Audi began using aluminum in 1994 with the first Audi A8 with the Audi Space Frame. Audi continues to use the lightweight metal in various components of what is now the fourth generation of the luxury sedan as part of an innovative multi-material mix. The production of aluminum is very energy-intensive, however. Audi therefore manages the material in a recycling loop.
This saves precious primary raw materials and helps that the cars enter the use phase with a better environmental balance. The press shops in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm use recycled aluminum for parts of the model lines Audi A3, A4, A5, A6, A7 and A8 models, and also for parts of the Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback. Other sites will follow in due course.
Audi introduced the “Aluminum Closed Loop” process at its Neckarsulm site back in 2017. The aluminum sheet offcuts that are produced in the press shop are sent straight back to the supplier. The supplier recycles these into aluminum sheets of equal quality, which Audi then uses in production.
Audi at Neckarsulm now employs this Aluminum Closed Loop with two suppliers, thus increasing the amount of aluminum managed in the closed loop. This achieved a savings of roughly 150,000 metric tons of CO2 in 2019, two-thirds more than the year before.
The Ingolstadt plant also recently introduced the Aluminum Closed Loop. Beetween the two plants, the Aluminum Closed Loop process since introduction has saved about 350,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions.
The plant in Győr plans to introduce it next year, with additional plants and model lines to follow in due course. Secondary aluminum is currently used in various body parts of the Audi A3, A4, A5, A6, A7 and A8, and also in parts of the Audi e-tron and e-tron Sportback.
The switch to electric mobility increases the proportion of CO2 emissions that the supply chain accounts for. Here and in the upstream production processes, Audi will generate in perspective almost a quarter of its CO2 emissions by 2025, based on the forecast fleet average. Audi is therefore working with its suppliers to address measures that will have an impact in this early phase of production.
In 2018, the company had already initiated a joint CO2 program with its suppliers to identify measures for further CO2 reductions in the supply chain. Opportunities lie primarily in closed material loops, the successive increase in the use of secondary materials, the use of processed or recycled materials in polymer components and the use of green electricity. These measures are expected to be fully effective by 2025 and harbor potential CO2 savings of 1.2 metric tons per vehicle on average.