Audi began construction of a dedicated electric vehicle (EV) plant in Changchun, China, at the beginning of July, in partnership with state-owned automaker FAW Group, to increase its exposure to fast growing local EV demand.

A new joint venture has been established in the country, called Audi FAW NEV Company, with Audi holding a majority stake following a change in Chinese foreign ownership legislation.

Changchun city is home to FAW Group headquarters and is also the location of Audi’s existing vehicle joint ventures and main local component suppliers.

The plant will have a production capacity of 150,000 units per year when complete at the end of 2024. It will produce vehicles based on the PPE (Premium Platform Electric) platform the company developed in partnership with Porsche.

Markus Duesmann, the Audi board member responsible for China, said the first models to be produced at the plant include the A6 e-tron sedan and the Q6 e-tron SUV. He said Audi had a clear road map for the electric future, adding: “Audi FAW NEV Company is an important part of our strategy for China.”

Audi said it is investing around EUR2.6bn US($2.7bn) in the project, with construction of 20 new buildings scheduled to be competed on the site by the end of this year. They will house production facilities for most of the content of the vehicles, including a battery plant.

Audi China president Juergen Unser said the new joint venture will be an important part of the growth strategy in China which is currently its largest single market. He said: “In years to come we want to put an even stronger emphasis on China. The goal of our new strategy is to make Audi in China even more Chinese.” This includes major efforts to localise production and expand its local R&D operations, particularly in the area of electronics and connectivity.