• Winfried Kretschmann, Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg, observes production of the e-tron GT quattro
  • Intensive exchange with Audi CEO Markus Duesmann about the
    “Vorsprung 2030” strategy
  • Focal points: battery development in Neckarsulm, electrifying the location, and workforce transformation
A visit to Audi Neckarsulm: Minister-President Winfried Kretschmann meets Markus Duesmann
Winfried Kretschmann, Minister-President of the German state of Baden-Württemberg (r.), visits Audi’s Neckarsulm location and personally exchanges ideas about the transformation of the auto industry and the Neckarsulm location with Audi CEO Markus Duesmann for the first time.

Winfried Kretschmann, Minister-President of the German state of Baden-Württemberg, visits Audi’s Neckarsulm location and personally exchanges ideas about the transformation of the auto industry and the Neckarsulm location with Audi CEO Markus Duesmann for the first time. During a tour of the factory, Kretschmann witnessed production of the fully electric Audi e-tron GT quattro in the Böllinger Höfe. Afterwards, the Minister-President spoke with the Audi Chief Executive about the company’s strategy – and what general conditions need to be established in order to design the mobility of the future.

During a tour of sportscar production in Böllinger Höfe, Winfried Kretschmann (Alliance ‘90/The Greens) got a sense of how a fully electric premium vehicle is created with the Audi e-tron GT quattro at the Baden-Württemberg location.

The e-tron GT quattro is only one example of the Neckarsulm location’s transformation in the course of Audi’s electrification strategy. With the plug-in hybrids and mild hybrids of the A6, A7, and A8 models, the core series of the Audi site are already being electrified today. Additionally, Audi is currently setting up high voltage battery development in Neckarsulm. Starting in the middle of the decade, fully electric models will be coming to the plant one after the other. This will include the second generation of the Audi A6 e-tron.

“The core of our transformation is our employees”

“We are massively investing in the electric future of the Neckarsulm location and taking our employees down that road,” Markus Duesmann said. For example, Audi decided that Neckarsulm will become a center of competency for a key technology for electric mobility: once high-voltage batteries for plug-in hybrids (PHEV) have been developed in Neckarsulm, development of a complete high-voltage battery portfolio for fully electric vehicles will be located predominantly at that location and gradually expanded. Audi is preparing its staff for this transformation with comprehensive training measures, in which an individually tailored package of theory and practice is created for each employee.

Minister-President Kretschmann was visibly impressed by the production of the all-electric model and the plans to build a competence center for batteries in Neckarsulm, Germany. “The new Audi strategy is a clear commitment to electromobility as a future technology as well as to the production site in Baden-Württemberg. The strategy also represents a sustainable contribution to climate protection. It’s a move that we in the state government greatly welcome,” emphasized Kretschmann during his visit. Kretschmann added that he is also extremely pleased about the fact that this commitment at the Neckarsulm site goes hand in hand with considerable investment in infrastructure, the further education of employees, and new areas of business. It’s the growth of this key technology that will drive forward the transport revolution. “The state’s goal is to become climate neutral by 2040, and this can only be achieved if we greatly accelerate the pace of renewable energy development. Under the umbrella of the strategic dialogue Automobilwirtschaft BW, Baden-Württemberg is also leading the way in the expansion of charging infrastructure and the topic of further qualifying personnel in the automotive sector.”

The Neckarsulm location is doing pioneering work not only in battery development, but also in digitalization: among the VW Group’s locations, Neckarsulm is emerging as a guiding light in the field of digital production and logistics. Its use of RFID technology for vehicle localization, smart maintenance, or even artificial intelligence in quality assurance in the welding process are a few examples. Audi Neckarsulm is setting standards in sustainability as well: the Böllinger Höfe are Audi’s first manufacturing facilities in Germany to be net-zero carbon emitters in the production processes.

As a pioneer of electric mobility, Audi is sending a clear signal to policymakers

With a firm date for leaving combustion engines behind, Audi is setting a clear signal to policymakers and suppliers to take a spirited approach to the transformation now.

“With our decision to only launch all-electric models onto the global market starting in 2026, we are making progress,” Markus Duesmann emphasized. “I wish there was same certainty when it comes to accelerating the expansion of the charging network. Additionally, we need sufficient production capacity for battery cells. Only with technological certainty can we pool our strengths and manage the enormous investments into the transformation.” He added that it is also crucial for policy to pick up speed in expanding renewable energy and decisively promoting the defossilization of energy sources.

The cooperation between Audi and the government of Baden-Württemberg shows how collaboration between industry and policy can work: As a part of the strategic dialogue Automobilwirtschaft BW, Audi and the state government are already working with other stakeholders from business, science, and civil society to transform the auto industry.

Other voices on the Minister-President’s visit

“The Audi site in Neckarsulm has set the course for the future with its commitment to an electric model, battery development, and pioneering construction plans. Now we have to master the challenge of transformation together with the robust region and economical hub that is Baden-Württemberg,” says Fred Schulze, plant manager at Audi Neckarsulm.

“The visit by Minister-President Kretschmann is a strong signal for our team, because transformation can only succeed with collaboration. We are on the right path, but we need to actively work on fully exploiting the site and building on its future,” says Rainer Schirmer, chair of the Works Council at Audi Neckarsulm.