be found quickly and efficiently." The Audi Q5 Hybrid will be introduced to the market as early as next year. By the end of 2012, Audi will have a small volume of R8 e-tron electric sports cars ready to hit the road.

Audi invested approximately € 65 million in the new building over the past two years. The 14,000-square-meter (150,690-square-feet) building houses numerous state-of-the-art test rigs, which can be used to test electric drive concepts. Over a total of seven stories, engineers initially test the individual components, then simulate the interaction of drive system, battery and power electronics, and finally assemble the entire drivetrain for testing. In the next testing phase, tests are run with the complete vehicle in the altitude simulation chamber and the deep-freeze testing rig, subjecting the cars to various climatic conditions at 4,200 meters (13,779.53 feet) in altitude and temperatures of -40°C to +60°C (-40°F to +140°F).

"The networking isn't just obvious at the testing rigs; it is reflected in the entire architecture of the building," said Richard Schmidmeier, who as project manager has overseen the expansion of the mechanical units center since the start of construction in September 2008. The workstations in the new offices, for instance, are ergonomic, brightly lit and spacious. The planners have also provided "think tanks" in which the employees can get together spontaneously in order to discuss problems. The open character and numerous meeting rooms convey a campus-like atmosphere.

Audi is making sustained investments in the future in order to achieve its goal of selling 1.5 million cars per year by 2015. Plans call for € 2.2 billion to be invested by 2012 in fixed assets at the Audi Ingolstadt site alone. In addition, the company will hire around 500 new employees this year. Special emphasis is being placed on the promising areas of electromobility and lightweight construction.

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