Audi Hungaria recently began producing electric motors in Gyor using modular assembly with about 100 employees in an 8,500 square meter workspace. The first electric motors from Audi Hungaria will be used in the Audi e-tron. Peter Sarvari, Project leader of E-engine production AUDI HUNGARIA Zrt, answered some questions about the production for CleanTechnica.
The current production capacity is for approximately 400 electric axle motors each day and can be gradually increased. What will it be increased to?
After the launch of series production it will be around 400 pieces a day. Production is flexible and able to meet increased customer demand as needed in the future. As for the future an exact prognosis is not possible now, but it is safe to say that several thousand e-engines will be produced in Győr in 2018.
Are all the electric motors for the Audi e-tron?
Yes. All the e-engines made here are built into the first fully electric vehicle of Audi, the Audi e-tron in Brussels.
Will gas-powered engines still be produced there at the same time the electric ones are?
Definitely. As one of the largest engine manufacturer[s] in the world, Audi Hungaria has a huge portfolio of engines and 9,000 units are produced daily. We are constantly developing internal combustion engines and have just started the series production of a new four-cylinder diesel engine. Besides traditional internal combustion engines, we also make CNG and electric engines.
Audi Hungaria produced 1,965,165 engines last year, is it possible one day they will all be electric?
We are pretty sure that our internal combustion engines with techniques aimed at decreasing carbon dioxide emission are here to stay for the next decades and will be still playing a major role in the automobile industry. At the same time we are prepared for the propagation of e-mobility with the start of e-engines production at our company. We are ready for the future.
Electric motors have fewer parts than gas-powered ones, so are they easier and faster to produce?
Indeed, e-motors contain less components than an internal combustion engine. In the Audi e-tron, there are two electric engines due to the quattro drive system. A core component of the electric motor is the stator. This part generates the rotating magnetic field that first sets the rotor in motion. For the stator production, Audi Hungaria has massively built up its own skills. From copper wires and winding machines to lacing and bath impregnation, we’ve had to learn it all from scratch. Our Design Team for electric motors in Győr provides precise support in environmental testing, acoustic optimization and the designing of sub-components, for example. Audi is committed to mastering all stages of electric motor production and to optimizing these processes for meeting the particular expectations of its customers.
How long does it take to establish an electric motor production line?
To prepare series production, the technological center for production of the e-engine has been established in 2014. The aim was to trial some stages and processes of series production and to build up the necessary know-how for the colleagues. This technological center was the cradle of series production. Electric motor design, production planning, and the engine pre-series center in Győr have been working hand in hand since day one. This ensures progress – and a technically optimal manufacture of the electric axle. An already existing, 8,500 square meter hall was transformed for series production. Not only the product, the production process is also new. The electric axle assembly no longer occurs on a conveyor-type assembly line. In its place comes the new model of production stages in the factory of the future: modular production. In times of mass customization it’s a first step on the road to fulfill the needs of our customers in the long run. Production systems and robots as well as bolting and measuring stations are located at their fixed positions, but are not coupled to one another by conveyors. Instead, the employees produce the drives in a whole new way in so-called independent modules. For the transport between these modules we’re using automated guided vehicles. Despite a predefined order of assembly, this modular arrangement allows more branching of the paths between the different stages and affords more leeway. Individual stations can therefore be accessed multiple times, while others are circumvented if their work procedures for the particular product are not needed.
How long does it take to train gas engine assembly workers to make electric motors?
We continuously train our colleagues in order to prepare them for series production. We’re aiming at this with our fully integrated training concept. All of our workers had undergone on- and off-the-job trainings at our technology center, task-based high voltage specialization, and a great deal of IT-know-how to be able to operate algorithms and other previously unimagined features.
Does research and development for electric motors also take place by Audi Hungaria, or somewhere else?
Within the group, the central R&D department operates in Ingolstadt. At Audi Hungaria, more than 400 engineers work on future-related projects. The technical development in Győr has been a major contributor to the construction of the e-motor, primarily in the construction of cast components. The technical development of Audi Hungaria supports prototype production, series production and performs life-cycle tests on test stands in a climate cabin.
How are the electric motors from Audi Hungaria transported to Brussels to be placed in e-trons?
E-motors produced at Audi Hungaria and meant for the Audi e-tron are delivered to Brussels by train.
Image Credits: Audi Hungaria