Volkswagen AG plans to take over all Audi shares and to place Audi at the head of Volkswagen Group development

Dr. Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of AUDI AG: “Given the strong dynamics of change in our industry, we are pooling our strengths in the Volkswagen Group and positioning ourselves competitively for the future. Going forward, the Audi brand with Markus Duesmann as its new CEO will take over the lead for research & development in the Volkswagen Group and thus swiftly assume technical leadership.”

As part of the realignment of competences and responsibilities, Volkswagen AG is planning a squeeze-out according to German stock corporation law to increase its shareholding in Audi from the present 99.64 percent to 100 percent. It has informed AUDI AG of this in a request for the transfer of minority shares.

The Volkswagen Group is responding even more proactively to the challenges of the transformation with an optimal positioning and effective structures. Audi CEO Bram Schot: “It is exactly the right way not to stick to the organizational status quo, but to consistently exploit the advantages of the Group’s network. With a greater job split at the Group, we can manage future issues more agilely and flexibly. The new structure will strengthen Audi’s role within the Volkswagen Group and recharge Vorsprung durch Technik.”

AUDI AG will continue to be a stock corporation. It will therefore retain a legal form compatible with the capital market and employee codetermination will remain unaffected. “As Audi’s employee representatives, we fought for and achieved this goal,” states Peter Mosch, Chairman of Audi’s General Works Council. “The brand will therefore continue to be independent within the Group.”

A resolution on the squeeze-out according to German stock corporation law is to be passed by this year’s Annual General Meeting of AUDI AG. In light of this, the Annual General Meeting of AUDI AG, which was originally scheduled for May 14, 2020, will be postponed until July or August 2020. 

Formula E: latest news and miscellaneous from Marrakesh

Audi already operates the first of its plants using sustainable energy in Brussels (Belgium), Györ (Hungary) and San José Chiapa (Mexico). Solar power has a very large share in this. Lucas di Grassi used the race in Marrakesh to visit the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant. The Noor Solar Power Complex in Ouarzazate is located about 200 kilometers from Marrakesh, behind the Atlas Mountains. The sun shines here – with few exceptions – 365 days a year. The site is therefore perfectly suited to the 7,400-acre facility with its solar panels that cover an area of 3,500 soccer fields. “To see this incredibly large area was extremely impressive,” says Lucas di Grassi, who had all the details explained to him by the operators of the trend-setting plant. “The solar power plant generates twice as much energy each day than what is needed in Marrakesh.” During the tour, he also discovered a common feature with his Audi e-tron FE06: the high-precision bearing technology for solar mirrors is also coming from Audi technology partner Schaeffler. 

At his birthplace, São Paulo (Brazil), Lucas di Grassi has launched the Zero Summit – Latin America’s first congress on technologies and ideas that ensure CO2 neutrality. The event will take place from October 6 to 8. “Audi will use the Zero Summit, among other things, to introduce the Audi e-tron Sportback in Brazil,” says di Grassi.

Between the two Formula E races in Mexico City and in Marrakesh, Lucas di Grassi made a detour to the German capital for the Berlinale. The Audi Formula E driver and climate ambassador for the United Nations discussed ideas, technologies and visions for a more sustainable future in various areas with journalist Birgit Heidsiek and film producer Antra Cilinska at a panel discussion, which was held under the motto of: “The show must go green.”

Dynamic, agile and electric: Audi presents drive concept for e-tron S-models

Dynamism 2.0: the driving experience

The driving experience of the two prototypes for the Audi e-tron S-models cannot fail to impress with its level of dynamism, agility and traction increased once more. In the S gear, both cars go from a standstill to 100 km/h (62.1 mph) in 4.5 seconds – almost seamlessly and nearly no noise – propulsion does not end until 210 km/h (130.5 mph), limited electronically. Thanksto a powerful cooling system, the drive gives the full boost power of 370 kW and 973 Nm (717.6 lb-ft) of torque in reproducible form for eight seconds in each case. The nominal values in the D gear without boost are 320 kW and 808 Nm (596.0 lb-ft).

In terms of handling, the electric S models cannot fail to impress with their outstanding agility and traction: They can accelerate from a curve as dynamically as a sports car, their drive character is much more focused on the rear wheels and much more sporty in nature. If theESC stabilization control is set to “Sport” and the Audi drive select dynamic handling system is set to maximum performance with “Dynamic” mode, the drive layout facilitates a high level of transverse dynamics and, on request, controlled drifts as well. The driving behavior is predictable at all times, and is characterized by an ultra-high level of safety and reliability.

The drive layout: three electric motors in the future mass production

The new Audi e-tron S models will be the first electric cars worldwide with three motors in mass production. Their drive layout is based on the concept with two different asynchronous motors (ASM); the e-tron product line was designed in modular form in line with this from the start.

