Just in case someone was looking for another proof of Audi’s commitment to electric cars, we’re learning today that the German company has started building its own battery packs. It would be much easier to get them from some external supplier, but considering the substantial added value of a complete pack (compared to bare cells), good managers just want to keep that job inside the house. To do so, Audi has set up a new lab.
It’s about 38,000 square feet big, with 100 experts in electronics working inside. These people will test and develop battery packs, they will also do some small scale production work. Location is also a sign of how much importance Audi gives to this subject because this factory, in Gaimersheim, is within walking distance of Audi’s headquarters in Ingolstadt.
Panasonic, which already supplies Toyota and Tesla Motors, has been selected to provide the cells. Audi’s engineers will then assemble them, bringing their own know-how to design the management system, the charging system, and a cooling system. One thing Audi doesn’t say is the type of cells it has chosen. Large automotive cells, or small “computer cells” like Tesla uses. Most people acknowledge that those cells do not meet normal car manufacturers’ requirements, but maybe some clever software can fix the problem…
We shall find this out pretty quickly, because Audi is about to start manufacturing the battery packs of its upcoming R8 e-tron. I expect to see that car in production form this October, and it should be the best electric car of the world!