- Electrifying Tradition: Audi EP4 Concept celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Neckarsulm site by electrifying the iconic NSU Prinz 4.
- Collaborative Excellence: Talented apprentices from various automotive disciplines joined forces to create the EP4, showcasing their craftsmanship and passion.
- Classic Reinvention: The EP4 breathes new life into a 1971 NSU Prinz 4, combining historic elements with modern electric drivetrain technology.
- Performance and Sustainability Unite: A powerful 240 hp electric motor, sourced from a 2020 Audi e-tron, replaces the original gasoline engine, delivering an emission-free driving experience.
- Striking Aesthetics: The EP4's exterior design retains the characteristic shoulder and roof lines of the NSU Prinz, complemented by Audi colors Suzuka Grey and Brilliant Black.
- Customized Enhancements: Extensive modifications to the chassis and bodywork, including 3D-printed muscular fenders and wide wheels, create an athletic appearance and improved performance.
- Attention to Detail: The EP4 features an eye-catching Signal Yellow rear wing attached to the roll cage, reminiscent of historic racing cars, providing a sporty touch.
- Minimalist Interior with Racing Inspiration: The interior design focuses on essentials, such as "Recaro Podium" bucket seats, and integrates a single-board computer and screen for instrument displays and diagnostics.
- Technological Advancements: The EP4 project utilized advanced techniques like 3D printing and carbon fiber, showcasing the apprentices' adaptability and future-oriented mindset.
- A Testament to Audi's Future: The EP4 exemplifies Audi's commitment to innovation, blending the rich heritage of NSU vehicles with the vision of a sustainable electric future.
To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Audi site in Neckarsulm, a group of twelve talented apprentices took on the ambitious task of electrifying an iconic classic car. On July 8, 2023, these aspiring automotive professionals proudly presented their creation, the "EP4," which pays homage to the NSU Prinz 4, a model that was manufactured in Neckarsulm from 1961 to 1973. The EP4 represents more than just a fast and stylish vehicle; it stands as a testament to the site's rich heritage and forward-thinking vision.
Restoring the "Prince" to Glory: The Perfect Starting Point
Dean Scheuffler, an apprentice automotive mechanic at Audi in Neckarsulm, expressed the team's motivation, stating, "We aimed to build a car that not only delivered speed and style but also honored the 150th anniversary of this site." They found their ideal canvas in a 1971 NSU Prinz 4, which had been dormant for decades until its revival in January 2023. The apprentices breathed new life into this vintage gem by equipping it with a state-of-the-art electric powertrain.
A Journey of Dedication and Collaboration
The road from the project's inception in January to the grand reveal at the Family Day event was filled with countless team meetings. The apprentices, trainers, and project managers shared insights, addressed challenges, and planned the next steps meticulously. The initial task involved rectifying the rust spots on the car's body, a task that fell to Mizgar Doman Hassan, an apprentice specializing in bodywork and vehicle construction mechanics. He reminisced, "Upon receiving the car, we noticed several areas with rust, which were the first things we attended to."
Electrifying the Drive: Embracing Performance and Sustainability
While the bodywork and paint specialists focused on reviving the classic car's structure, the aspiring automotive mechanics delved into the powertrain, battery, and suspension. The original two-cylinder gasoline engine with 30 hp (22 kW) was replaced with a robust 240 hp (176 kW) electric motor sourced from a 2020 Audi e-tron. Powering the EP4 is a battery from the plug-in hybrid Audi Q7 TFSI e quattro, ingeniously housed in the front hood—the former location of the NSU Prinz's fuel tank. The EP4's aesthetic allure combines functionality and heritage, as a wide air intake at the bottom of the bumper ensures efficient cooling, while a large opening in the front hood allows heat to dissipate. Reminiscent of historic racing cars built on the NSU Prinz 1000, the half-open tailgate not only enhances cooling but also offers a captivating view of the electric power plant, akin to the open carburetor funnels of yesteryears.
An Exterior that Merges Athleticism and Nostalgia
Maintaining the EP4's visual connection to its NSU Prinz roots was of utmost importance to the apprentices. The exterior design incorporates historic elements, including the front and rear lights, as well as the unmistakable shoulder and roof lines of the 1970s model. The apprentices dedicated themselves to eliminating rust and applying the iconic Audi colors Suzuka Grey and Brilliant Black to the body. The vehicle's sides bear the striking "150" anniversary lettering, proudly signifying its special commemorative status.
Performance-Oriented Modifications and Striking Details
Enhancing the EP4's performance necessitated extensive modifications to the chassis and bodywork. The apprentices utilized a modified floor pan sourced from an Audi A1, complete with brakes and axles, to provide a solid foundation. The significantly widened body, a remarkable feat accomplished with the guidance of Audi Design and the aid of 3D printing technology, sits atop this base. Its muscular fenders not only exude athleticism but also house wide wheels fitted with modern performance tires, ensuring exceptional grip during spirited acceleration and dynamic cornering. Cynthia Huster, an apprentice automotive painter, emphasized, "We wanted the EP4's performance to be visually striking from every angle." To achieve this, a Signal Yellow rear wing was added, which, uniquely, is not connected to the bodywork but to the roll cage, with its supports extending through the rear window.
A Racing-Inspired and Minimalist Interior
The interior of the EP4 captivates with its contrasting elements. The Signal Yellow roll cage serves as a bold focal point amidst the predominantly black interior, which pays homage to the simplicity found in racing cars. The occupants are treated to "Recaro Podium" bucket seats, ensuring a comfortable and supportive ride. The single-board computer and accompanying screen take center stage, serving as instruments, displays, speedometer, onboard computer, and diagnostic tools—all seamlessly integrated into the vehicle's design.
Unleashing Passion and Embracing Advanced Technology
Throughout the EP4's transformation, the apprentices applied the knowledge they acquired during their training, showcasing their skills and craftsmanship. Timo Engler, Head of Training Vehicle Technology/Logistics, acknowledged, "This project allowed our apprentices to explore different techniques and materials freely. In addition to the electric drivetrain, they utilized 3D printing, a technology that holds great promise for the future. Carbon fiber, commonly associated with motorsport, was also employed for the front hood." Furthermore, the trainees benefited from invaluable guidance and support from Audi's Technical Development team, offering them insights into Audi's processes and providing opportunities to engage with experts from various departments.
A Confluence of History and Future
NSU vehicles have left an indelible mark on automotive history, symbolizing the German "Wirtschaftswunder" and achieving notable victories in hill climb racing. The EP4 continues this legacy, combining the charm of the past with an electrifying vision for the future. Audi Board Member for Human Resources, Xavier Ros, expressed his admiration for this unique project, stating, "Our apprentices have accomplished an outstanding feat with remarkable dedication and creativity. They can take immense pride in the result." Ros emphasized, "Projects like the EP4 exemplify the strength of our company's future, thanks to the exceptional talent of our young workforce."