Brussels

New Works

Audi’s first ever fully electric series produced vehicle has been announced – and with it, a new era of mobility at Audi. But it isn’t just Audi’s vehicles that are getting ready for the demands of the future, it is its production facilities as well. First in line is Audi Brussels.

08/20/2018

Brussels to become Audi’s new series electromobility hub.

Brussels to become Audi’s new series electromobility hub.

Transition implies a certain amount of change. This certainly applies to the latest developments in mobility, which is undergoing nothing short of a revolutionary transformation. The game changer: alternative drive systems and the latest technology which is already enabling automated and autonomous driving – to a degree which is set to increase. This transformation is becoming steadily more tangible.

 

Audi’s latest series models and new concept vehicles are already out and about, announcing the future, but this transformation applies not only to Audi’s various vehicles. It also applies to other areas including production, such as at our Brussels plant. The process of change is already clearly evident at the Belgian capital, where Audi’s focus from now on will be on electromobility. What this means is that the factory in the borough of Forest, situated in the south-west of the city, will be responsible for manufacturing Audi’s first ever fully electric series model. That is the reason why, in recent years, conversion work has been initiated in the bodywork, paintshop and assembly areas. A new battery production facility has also been built on the plant premises.

Smart production line

Bei Audi entsteht die Mobilität der Zukunft, und das Werk in Brüssel spielt dabei eine tragende Rolle.

Jan Maris, Fertigungsleiter Audi Brussels

This means that the production of batteries and vehicle bodies can take place simultaneously on the two-kilometre long production line, an arrangement now referred to as ‘just in sequence’. The finished battery system is transported into ‘chassis preassembly’. After that, everything happens one step after another: the first large subassembly to be fitted to the workpiece holder is the front axle, which is already bolted to the front electric motor and its gearbox and power electronics. The next step is to lay the high-voltage cables and connections for coolant lines. Finally, the rear axle and remaining electric motors are fitted. Once the technical and drive units are complete, they are wedded electrically, a process which is fully automated at the Brussels factory, as are many other stages in production in the battery production and bodywork areas, most of which work is performed by machines at this location. As the final assembly process continues, this fully electric series model receives its charging equipment and connections. Controllers are supplied with data and trained. The vehicle passes through a comprehensive programme on a running-in test bed which simulates every major driving situation it will later encounter. Then it is sent out to the factory’s own track for street testing.

 

Sustainable energy generation

Sustainable energy generation

As well as transforming the factory and the way fully electrically driven series vehicles are built, another key change has been made in Brussels: sustainable energy generation that supplies the facilities with energy as greenly as possible. This is the reason why renewably generated hydroelectric power is used to cover energy needs. This power supply is backed up by another renewable source: the factory’s roofs are covered with the Brussels region’s biggest photovoltaic system, amounting to an area of 37,000m².

 

This system produces around 3,000 megawatt hours of electrical energy each year. The use of renewably produced electricity reduces annual CO₂ emissions by 14,230 tons. A sophisticated ventilation system in the paint shop also achieves a considerable reduction in energy consumption totalling 8,159 megawatt hours annually. Furthermore, a cogeneration unit is connected up to the power network. This modular unit produces two megawatts of electrical energy and uses the heat it creates to make hot water. But even after all that, the target has not yet been achieved in Brussels; there are further aims pending. Additional, innovative projects aimed at helping the environment will be rolled out in the next few years, reducing figures further still. Sustainable logistics processes are just one example.

One of the things that is completely new in the Audi e-tron is that the battery is fully integrated into the load-bearing structure of the vehicle’s floor.

Jan Maris, Production Manager at Audi Brussels

Audi now aspires to actively shape the future using new technologies and intelligent concepts.

Patrick Danau, General Director of Engineering and Logistics and Executive Board Spokesman at Audi Brussels

Transformation may not be complete yet, but the factory in the Forest district of Brussels is already prepared for tomorrow’s mobility. Transformation means change. It’s a flowing process, but one which takes time – especially when it comes to complex themes like mobility.

Facts & Figures

A location with a history
Before the factory was taken over by AUDI AG in 2007, it had belonged to VOLKSWAGEN AG since 1970 and was producing various models for the Volkswagen Group. After its takeover, the Brussels site, which now employs around 3,000 people, assumed an important role in the Audi Group. A new era began in 2010 when it began to produce the Audi A1 1 and then other models in the series. In 2018, Audi Brussels will begin to produce Audi’s first ever fully electrically driven series models exclusively for the global market. As part of this development, production of the Audi A1 1 will be moved gradually from Brussels to Martorell in Spain.
2010 Production launch, Audi A1
2011
Production launch, Audi A1 Sportback
2012
Production launch, Audi A1 quattro
2013 Commissioning of the 37.000 square metre photovoltaic system
2014 Production launch, Audi S1 and Audi S1 Sportback
2016 State visit by Germany's Federal President to Belgium: on 10 March 2016, Joachim Gauck and Belgium's King Philippe I learned about the future of mobility at the Audi plant in Brussels, and about the fully electric vehicle which Audi Brussels will be producing from 2018 onwards.
2017 Transformation dof the factory: in-house battery production begins
2018 Production launch of first ever fully electric Audi series produced vehicle
Audi in Belgium

Production Sites

Audi in Belgium

The Belgian plant is the key plant for electric mobility within the Audi Group. Since 2018 Audi produces the brand’s first all-electric SUV, the Audi e-tron CO2-neutral in Brussels.

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