Abstract: since July this year, aluminum manufacturer Yuefeng Aluminum Technology has been providing high-quality aluminum alloy shells for the batteries of the first pure electric model of the Sihuan brand. From the end of this year, Yuefeng Aluminum will provide Audi e-tron with ASI certified aluminum profiles.
Audi is fully transforming itself into an electric travel service provider. By 2025, the Sihuan brand plans to launch more than 30 electric models, accounting for 40% of the total sales. To this end, Audi has consistently pursued the road of sustainable mobile travel. Accordingly, Audi will further meet sustainable development standards in the areas of procurement and production. The skills and experience accumulated in the development and production of Audi e-tron will be widely used in many pure electric vehicle projects in the future. Audi will provide strong support for these actions through comprehensive training and multi-directional development concepts.
Audi is trying to become a comprehensive, carbon-neutral high-end travel provider, continuing to lead the development. To this end, Audi will continue to accelerate its electrical process, to promote the overall reduction of emissions within the group. By 2025, Audi's carbon footprint will be 30% lower than it was in 2015. In the future, the Sihuan brand will also include carbon dioxide emissions as a major financial control parameter, and sustainable management measures will increase the return on investment to more than 21%.
Continue to pay attention to electric travel, the fourth Ring Road brand has also carried out a series of targeted measures, so that all kinds of models to meet the actual needs of high-end customers. Audi has a considerable market share in the large car segment, followed by demand for car power performance and long-distance travel. To this end, in addition to pure electric vehicles, Audi will vigorously develop plug-in hybrid models.
Modern high-end customers are increasingly focused on sustainable mobile travel. For this reason, in Audi's new brand strategy, electric models have become one of the core cornerstones, which is also an important measure to "always take the customer as the core". In the future, Audi will spend 50 per cent of its marketing budget on electric travel. Audi aims to create a stronger emotional experience, full commitment and passion for customers through a new driving way. Audi's podcast video, "the Future belongs to Electric," has its second season, and the podcast recently won the "World Media Award" (World Media Award), in the car category as a successful example of a new brand strategy.
Audi has partners all over the world, and they are key communications ambassadors for new technologies. In order to fully welcome the launch of Audi e-tron, Audi dealers have been planning charging facilities for months. At the same time, Audi has provided training to more than 9500 international dealer employees around the world. The Sihuan brand will also ensure that customers get the best service through innovative virtual reality (VR) training technology: service technicians from more than 40 regional markets take advantage of specially developed VR training courses. To familiarize yourself with the details of Audi e-tron high voltage batteries.
In addition to the product itself, the brand experience is becoming increasingly important to high-end customers. The ecosystem of electric models is even more important. For this reason, Audi provides customers with Audi e-tron charging service. The service is available at 80 per cent of charging stations in Europe, covering more than 110000 public charging stations in 20 EU countries and 220 charging service providers. Whether it is AC charging or DC charging (11 kilowatts or 150 kilowatts), customers only need one card to get quality service. After the charge is finished, the charge is automatically charged through the user account. Audi's upcoming Plug&Charge (plug and play) service allows Audi e-tron to automatically authorize and start charging at the charging terminal through an encryption program.
With charging at home, Audi customers can also use Volkswagen Naturstrom, a green power generated by 100 per cent renewable energy, in their homes and garages. If necessary, the local Audi Services partner will arrange for the electrician to inspect the power supply in the customer's garage and install the charging connection equipment.
Intelligent charging system can be installed, after the selection of the system can be filled with Audi e-tron in just four hours. Intelligent charging devices can cooperate with the home energy management system to achieve intelligent power consumption: in the case of maximum power charging, the Audi e-tron intelligent charging system will take into account the needs of other household electrical devices to avoid overloading the home power supply. Customers can also customize priority charging, such as when electricity prices are cheap. If a solar system is installed in the home, the solar system will be mainly used to charge the electric car. The charging management system will even take into account the expected sunshine period.
From customer garages to partnering with Ionity to grid-wide coverage: in 2017, Volkswagen teamed up with Audi, Porsche, BMW, Daimler and Ford to build a European DC fast charging network, Ionity. By 2020, 400 high-power charging stations are expected to be built in 25 countries with distances of no more than 120 km. In addition to joining Ionity, Audi has partnered with energy groups and utilities to explore and test new models to provide reliable and comprehensive green energy solutions for pure electric vehicle customers. In Audi's electric travel ecosystem, it is also extremely important to support the local power grid and avoid overload. Together with energy providers and energy service providers, the Audi brand has worked together to study smart home networks and "smart grids" to promote the active participation of Audi e-tron models in the energy transformation. At present, the initial model testing has achieved gratifying results, including further consideration of customer costs.
