The electrically powered Audi e-tron GT will arrive in early 2021, with production already underway at the Böllinger Höfe factory, where the new Grand Tourer car will be produced in the same facilities as the naturally aspirated V10-powered R8.
A few months before its marketing, The Car Guide attended a presentation about this highly anticipated electric vehicle.
Audi reveals certain details regarding the assembly of this car which will become a flagship of the brand, as well as the sound that the electric e-tron GT will emit. On the few photos provided by the manufacturer, we can see that the latter still has a camouflage-type paint, while the first pre-production copies allow the final development phase to be completed before the start of serial production planned for the end of 2020.
A sound, but which one?
First question, what will be the sound emitted by the e-tron GT? Although it is a purely electric car, it must comply with European and North American standards regarding the sound it must emit to warn pedestrians of its approach in urban areas.
Also, the sound perceived in the passenger compartment must evoke performance and, above all, be in phase with the action commanded by the driver, whether during acceleration, acceleration, deceleration or braking. The rhythm of internal combustion engines has long become a natural sensation for driver and passengers, but what about an electric car? How to evoke the performance in an almost virtual way by means of an artificially created sound? This is the task entrusted to engineers Rudolf Halbmeir and Stephan Gsell at Audi.
To achieve this, these two men created a whole new software to modulate and synthesize sounds on a console similar to that used in a recording studio connected to a pedal simulating an accelerator.
To create a completely original sound that would perfectly meet the established criteria, they made several tests during sound recordings to finally retain the sound of a remote control toy helicopter, paired with the sound of the wind blown by a fan through it. a metal pipe …
After several modifications made through the console and during testing aboard prototypes, they arrived at the evocative sound that you can hear in this video.
Personally, I think it’s very successful, and that this sound will not become boring in the long run, but I’ll leave it to you to form your own opinion. The different phases of this sound are emitted by two external loudspeakers, one at the front and the other at the rear, for the benefit of pedestrians in urban areas, and by two loudspeakers in the passenger compartment for the driver. and passengers.
A two-phase series production
Although assembled at the same factory as the naturally aspirated V10-powered R8, serial production of the e-tron GT required new manufacturing processes, which were first designed in reality. virtual before being physically put in place, which represents a first for the German brand.
In addition, the assembly of the structure of the e-tron GT takes place in two phases, during which the car therefore passes twice through a two-sided assembly station where ten computer-controlled robots stand together. serve as thirty-two different tools to build the hybrid structure of the car, which is made of high-strength steel and aluminum.
In video: the factory of the Audi e-tron GT (in English)
Once this first assembly is completed, specialized workers install the doors and certain other bodywork components. Alex Breuer, production manager for the e-tron GT, told us that several of these workers were trained as carpenters, and that they had a very practiced eye for fitting body parts. .
Breuer explained that the tolerance for the marginal deviations of the e-tron GT’s body panel assembly is only 0.2 millimeters, which is four times the thickness of a human hair, which is a new benchmark for the German brand. During his presentation, Breuer also specified that Audi offers, as an option, a roof made of composite material comprising carbon fiber, which makes it possible to lighten the e-tron GT while improving the soundproofing of the vehicle. passenger compartment. Notice to interested parties …
40 test kilometers and an eight-minute hurricane
Once construction is complete, each e-tron GT is driven by a test driver over a 40-kilometer route, made up of highways and urban areas, before undergoing a water-tightness test under high water jets. pressure for eight minutes on its return to the factory. Afterwards, each car is carefully inspected by specialists as it passes through two light tunnels for a close examination of the body and interior surfaces.
The e-tron GT will officially hit the market in early 2021 and the automaker anticipates high demand for it based on reservations already received for the brand’s first electrically powered Grand Touring car. The Car guide will closely follow the development of the Audi e-tron GT, which we will have the opportunity to talk to you about again very soon. Keep in touch!