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Audi R8 Factory Gears Up For New e-Tron GT

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The new electric four-door sports car will start rolling out of the expanded factory late next year.

Audi Sport GmbH makes three kinds of vehicles: race cars, high-performance versions of Audi's standard models, and the R8 supercar. But soon it will start producing another. In fact, it's already getting ready, even before the vehicle's been unveiled.

Shown until now only in concept form, the forthcoming new e-Tron GT is slated to begin production late next year at the Böllinger Höfe factory in Neckarsulm, on the same assembly line as the R8. And to prepare, the German automaker is both testing the production process using unprecedented methods, and significantly expanding the facility at the same time.

Though the new electric sports car will be built along the same assembly line as the R8, that line is getting upgraded equipment and more than doubling the number of production cycles from 16 to 36.

The e-Tron GT is also getting its own 40,000-square-foot body shop on an overhead mezzanine, with the R8's body shop having already been moved off-site to Heilbronn. But more significantly, the factory's building two enormous new logistics halls, together adding over 100,000 square feet of space. And if that's not enough, it's preparing even more space at the factory.

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Audi is expanding the basement at Böllinger Hoffe. And though the added space will, for the time being, house the painted bodies for both vehicles, it "will also be used for production” in the future. Just for what, though, it's not saying just yet.

In the meantime, while the expansion is underway, Audi is testing the build processes using virtual-reality headsets and controllers. The automaker says this is the first time it's been done, developed the software entirely in-house, and intends to apply the technology to further sites in the future.