By on October 22, 2018

Image: Audi

Audi’s first electric sport utility vehicle, the much-touted E-Tron, will arrive at dealerships a month later than anticipated. According to the automaker, a software development issue has stymied the rollout.

While nothing has reportedly busted, Audi claims it needs to obtain the necessary regulatory clearances for some ones and zeros that were modified during the development process. Normally, we would assume the applicable agencies would have been informed of this in advance, but we don’t know what Audi changed. All the manufacturer admits to is that alterations were made to benefit the customer. 

German outlet Bild am Sonntag claims things were a little more complicated, however. In addition to speculating that the delay could actually stretch out for several months, the publication claimed Audi had issues with its battery supplier, LG Chem. The South-Korean supplier is rumored to have raised its battery prices by 10 percent due to swelling demand — threatening a supplier bottleneck for all of Volkswagen Group’s electric vehicles.

“We [typically] do not comment on topics such as price negotiations with suppliers,” an Audi spokesman told the outlet in German.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise for those keeping tabs on electric cars. While automakers have been bullish in their promotion of EVs, they know that demand will likely remain relatively low over the next few years. Still, that hasn’t stopped them from suffering from supply issues.

Practically every manufacturer selling a battery-electric vehicle has hit a snag. Last year, Hyundai encountered unanticipated demand for the Ioniq EV and was unable to cope while Tesla’s Model 3 struggled to hit production targets in 2018 — due to inadequate tooling at its own battery plant. Meanwhile, Buick said it was forced to delay the launch of the Velite EV in China in late summer due to an issue with its battery supplier.

Image: Audi

[Images: Audi]

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11 Comments on “Audi E-Tron Delayed As EVs Suffer from Global Supply Issues...”


  • avatar
    stingray65

    Perhaps they needed to take out the hidden software that turned on the diesel motor when the EPA isn’t around?

  • avatar
    fazalmajid

    I’ve never believed the FUD vaporware announcements of the German brands. They are so far behind (not just Tesla but also Renault/Nissan, GM and even Jaguar) they don’t even know what they don’t know. Like the fact Tesla consumed half the world’s supply of 18650 cells even before the model 3, and if you haven’t made supply chain arrangements like the gigafactory, you’re not even an also-ran.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      ^^ This right here.

      Tesla was absolutely right to secure its own production and materials supply for its EVs.

      Some detractors seem to think the ‘established’ automakers can simply conjure multiple GWh of batteries into existence by ordering them from LG, Samsung, or Alibaba for that matter.

      Gigafactories take years and billions of dollars to build. Even if your EV is competitive on the road or competitive in price, you can’t build enough of them to satisfy demand.

      Other detractors say that the ‘established’ mfrs simply don’t *want* to compete in the EV market. Granted, they don’t want to lose money, but Tesla is showing that you have to be all in to even hope for a profit. But it’s laughable when juggernauts like Audi and Hyundai can’t even muster the battery supply to produce a few thousand EVs.

      And this goes for Toyota, too. Not only won’t they commit to an EV program, they don’t have the wherewithal to do so for a long time to come.

    • 0 avatar
      WheelMcCoy

      Agree with both @fazalmajid and @SCE.

      It appears the established automakers are having a “Nobody knew building EVs could be so complicated” moment.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      The Model 3 has 21700 or 20177 Panasonic cells depending on who you believe. Anyway, fatter and longer cells than the 18650. Tesla doesn’t design the cells, Panasonic does. What Tesla does is try to make a battery pack from the cells, and they had just a wee bit of trouble with that this past spring.

      Most other EV companies aren’t interested in cylindrical cells for form factor and fabrication reasons, so you aren’t going to find them in most other makers’ efforts at battery packs. Flatpacks like in the Bolt are most likely for most other manufacturers.

      Still, it’s encouraging to see that the brainwashed sprawled in prayer at the feet of Tesla Inc and St Elon Musk are still convinced that there’s magic in them thar Teslas, something so deep and mystical that the mere mind of man cannot comprehend the genius.

      Panasonic announced in April last year it was looking to diversify away from being a Tesla stooge and produce cells for other makers. And CATL is likely to be much bigger than gigafactory in short order,

      https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/China-s-battery-king-poised-to-overtake-Panasonic-Tesla-alliance

      So, the way I see it, it’s time for the Tesla worshippers to pierce the bubble and read something a bit more in depth than the echo chamber Tesla tribalists maintain for themselves to block out any other news. You know, while making grand statements like: “They are so far behind (not just Tesla but also Renault/Nissan, GM and even Jaguar) they don’t even know what they don’t know.” Utter rubbish and you know it.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        The magic in them thar Teslas is that you can fill out webform and buy one.

        Plus, they really are beautiful cars. And fast. And efficient. And quiet.

        Yes, the Chevy Bolt and Nissan Leaf are available, too. They’re not quite as beautiful as the Teslas, though.

        Oh, and I heard Audi is going to make an EV one day, too. Good for them. Everyone gets a trophy.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        @conundrum:

        Flat pack cells make sense for packaging, but they are harder to cool and more expensive to build than round cells. The Tesla 2170 cell is a co-design between Tesla and Panasonic; Tesla isn’t just buying it from a catalog.

        While you mock the genius of Tesla’s approach to battery design and production, you can’t show the genius of their competitors who have used alternative approaches, and whom together now occupy 25% of the US EV market.

        Here’s another reason other mfrs don’t use round cells – they can’t actually buy them because Tesla has dominated the 18650 market for years.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    At least Sergio had the gnocchi to just say “please don’t buy a 500e, we lose money on those.”

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Agreed, but he also insulted his Chrysler 200 engineers’ design work and produced the Dart out of obligation to the FCA bailout deal.

      FCA may find itself as a one-trick SUV mfr in the US, without any competitive drivetrain technology to meet CAFE or CARB requirements. They will eventually have to figure out a way to make an EV they can stand behind.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        Chrysler, stand behind a product? You’re funny.

        They’ve been especially awful to green buyers. Build the Aspen Hybrid, only to immediately discontinue it. Build the 500e, and deliver it with never-fixed defective software (hint to new owners: always wait for an audible clunk from the battery contactors before plugging in). Build the magnificent Pacifica plug-in Hybrid, roll out a mandatory software update that can cause the car to catch fire, then stop short of ordering a recall to fix your potentially deadly defective update.

        Not cool, FCA.


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