Audi CO2 program: recycled aluminum for Audi e-tron GT rims


AUDI AG is consistently pursuing its CO2 program in the supply chain and, as a result, is already reducing CO2 emissions from parts used in Audi models in the production phase. As part of a pilot project, the company is procuring 20-inch rims for the Audi e-tron GT which are made from low-CO2 aluminum supplied by Alcoa to RONAL GROUP, the manufacturer of the rim.

Alcoa is making aluminum for Audi’s pilot project using an innovative smelting process the company has developed itself that emits oxygen instead of carbon dioxide. The ELYSIS joint venture is currently continuing to develop this process. ELYSIS’s fusion technology, which is being developed on a commercial scale through research conducted in the United States and Canada, does not result in any direct CO2 emissions compared to the traditional manufacturing process of ELYSIS. aluminum. The joint venture uses a so-called inert anode which replaces the carbon anodes traditionally used during electrolysis, the process used to make primary aluminum. An inert anode is insoluble in the electrolyte under the conditions obtained during electrolysis.

For the manufacture of Audi rims, Alcoa supplies RONAL GROUP with a mixture of metal resulting from the ELYSIS process and low carbon impact aluminum specific to Alcoa. RONAL GROUP 20-inch aluminum alloy rims are offered as optional equipment for the model and produced using flow-forming technique to optimize weight. The special helix-shaped design of the rim improves aerodynamic properties while riding. The mounted blades, only two to three millimeters thick, largely cover the wheels and thus help ensure high aerodynamic efficiency.

As a Gran Turismo, the Audi e-tron GT was designed specifically for sportiness and efficiency, and it achieves a drag coefficient of 0.24. This excellent value contributes significantly to the electric autonomy which can reach 488 or 472 kilometers (WLTP cycle). The Audi e-tron GT is the first Audi electric car to be built in Böllinger Höfe at the Neckarsulm site in Germany. The site has been supplied with renewable energy since 2020. Since the start of serial production of the e-tron GT, a cogeneration plant running on biogas has supplied the energy necessary for production to Böllinger Höfe. Audi uses carbon credits from certified climate protection projects to offset CO2 emissions that currently cannot be avoided through renewable energy sources.

The RONAL GROUP produces the rims at its Landau site, using 100% eco-electricity. Audi, Alcoa and RONAL GROUP are members of the Responsible Aluminum Management Initiative (ASI). At the start of the year, AUDI AG was the first car manufacturer to receive the ASI certificate, which certifies that the company works with aluminum in a sustainable manner, taking into account commercial, ecological and social aspects.

In 2018, Audi launched the “CO2 Supply Chain Program” with the aim of reducing carbon dioxide emissions in its supply chain. This program helps reduce CO2 emissions in the manufacturing processes of each vehicle. “Aluminum is at the center of our CO2 program because the production of this material requires a significant energy input. The manufacture of aluminum causes significant CO2 emissions even before it reaches Audi factories. We are therefore actively looking for innovative processes that reduce CO2 emissions as early as possible in the manufacturing process. The process created by ELYSIS is promising because it takes effect from the raw material transformation phase ”, says Marco Philippi, responsible for the sourcing strategy. “These kinds of innovations allow us to increase our sustainability performance in the supply chain and ensure that our models reach customers with a lower carbon footprint.”

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