With the formulation of company-wide sustainable development planning, Audi has also set the corresponding goal: to reduce the carbon emissions of the entire vehicle life cycle from supply chain, production to Audi model use and reuse.
In addition, Audi's goal is clear, to fully achieve carbon neutralization across the company by 2050. Supply chain plays a vital role in Audi's sustainable development planning, especially for electric vehicles. Audi is engaged in dialogue with partners with a view to jointly reducing carbon dioxide emissions across the value chain. At the end of 2018, Audi launched a carbon dioxide reduction programme at the procurement level and convened suppliers to hold more than 30 seminars on reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Initial results show that partners can reduce emissions, in particular through closed-loop material recycling, the use of green electricity, and the heavy use of secondary materials and recyclables. Audi's action will first focus on energy-efficient components in the production process, including high-voltage batteries and aluminum components. Audi has asked battery suppliers to use green electricity in the production process, and this requirement is clearly defined in the procurement rules.
As a high-end carmaker, Audi is also working on the sustainable treatment of aluminum alloy materials. In October 2018, Audi became the first automaker to receive a "performance Standard Certificate" (Performance Standard) issued by the Global Aluminium Management Initiative (Aluminium Stewardship Initiative, (ASI). ASI has developed comprehensive sustainability criteria. The performance Standard Certificate certifies that the manufacture and installation of aluminum components for Audi e-tron battery housing meet ASI sustainability requirements. Audi also plans to work with targeted partners who are also certified by ASI. Aluminum maker Yuefeng Aluminium Technology, for example, has been providing aluminum enclosures for batteries in Sihuan's first all-electric model since July. From the end of this year, Yuefeng Aluminum will provide Audi e-tron with ASI certified aluminum profiles.
In addition, Audi is following the principles of circular economy, recycling materials and reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the process of using aluminum. As early as 2017, Audi introduced the "aluminum closed loop" concept (Aluminum Closed Loop) at the Nekasum plant. Aluminum sheet waste from the stamping workshop is returned directly to the supplier for recycling. Audi will also use recycled aluminum plates in the production process. As a result, Audi cut carbon dioxide emissions by about 90000 tons in 2018 alone, 30 per cent more than last year. Starting from 2020, Audi will gradually promote the aluminum closed-loop concept in other factories.
To more efficiently ensure the sustainability of the supply chain, the Sihuan brand launched a sustainability rating in 2017 to assess suppliers' compliance with social and environmental standards. In addition to requiring self-disclosure, on-site inspection can also be carried out. Since July, sustainability ratings (S ratings) have also increased compliance checks. At the same time, sustainability rating has become a mandatory criterion for whether or not to sign a contract. This means that suppliers can only obtain purchase orders if they meet specific social, environmental and compliance standards. The rating will be promoted throughout the Volkswagen Group.
At the same time, Audi is also involved in a variety of environmental protection initiatives. Audi, for example, is a member of the Global Battery Alliance (Global Battery Alliance). The Alliance aims to protect human rights and social standards in the exploitation of raw materials for batteries and to explore solutions for the reuse of lithium batteries.
Audi believes that carbon neutralization production of electric vehicles is an integral part of sustainable mobile travel. The Brussels plant is leading the way in carbon neutralization: the Brussels plant has been carbon-neutral since Audi e-tron came into production. Major initiatives include the use of green electricity (which was already used by the plant in 2012) and the installation of large-scale solar photovoltaic systems in the region. The Audi plant in Brussels meets heating needs by using biogas. Overall, the plant can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 40000 tons a year through the use of renewable energy. Audi has developed a compensation plan to make up for the inevitable emissions. Audi is promoting the strategy across the board: by 2025, all Audi plants will be fully carbon neutral.
Audi and Volkswagen have begun to explore how to deal with waste high-voltage batteries. After many years of use, the battery will appear a certain degree of aging, resulting in a certain degree of reduction in power storage capacity, but such a battery can still be used for static use. Among the many possible application scenarios, Audi is currently conducting two pilot projects: waste batteries will be used in forklifts and tractors at the Ingolstadt plant, and batteries will be used as fixed energy storage units on campuses in the Berlin area.
