Audi Planning Massive Electric Vehicle Gamble: Report

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
audi planning massive electric vehicle gamble report

Audi is apparently about to embrace electric vehicles with all the intensity of a daughter greeting her father on the tarmac after the war.

According to Reuters, company sources say the automaker plans to make EVs account for 25 percent of sales by 2025 — a move that would erase the environmental stigma of its parent company and challenge Tesla in the fledgling luxury EV field.

The same sources say Audi CEO Rupert Stadler will unveil the plan to 2,000 managers behind closed doors tomorrow. Details of the Munich meeting were published in the German newspaper Handelsblatt.

To reach that lofty target, sources say Audi plans to divert one-third of its research and development funds towards electric vehicle development, digital services and autonomous driving technology. From a sales perspective, it means finding buyers for 450,000 electric vehicles every year (going by last year’s sales tally).

Going this route would be a risky venture for Audi. Electric vehicles are still a new entry in the automotive landscape, with sales hampered by higher costs, limited vehicle range and recharging infrastructure. It’s hard for any automaker to guess the potential demand.

To free up more money for EV development, Audi will cut back on its gasoline and diesel expenses, the sources claim. That would mean fewer engine and transmission offerings, but Audi already seems to be going in this direction. Earlier this month, a report said the automaker will stop developing new V8 engines. (If it wants to, it can source those powerplants from Porsche.)

If true, Audi’s electric push would free up Volkswagen to focus on hydrocarbon-powered volume vehicles while still allowing its parent company to repent for its emissions scandal sins.

[Image: © 2016 Alex Dykes/The Truth About Cars]

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  • Nick_515 Nick_515 on Jul 19, 2016

    This is interesting. I of course have no way of knowing whether this is Audi vaporware, as has been mentioned above, or actual future. Sportyaccordy mentioned why it makes sense for Audi - there is a limit to ICE and turbocharging, and they have got to 'innovate.' But it makes sense for me as a buyer. I happened upon a v6 A4 and am enjoying its ownership. It has not been cheap to maintain, but it has not been expensive. For someone like me, this has been one great relationship. But I am not rich, and while I am ready to equate 2.0T with sporty, I am not ready to equate it with luxury. I cannot afford v6 Audis in the current landscape. And I would not maintain a used german car if it has a four cylinder engine. In that sense, a used Audi EV would restore that "i'll pay to maintain if I drive a different enough, proto-luxury car" balance I have now. Weird metaphor by the way, the opening line. And I disagree with the writer that this would be "a risky venture" for Audi. Expensive maybe, to resolve charging infrastructure.

    • Tedward Tedward on Jul 20, 2016

      That's an excellent description of the state of luxury cars right now. The less expensive, more stressed, engines can be seen as the question mark purchase. Meanwhile, the higher trim 6's and 8's are probably/certainly more expexpensive to maintain, but because they seem to have moved up the price ladder it's almost a moot point. If you can take over a grand a month just on payments are you really going to care about maintenance costs? Are those buyers really going to own their cars outside of warranty? Double nope.

  • Tandoor Tandoor on Jul 19, 2016

    Everyone is going to have so many EVs in "the future". I'm almost tired of hearing it. Even Nissan is all talk at this point. When the lease runs out on the Leaf, I'm thinking my choices will be Leaf or Miev (lol).

    • See 3 previous
    • Redav Redav on Jul 20, 2016

      @HotPotato Ford is also hinting at jumping into the 200 mi EV segment. I see a lot of industry interest, but timing is a big question mark. Will they jump into the market by 2019? Doubtful, but will they be here before 2025? I really think so.

  • Mike1041 At $300K per copy they may secure as much as 2 or 3 deposits of $1,000
  • Sgeffe Why on Earth can’t you just get the torque specs and do it yourself if you’re so-inclined?!
  • Sgeffe As was stated in another comment, the FAA nominee went down in flames. But the NTSB chairwoman certainly didn’t, and she’s certainly not qualified either!Lots of this kind of stuff going on both sides of the aisle—Ben Carson would have arguably made a better Surgeon General than HUD Secretary under Trump, for example.
  • Art Vandelay Interesting, the Polestar 2 I had as a rental utilized Android Automotive which is what GM said it is going to exclusively, yet it still offers Apple CarPlay according to this. Wonder if GM will do the same.
  • Stuart de Baker EVs just aren't ready for prime time for those with a single car and who take road trips. Being able to charge as soon as you arrive at a charging station, and even the chargers working on your car is a crapshoot. In the former case, you could have to wait for nearly an hour while someone else is charging.I also don't find EVs particularly fun to drive (I've driven a Tesla Model S and an Ionic 5.) I LOVE driving my '08 Civic (stick). I love the handling, the feel and responsiveness of the engine, the precise steering (the Michelin Pilot Ultra Sport tires help, but even with the snows on, the car is a joy). I have 152k on the clock, and hopefully another 25 years or so of driving (I was born early in the Eisenhower Administration and I have exceptionally healthy habits), and I'm going to try to keep the Civic for the duration.My Civic causes a less global warming emissions than some of these humongous battery operated trucks.