Ever since the famous diesel scandal that rocked the Volkswagen Group to its core, VW has been the butt-end of an enormous amount of criticism. However, Audi is here to save the day for VW, as the four-ringed brand plans becoming one of the biggest EV/Hybrid brands in the world. Audi wants to become such a big EV maker, in fact, that it wants to challenge Tesla, the world’s EV-favorite.
German car companies have generally been slow to embrace electric and hybrid tech. BMW has been the only one to really push the EV envelope, with its admittedly brilliant i3 and i8. However, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Porsche have all been a bit reluctant to heavily invest in electric powertrains. This is likely because, at least at the moment, there’s almost no profit in EVs. In fact, most automakers actually lose money on them. That’s because the R&D invested into EV technology is very expensive and building them is also expensive, so unless automakers want to charge astronomical amounts of money for them, they aren’t going to make a lot of money.
However, Audi is going to be investing a third of its R&D (research and development) budget on battery technology and electric powertrains. With this additional focus on electric cars, Audi plans on making EVs and hybrids a quarter of its sales by 2025. That would equate to around 450,000 cars globally if the brand were to continue its sales numbers from last year around 1.8 million cars. However, based on Audi’s projections, it can sell up to 500,000 electric cars per year by 2020. With those numbers, Audi would certainly be a rival for Tesla, being that the Silicon Valley-company only sold 50,000 cars last year.
Audi is already selling its A3 e-tron Sportback and Q7 e-tron and will soon be introducing the e-tron Quattro (possibly Audi Q6). It will also be introducing plug-in hybrid variants of most models in its lineup. So expect a big push toward electric, autonomous and digitalized mobility in the coming years from Ingolstadt. Currently, BMW is the leader in EV tech in Germany, but it looks like Audi will soon be on its tail.