The pace of change in the world of automobiles is accelerating. Lincoln and Audi had announcements this week that should gladden the heart of all EV proponents.
Lincoln Says 4 New Battery Electric Cars On The Way
Ford Motor Company is aggressively moving into the EV space with the Mustang Mach E and the upcoming F-150 Lightning pickup truck. It should come as no surprise then that Lincoln is also in line for an assortment of battery electric cars. The first is scheduled to appear next year — just in time for the company’s centennial — with three more coming by 2030.
According to the Detroit News, Lincoln expects a majority of its sales globally will be fully electric by 2026. “You typically see luxury clients more as tech adopters and certainly with the propulsion paired with that connectivity and that intelligence you get in the vehicle and those digital experiences, it makes sense we’re seeing that,” Lincoln president Joy Falotico said during a virtual news conference this week. “It’s going to be a transition period and we want to make sure we have what clients want.”
The electric cars from Lincoln will be built on a dedicated EV platform that permits either a single motor rear-wheel drive configuration or a dual motor all-wheel drive variant. The company has provided no specifics about its first all electric car, but if you guessed it will be an SUV, you are probably right on the money.
“When you’re working around traditional engines, transmissions, fuel systems, the space left for people can be compromised,” said John Jraiche, global director for luxury vehicles at Ford. “But the company’s new rear-wheel drive/all-wheel drive flexible bed architecture allows us to re-imagine the interior space and deliver the power of sanctuary in a new way for our clients.”
Lincoln is joining the 21st century in other ways as well. Lincoln Intelligence System, a cloud-based system for electrical, power distribution and computing systems, will allow for continued updates over the life of the vehicle. The company is also expanding its online sales platform and the number of bespoke showrooms across the country.
Those locations will showcase Lincoln vehicles, provide digital resources for customers to purchase a vehicle, and serve as a place where customers can drop off their vehicle for service. “This is what luxury clients expect,” Michael Sprague, director of North America operations, said. “Brand-exclusive facilities drive our growth. In the top 30 luxury markets, more than 75% of our volume comes from brand-exclusive locations.”
Audi To Halt Development Of Internal Combustion Engines
Perhaps no legacy automaker is as committed to selling exclusively electric cars at Volkswagen Group, the parent company of Audi. Speaking to German auto industry source Automobilwoche this week, Audi CEO Marcus Duesmann said, “We will no longer develop a new internal combustion engine, but will adapt our existing internal combustion engines to new emission guidelines. The EU plans for an even stricter Euro 7 emissions standard are a huge technical challenge and at the same time have little benefit for the environment,” he said. “That extremely restricts the combustion engine.”
Actually, Marcus, that’s sort of the point of the new standard. Quit whining. The changeover to all electric cars at Audi will take a while, perhaps as long as 15 years. While the company may not develop any new internal combustion engines, it has a whole slew of world class engines it can plug into future cars and sell them in markets where exhaust emissions are not as strict as those in Europe — places like the US, for example. Motor 1 reports the company is planning one last gasp ultra premium sedan featuring the iconic W12 engine that has seen duty in the discontinued Volkswagen Phaeton and in many Bugatti models.
Ultimately, it will not be the engines that cause some of the models that Audi currently manufacturers to disappear, it will be the chassis they are built on. At some point (and the sooner the better), investing in new products based on last century technology will no longer be profitable. The days of building cars that can accept a diesel, gas, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or battery electric powertrain are rapidly coming to a close.
Ford’s John Jraiche said it best when talking about the new electric cars coming from Lincoln. Electric cars permit more room for passengers and allow designers to rethink what the cars of the future should be. Companies that insist on honoring the paradigm of the ICE powered car will be out of business as customers shun their products.
Previously, Marcus Duesman has hinted that Audi will be an all electric brand by 2035. That is much too low a target. If Audi is that slow to change, it will disappear from the marketplace by then and deservedly so.
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