E-mobility in new spheres. How Audi excites people worldwide with a virtual star.

E-mobility in new spheres. How Audi excites people worldwide with a virtual star.

So far, the e-tron Sportback, the first purely electrically powered Audi, has only been available as a concept car. And yet it is already on the road worldwide: We have developed a VR experience that not only e-mobility fans can use to experience the fascination of this electric car. Our immersive media experts Fin Ambsdorf and Georg Hitzenberger tell us what they have already experienced with the virtual star.

Report: March 2018

Berlin | Formula E 2017

Georg: The entire thing began with the Formula E, which took place in June 2017 here in Berlin at the Tempelhofer Feld. The race was on the track directly beneath our headquarters. Upstairs in our VR lab and downstairs in the public area, we exhibited the Audi e-tron VR experience and got great feedback. The people were happy, and so was Audi.

With all your senses.
That's how it works.

Our Audi VR experience is multi-sensory. Find out here what exactly that means and what impact it has on the users:

To the project

Barcelona | Audi Summit

Fin: After the Formula E, the VR experience was installed at the Audi City in Berlin’s city centre, and we were invited to Barcelona to attend the Audi Summit. There we presented the VR experience to the PR managers of other countries: Russia, China, Australia, Spain …

Since then we have been on the road worldwide for Audi. We have already been to Canada, Lebanon, and Mexico. We always send the wind machines ahead and then fly behind with the rest of the equipment.

Blazing sunshine: Georg at the Formula E race in Mexico. © Foto: exozet.com | Georg Hitzenberger

Oberstdorf | Four Hills Tournament

Fin: Each location requires you to deal with its specific circumstances. In Oberstdorf, it was very cold, that was around New Year, during the Four Hills Tournament. We set up the VR experience right next to the stadium.

Freezing cold: Fin at the Four Hills Tournament in Oberstdorf. © Foto: exozet.com | Fin Ambsdorf

Georg: It snowed so heavily that the truck with the container got stuck. The organizers had to organize an excavator to pull the truck out of the ditch. The setup thus shifted into the night.

Fin: And yet it was worth it, as the feedback was extremely positive. There was an older gentleman who said – the German team had unfortunately lost in the ski jump competition – our VR experience was the highlight of the day for him. That it would have saved his day.

Georg: Many were sportsmen, and some had already enjoyed a drink or two. Of course, that made them much more active. Those people were jumping around, and we had to make sure that nothing happened to them. One woman even thought she was a bird.

Beirut | Shopping mall

Georg: In Beirut, we presented the VR experience in a shopping mall, and the salesman from the Chloé shop came over to us. He really wanted to give it ago, and he literally fell over.

Fin: Especially when jumping on the hoverboard, most people react in such a way that they get wobbly or even fall down. That’s why we have to stand behind them and catch them.

Setting up in Beirut: Wind machines simulate the airstream. © Foto: exozet.com | Georg Hitzenberger

Georg: Some people get really tense and tend to stand there with the controllers in their hand, not daring to look around. Others start surfing with the wind, turning and cheering.

Fin: Jason Lusty, Head of Marketing at Audi, encouraged us to try everything. Of course, we asked Audi if it was really alright that people may fall over. ‘No problem. Do it.’ That’s how we were able to include it. You have to come to terms with people inevitably falling over. Many brands would say: ‘This is too risky for us.’ But this is exactly what makes the experience something special. And the people who do fall over are usually the ones who had the most fun. They laugh afterwards and say: ‘That was great.’

Georg: But the jump wasn’t this good from the beginning. For me as an outsider – I’m not in the development team – there was no effect when I tried it for the first time. Fin and the others then changed more and more things like the speed, the moment of jumping off, the slow motion. I don’t know what it is, but suddenly it is captivating.

Fin: Yes, we work iteratively. We test everything until it works. We’ve done a lot of testing – with Georg, and with the whole office. That’s very important to us.

Berlin | Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) 2018

Stars and starlets: The virtual e-tron Sportback concept at Berlinale. © Foto: exozet.com | Fin Ambsdorf

Georg: What is important to Audi is that the e-tron brand is charged with excitement. They want to be able to present the brand without focusing too much on the car itself. In the Berlinale experience, you can see the vehicle, but it’s not the main priority.

Fin: The car is effectively created in the middle of a club. It starts off as a hologram, and then drives through a neon city into the night. And you’re always there – in front of, next to or behind the car. The experience itself is the most interesting part, the scenery and that people like to remember it and associate something positive with it. We want to create a desire for more.

Montreal | Auto Show

Real and virtual world: A strong team at the International Auto Show in Montreal. © Foto: exozet.com | Fin Ambsdorf
Georg Hitzenberger
Georg Hitzenberger
Senior Account Manager
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+49 160 908 675 90
E-mail Georg