EVs are the future, but there's more.
Only a decade ago no-one would have believed that automakers like General Motors, Honda, Volvo, and Jaguar would commit to phasing out internal combustion in favor of pure electric vehicles. Other major carmakers like Volkswagen Group, Ford, and Toyota will eventually follow suit. It's happening and there's no turning back. And yes, Tesla deserves fair credit for spearheading the battery-electric revolution. Now that it's the world's most valuable automaker, rivals have to take it seriously. Audi is one of them.
Speaking to Top Gear, VW's luxury and technology-driven brand's global chief of sales and marketing, Hildegard Wortmann, acknowledged the auto industry is at a "tipping point" and that Audi is ready for what's to come. "The future is electric," she said. "By the end of 2025 we will have 20 EVs, plus more plug-in hybrids."
One will include the production-spec version of the just-revealed and mighty stunning Audi A6 e-tron concept and the top-secret Project Artemis, due in 2024. What about an all-electric third-generation R8? "The R8 is an icon of our brand. But icons of the past aren't necessarily icons of the future. A successor to the R8 won't just be an R8 with an electric motor. It needs to be an R8 but different." It's the same deal regarding the TT, but it'll be a coupe only.
But there's one critical thing Audi has learned from Tesla over the past few years: "You need to win through the company." What she means by this is that Tesla very successfully managed to turn sustainability into the new premium.
This is especially the case for younger buyers, specifically millennials, many of whom can easily afford to buy an Audi or a Tesla. Audi's commitment to technological progress now goes beyond horsepower and performance. It must be sustainable, and this is already underway. Audi already has carbon neutral factories and suppliers. Its VW Group parent company aims to build six new battery plants as well. Wortmann says she expects Audi's EV customer base to increase very soon not only because of new models but also thanks to falling battery costs.
"By two years from now, our battery cars will be more profitable than combustion cars." Expect this to be the case for luxury and non-luxury brands, too.