The larger electric motor, which powers the rear axle in the Audi e-tron 55 models (current consumption combined in kWh/100 km*: 26.4–21.9 (WLTP); 23.1–20.6 (NEDC), combinedCO2 emissions in g/km: 0), has now been installed on the front axle in an adapted design and configured for 124 kW of power, or 150 kW in the boost. The smaller electric motor now works in a modified form in the rear, together with a counterpart that is identical in design; together, they offer 196 kW of power, or 264 kW in the boost.

Innovation from the quattro pioneer: twin motor with electrical torque vectoring

The drive has been programmed for efficiency in everyday life; in normal driving mode, only the rear electric motors work. The front drive is unpowered but switches itself on – with the driver barely noticing – if the driver needs more power. It also switches on predictively if the grip declines. It does so when friction values are low and during rapid cornering. The electric all-wheel drive is complemented by a further technical innovation in the form of electrical torque vectoring, which brings the advantages of the conventional sport differential into the electric era. Each one of the rear electric motors sends the drive forces directly to the wheel via a transmission; there is no longer a mechanical differential. 40 years following the launch of quattro technology, Audi is thus raising the principle of the four powered wheels to a completely new level of technology. The result: more agile driving and self-steering characteristics, and thus a higher cornering speed.
One further advantage is the traction. If, during acceleration, a rear wheel comes into contact with a road surface with a low friction value, i.e. if the road surface is covered in black ice or has a loose subsurface, the moment can be distributed precisely and quickly between the two motors. The full moment is gradually distributed to the wheel with powerful traction, while the wheel with low traction continues moving with almost no moment.
The two prototypes of the e-tron S models drive on 20-inch alloy wheels in the 5-V-spokeS design as standard. Different wheels up to 22 inches in size are available on request. To achieve an S-typical transverse dynamism, the tire widths in the sizes 20 inches, 21 inches and 22 inches have all been enlarged to 285 mm (11.2 in). Black brake calipers with a red S rhombus, with six pistons at the front in each case, grip the large brake discs (front diameter: 400 mm (15.7 in)). A further standard feature is the sporty progressive steering – its ratio becomes more and more direct, the further the driver turns the steering wheel. The front and rear axles have been created as a five-link design. Harmonization of the elastokinematics and of the dampers has also been optimized for the S models. In order to even further reduce the rolling movements during cornering, the stabilizers on both axles have been enlarged.

Up to 150 kW: peak power, even during charging

When the driver is on the road, the electric S models can be charged with up to 150 kW of direct current power (HPC), such as in the European Ionity network. This means that charging from 5 to 80% only takes around half an hour. An important factor for this is the elaborate thermal management system with a standard heat pump, which cools and heats the battery, the interior and the electric motors with four circuits. In addition, the Audi models will also be able to charge with up to 11 kW of alternating current (AC).

The Audi e-tron Charging Service guarantees convenient access to more than 140,000 public charging points in 24 European countries on request – with nothing more than a charging card. In the first year, Audi covers the basic fee for the transit rate, which also offers access to high power charging columns.

Optical statement: widening the wheel arches

The powerful and sporty design of the e-tron S models features Audi’s progressive design vocabulary, which emphasizes the strong contours of the wheels. Details such as the octagonal Singleframe, which is for the most part sealed and painted bright gray, move the design into the electric era. At the lower edge of LED headlights, four struts create the e-tron-specific signature in the daytime running lights. The S models’ leading role can be seen straight away. The front and rear bumpers are heavily contoured, while the diffuser insert runs almost the full width of the vehicle. The bumper is flanked by bigger and more expressive air curtains, which improve air flow. They extend below the headlights, thereby creating a dynamic appearance even from a distance. On both sides, the wheel arches are a whopping 23 mm (0.9 in) wider. Silver-colored elements – from the lip of the front bumper, the Singleframe and the door inserts right up to the diffuser – emphasize the vehicle’s features. Audi will paint larger detachable parts in a contrasting color on request.
Both S models are available, on request, with the digital Matrix LED headlights, a worldwide first in mass production. Their light is dispersed into small pixels and can be controlled with high precision, and this facilitates many new functions such as lane and orientation light. In narrow areas, for example, it shows the car’s position in the lane and thus helps the driver to remain in the center.

Progressive: the interior and equipment

The interior of the future e-tron S models has been kept in dark colors. A large arc connects the displays of the virtual external mirrors with the hood above the Audi virtual cockpit. The instrument panel is driver-oriented, the middle tunnel’s console rests on open side walls. The leather/Alcantara covers of the electrically adjustable sport seats and the gear selector lever feature a rhombus S embossing. The door sills and steering wheel feature S badges. On request, Audi can offer a super sport seat in leather with a rhombus pattern in black, rotor gray or Aras red, as well as an air-conditioned customized contour seat with perforated leather.

