Audi commissioned a new development and testing center for electric drive systems at its Ingolstadt site this week. Some 840 employees will now work here to further advance electric drive systems, batteries and power electronics.
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 (US$90 million) in the new building over the past two years. The 14,000-square-meter (150,690-square-feet) building houses numerous advanced 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 (13,780 feet) in altitude and temperatures of -40 °C to +60 °C (-40 °F to +140 °F).