Unpacking Audi’s Plans For Electrification

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Audi has stated plans for an EV over and over to the point where many (myself included) just stopped paying attention. Much like the spam that shows up in my inbox for another viagra prescription, I mindlessly filed the news away without a second thought… and then Frankfurt happened.

Audi e-tron quattro Concept

In September, we announced that Audi had blown the top off all previous statements when the sheet was pulled back from the all-electric Audi e-tron quattro concept. This big blue beast was promised to be an example of what the production version should look like and is roughly the size of a Q7 with sharp new edges, and it somehow still manages an impressive 0.25 drag coefficient. Importantly, this new creation boasts an all-electric range of 500 kilometers (310.7 miles), which should placate even the most vocal of EV range critics.

Image Credit: Kyle Field

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The beast is powered by three electric motors: One drives the front axle and two more the rear axle, which should offer an immense amount of traction control to ensure as much of its 320 kW of combined power output gets to the road as possible. Audi stated that this car is its statement about “the future of electric mobility: It is sporty, efficient and suitable for everyday use.”

Audi at the 2015 LA Auto Show

Audi arrived at the 2015 LA Auto Show with its new baby front and center — alone on a stage that would have easily fit 3 or 4 vehicles — making a bold statement about where the brand is going. Audi president Scott Keogh laid out an aggressive roadmap for the electrification of the brand, starting this year with the A3 Sportback e-tron plug-in hybrid. In preparation for the planned 2018 launch of the Audi e-tron quattro, a team has been commissioned to deploy a network of 150-kilowatt fast-chargers to support the fleet of longer-range, larger-battery Audis.

Mysteriously, Audi took its e-tron quattro concept off display when it came time for the public to come through. I was very surprised by this move as it seemed so proud of it during the press days. Back in 2014, we shared that Audi was working on an R8 e-tron with 280 miles of range for a 2015 launch date, and with the year coming to a close, it seems like the target has breezed on by with no news or even concepts to speak of — though I was definitely on the lookout for it. Additionally, there was no news of the Q7 e-tron Diesel, which had been revealed in Geneva — though this may be due to the snafu Audi and parent company VW are in over the 2.0 and 3.0 liter diesels that were programmed to outsmart emission tests.

Image Credit: Kyle Field

Audi Declares Electrification Targets

Having so much in the works, Audi was not content just resting, but instead stepped up the game with a press release (via Business Wire) declaring a commitment to (at least) 25% of US sales being electric by 2025. This feels like a rather safe target considering the pace of EVs, but seeing as how many of the old-school auto manufacturers aren’t really doing much to encourage high-volume EV sales, it’s encouraging news. The caveat to the announcement is that it starts with news of Audi’s A3 e-tron, which likely means that e-trons (Audi-speak for plug-in hybrids) are included in that number. I’m not harping on them… really…but  I do wish Audi was making a stronger push toward all-electric vehicles — especially as we start looking 5 and 10 years into the future.

Audi President Scott Keogh added from the Los Angeles Auto show last week, “With the cars on this stage – the Audi A3 e-tron hybrid plug-in and the Audi e-tron quattro electric SUV – we are, in full force, joining the electric revolution. Now is the time to make electric driving more available to the mainstream.” This gives me hope and adds substance to Audi’s earlier claims that there would be a bold push for the brand onto Electric Avenue — though, about that R8 e-tron… hurry up!!!! 😀

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Kyle Field

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. As an activist investor, Kyle owns long term holdings in Tesla, Lightning eMotors, Arcimoto, and SolarEdge.

Kyle Field has 1659 posts and counting. See all posts by Kyle Field