From bottle to fabric: Seat upholstery made of PET

Sustainability is a central pillar in the Audi corporate strategy. This applies to technology as well as to the production processes. Seat upholstery made from secondary raw materials are being used for the first time in the fourth generation of the Audi A3. Up to 89% of the textile used consists of recycled PET bottles, which are transformed into yarn in an elaborate procedure. This results in fabrics that guarantee the same quality standards in terms of look and feel as conventional textile upholstery.

Turning the old into the new

The bottle disappears in the hole of the reverse vending machine, and the customer in Germany gets €0.25. But what happens then? While still in the shop, the disposable bottles are compressed for truck transport in order to save space. Once they have arrived at the recycling plant, they are sorted by color, size and quality. Foreign matter such as the caps are separated. A mill then crushes the bottles into flakes, which are washed, dried and melted down. Nozzles shape continuous plastic strands out of the mass. Once they have dried, a machine chops them into small pieces. This results in granulate, otherwise known as recyclate, and this undergoes extrusion to create threads. Wound onto coils, these are used in the final stage to manufacture materials. 

More than 100 PET bottles in a single A3

All in all, up to 45 PET bottles with a capacity of 1.5 liters are used per seating system. On top of this, an additional 62 PET bottles were recycled for the carpet in the new Audi A3. Other components in the interior are also increasingly made of secondary raw materials, e.g. insulating materials and absorbers, the side panel trims of the luggage compartment, the loading floor and the mats. The goal is clear: The percentage of recycled material in the Audi fleet is to rise considerably in the coming years. In the process, the premium brand will continue to offer its customers products with the high level of quality that they are used to.

At present, the seat upholstery is not yet made completely of recyclable material. “The lower layer of woven material, which is connected to the upper material with adhesive, is what poses the challenge. We are working on replacing this with recyclable polyester,” says Ute Grönheim, who is in charge of material development in the textiles division at Audi. “It is our goal to make the seat upholstery completely from unmixed material so that it can be recycled again. We are no longer very far away from this.” In the long term, all seat upholstery across all model series will be made of recycled material.

Three recycled covers on offer

There are three different material designs for the Audi A3; they have an up to 89% share of recycled material. One of these is the steel gray material “Torsion” for the design selection on which yellow contrasting stitching creates visual highlights. In addition, the material “Puls” is available. In the S line, it features the black and silver color combination and is accentuated by rock gray contrasting stitching. Later on, it follows in black and red with contrasting stitching. In the equipment line in question, these designs form the basic offering and can be combined with side bolsters made of artificial leather.

A video showing the production process of PET fabric will be available at Audi MediaTV soon.

Audi Demonstrating 3D Printing Expertise with In-House Design Software in Neckarsulm

With the newly designed software, there is no need for the time-consuming process of manually sculpting models in CAD (computer-aided design) programs, which makes workflows faster as a result. Using the new system cuts design time for tools by 80%. “Our software makes the process of creating pre-assembly fixtures almost completely automated. That allows us to make the necessary tools quickly and flexibly and to respond to specific requests from the planners or our colleagues on the assembly line,” explains project manager Waldemar Hirsch, who is the head of the team of experts in 3D printing at the Ramp-Up and Analysis Center at Audi Böllinger Höfe. The software is calibrated precisely to Audi’s needs and is also part of the process of digitalizing production at the site.

In the case of the Audi e-tron GT, which is set to roll off the assembly line at Böllinger Höfe together with the Audi R8 starting in late 2020, the 3D printing experts are working closely with their colleagues from the process and assembly planning and pre-series production teams. They are already optimizing the assembly tools for the new workflows. “Collaborative design from an early stage enables optimizations to be made earlier in the process as well. This means that all the necessary tools will already be available and calibrated to the exact requirements when production of the e-tron GT begins,” says Hirsch. One of the 3D-printed tools is to be used in the pre-assembly of air-conditioning compressors and cooling lines. All components need to be aligned with each other with exceptional precision during assembly. That has not previously been possible without a helping hand from a colleague. The custom-designed pre-assembly fixture with an integrated clamp holds all components in exactly the right position.

The materials used are designed to meet a wide range of requirements and satisfy the most exacting standards. In addition to the exceptionally stable tools containing glass fiber, the 3D printer also produces ESD (electrostatic discharge) materials. These are highly conductive and are therefore used for electrically sensitive components.

Alongside the positive effects on operational processes, the development and use of this software represent yet further major strides in the digital transformation of the company and demonstrate the active changes taking place across all kinds of production facilities as they move toward smart factory status. The browser-based software is currently installed locally and used primarily within Audi Sport GmbH at Böllinger Höfe, but there are plans to roll it out across the Group. The entire Volkswagen Group is already reaping the benefits of the expertise that the Neckarsulm site has to offer thanks to regular cross-brand communication. The design software is not the first development to come out of the 3D printing Competence Center. A software application for smart management of 3D printing orders, also made in Neckarsulm, is already in use at Audi.