Audi has embarked on accelerating the electrification effort. According to a production plan for the future announced on December 20, every Audi plant will make EVs by 2029. The automaker will mostly invest in existing production bases to reach the goal.
The luxury vehicle manufacturer said it aims to launch all-electric models only starting from 2026. It will gradually phase out the production of internal combustion engine models by 2033, depending on local conditions.
According to Audi's plan, production sites worldwide will produce at least one all-electric vehicle in 2029. Its plants in Brussels and Bollinger Hofe, Germany, already make EVs.
The automaker said the production site in Ingolstadt, Germany, will roll off the line Audi Q6 e-tron next year. The sites in Neckarsulm, Germany; San José Chiapa, Mexico; and Gyor, Hungary, will also begin EV production gradually in the coming years.
Audi said it is transforming its current global production bases to achieve the vision, different from many competitors' strategies. It will build new plants only when additional capacity is needed.
For instance, Audi has been building a site in Changchun, China, with a local partner FAW Group. According to news reports, the construction includes a facility for assembling high-voltage lithium-ion batteries. The target production capacity is over 150,000 per year.
Audi said the plant will be the company's first EV factory in China when it is finished by the end of 2024. The models will be produced on the PPE (Premium Platform Electric) technology platform.
Gerd Walker, Audi board member for production and logistics, said in a press release that the automaker will invest EUR500 million (US$530 million) by 2025 in training employees, helping them fit for the future.
Audi also plans to halve annual factory costs by 2033 to make sure future production will be economical. It said it will reduce the complexity of its cars and consider a streamlined production process when developing vehicles. Digitalization is another approach. It will use the cycle-independent modular assembly solution to simplify work with product variability.
The automaker said it will make the manufacturing process more flexible in responding to changes in customer demand or production programs. For example, the Q6 e-tron will be produced on the same production line as the ICE models at the beginning. EVs will gradually replace combustion cars at the plant.