Audi and Umicore, a Belgian recycling and materials technology agency, have developed a closed loop for high-voltage battery components. The first phase of the strategic research partnership has been completed to reuse battery materials that are still valuable, such as cobalt and nickel. And use it in new high-voltage batteries.
With the commissioning of Audi e-tron 's factory in Brussels, the Sihuan brand has entered the electric era in an all-round way. After deep modernization, the traditional production base in Brussels has taken on a new look and become one of the most advanced electric car production bases in Europe. The electric drive system is provided by Audi's engine plant in Jell, Hungary, and the Brussels plant has set up its own battery factory. At present, much of the experience of producing Audi e-tron at the Brussels plant has been incorporated into the new pure electric vehicle project.
In the future production of electric models, Audi will give full play to the high degree of flexibility and high value synergy within the group: for example, (Premium Platform Electric), a PPE high-end electric vehicle platform for large electric vehicles, has been developed in cooperation with Porsche. High-end models based on the PPE platform will be produced in existing factories. Vehicle production will be based on a standardized factory structure and models can be quickly converted to other factories.
For small models, Audi makes full use of MEB modular electric drive platform to achieve synergy: pure electric A-class SUV model-Audi Q4 e-tron concept car mass production version will be launched in Volkswagen Zwicao factory with Volkswagen, Seattle and other brands. The resource sharing of the mass production platform will enable the future volume models to achieve mass and efficient production. The important parts of the model based on MEB modular electric drive platform are produced by the parts factory of Volkswagen Group. The main layout is in Kassel factory (drive module), Salzgit factory (motor parts) and Brunswick factory (battery and suspension parts).
Preparations are also under way for a mass-production model for the Audi e-tron GT concept, which will be launched with the Audi R8 at the end of 2020 in Burlinghoff, near Nekasoum. Although it still takes a lot of manpower to build a traditional fuel-powered high-performance sports car, the electric GT, which is about to be put into production, is already highly automated in the assembly workshop. The two models will pass through the same assembly line and the conveyor belt overhead. The assembly line is currently expanding from 20 cycles to 36 cycles. Specific electrical components of the vehicle, such as battery systems, drive systems, or heat management systems, have been prepared through special preassembly and subsequently installed on the assembly line as finished modules.
Plug-in hybrid models will be produced in the same factory as fuel models according to their respective product lines: Audi A3 Sportback e-tron will be produced in Ingolstadt, Audi Q5 TFSI e will be produced in Ciapa, San Jose, Mexico. Audi Q7 TFSI e will be produced in Bratislava, Slovakia; Audi A7 TFSI e and Audi A8 TFSI e will be produced in Nekasum; Audi A6 TFSI e will also be put into production soon. Audi currently makes two electric models locally in China: the Audi A6L e-tron and the Audi Q2L e-tron. Audi e-tron will be localized by 2020.
Audi has also invested heavily in human resources in the field of electric travel. Audi will hire more experts and train in-house professionals to prepare Audi staff for future mobile travel. Specifically, the training budget will increase from 60 million euros per year to 80 million euros per year, an increase of more than 1/3.
Audi and (Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt) of Ingolstadt University of Applied Technology designed an electric vehicle training course for powertrain developers. Audi engineers can expand their knowledge in the field of electric vehicles and improve their strategic and technical capabilities in universities. Training specialists and education experts from Audi have worked with professors at Ingolstadt University of Applied Technology to tailor the on-the-job qualification system to Audi's requirements. The on-the-spot activities and the self-study phase take place alternately within three and a half months. Audi Powertrain developers learn about "motors and high-performance electronics" or "electric vehicles and energy storage concepts". The first powertrain development learners completed their training in early 2017.
Audi has also consistently implemented the concept of electric travel in the Young Talent Program. For example, Audi continues to optimize training to adapt to technological advances and to develop new job categories as necessary. In 2014, Audi launched a new type of work, "Systems and High pressure technicians." Since then, about 700 young employees have begun or completed three years of study in Ingolstadt and Nekasum. Upon completion of their studies, they are often assigned to work in different production areas, such as data analysis or applying their skills to technology development or prenatal workshops. In 2018, Audi launched a new qualification certificate, "Battery Technical qualified technician", whose goal is to ensure the production and quality of high-voltage batteries. Audi is conducting similar activities in other parts of the world, tailored to country-specific needs.
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