We’ve recently learned that Audi would be increasing its efforts in developing electric and hybrid powertrains, directing much of its R&D budget toward electrification. However, we’re now learning that Audi will also be adding to new alternative powertrain vehicles by 2020, following the e-tron Quattro Concept (possibly dubbed Q6 e-tron). This would be a total of three EVs by 2020, putting Audi right in the mix with the best EV automakers in the business.
According to Audi CEO Ruper Stadler, in a recent interview with Heilbronner Stimme, a German newspaper, Audi wants to sell three EVs by 2020 and have 25 – 30 percent of all of its sales electrified cars by 2025. Part of this push would also be digital services and autonomous technology. In fact, one of the three cars Audi wants to deliver by 2020 would be fully autonomous.
“This is about a robot car that may not even need a steering wheel or pedals, so it’s ideal for urban traffic,” said Stadler, who went on to say that the four-ringed brand might actually need outside help for such a car. This autonomous city car would be considered an A-segment car, such as the Audi A1, VW Polo and Fiat 500.
However, creating such an autonomous A-segment car would be very expensive for Audi, so it would have to drop one or two less popular models. “We have discussed what would happen if we dropped the two-door version of the A3. I think we would barely lose any customers. We’d rather invest the money that is freed up in new models and other derivatives,”
Stadler also went on to say that a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle would be part of the brand’s future by 2025. It’s refreshing to here Stadler mention fuel cells because they offer a very interesting alternative fuel proposition but most automakers seem to have written it off. However, Stadler claims that it’s a “must” and that the only issue lies in infrastructure, not technology. We’ve already seen Audi’s h-tron and g-tron concepts, so we know that the technology exists in Ingolstadt. But without the proper infrastructure, Stadler doesn’t believe Audi could develop such a car until after 2020.
Audi is a bit late to the EV game, with companies like Tesla, BMW and even Mercedes-Benz beating it to the punch. However, Audi has caught up quickly and will soon be one of the industry leaders in the world of alternative fuel. If Stadler’s claims hold true, by 2020 Audi could be a genuine rival to Tesla and BMW.