Audi Puts $90 Million Into Electric Cars

Even as BMW sinks around $560 million into large scale production of electric cars, rival Audi announced today it recently completed a smaller scale project – to the tune of slightly under $90 million (€ 65 million) – fleshing out a new development and testing center for electric drive systems at its Ingolstadt site.

Audi said of this project, which will employ around 840 people, that this new 14,000-square-meter (150,690-square-feet) building houses numerous state-of-the-art test rigs, which can be used to test electric drive concepts. The seven story structure will allow engineers to “test the individual components, then simulate the interaction of drive system, battery and power electronics, and finally assemble the entire drivetrain for testing.”

image via Audi

In the next testing phase, Audi continued, “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 (13,779.53 feet) in altitude and temperatures of -40°C to +60°C (-40°F to +140°F).”

Audi is currently working on a number of vehicles which will have electric drive systems. These include the Q5 Hybrid, which will be introduced to the market as early as next year, as well as “a small volume” of R8 e-tron electric sports cars ready to hit the road by the end of 2012.

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