According to interviews with several German newspapers, Audi plans to invest massively into electromobility. Within two to three years, users can expect “several” plug-in hybrids; by 2020 three purely electric cars will be available from the Ingolstadt, Germany, based carmaker. By 2025, Stadler expects a share of electric cars in Audi’s sales of 25 to 30 percent – quite a remarkable share, given the fact that today the Volkswagen subsidiary has not a single electric model in its catalogues.
The target market will be China in the first place. However, Stadler was convinced that the charging infrastructure in Europe and in particular in Germany will be greatly expanded so that drives do not need to have any range anxiety anymore. In lockstep with the expansion levels of the charging infrastructure the demand for electric vehicles will rise, he said.
For 2018, an electric SUV is already scheduled. It will be followed by an electric compact model and, at a later point in time, offerings for the midsize segment. The hydrogen fuel cell technology is not dead; Stadler announced such a model though he did not elaborate on the time.
Stadler also spoke on Audi’s plans for automated driving. The company differentiates between fully automated driving and something Audi calls “piloted driving”. The latter already allows the driver to take the hands off the wheel and the eyes off the road at speeds up to 60 kmph (37 mph). This feature will be available in the A8 flagship model scheduled for 2017. Gradually its capabilities will be enhanced to enable drives at higher speeds, Stadler said.