Audi Boss Defies German Government Over Combustion Stance

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The brand's CEO thinks the government's stance on the combustion engine is wrong.

In recent times, it's looked like nothing could derail the powers that be from electrifying an industry that has relied on combustion power for over a century. We already know about Biden's goal for half of all car sales to be made up of EVs by 2030, and the European Union has a contentious plan to ban the sales of all gas-powered cars as soon as 2035. So it was with some surprise - and relief, for many enthusiasts - that German officials announced their rejection of the 2035 ban this week. One might've thought that Germany's leading automakers wouldn't mind some more time to fully electrify their lineups, but Audi's CEO seems to think otherwise.

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Speaking to WirtschaftsWoche, a German magazine, Markus Duesmann is clearly not on the same page as German Finance Minister Christian Lindner. Instead, Duesmann seems to think the 2035 combustion ban is a good thing and that Audi is on track to electrify its fleet by this date.

"Our plan for phasing our combustion engine technology is in place," said Duesmann. "From 2026, Audi will only launch all-electric vehicles on the market." Of course, Audi will continue to sell a few gas-powered and hybrid models after 2026. But Duesmann stressed that "an accelerated energy transition, a much faster expansion of the charging infrastructure and a sufficient supply of battery cells was necessary." He emphasized that the transition to electromobility was "important."

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Duesmann's stance isn't a shocker considering Audi's sales figures. The automaker sold over 66 percent more all-electric models in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the same period last year. 2021 as a whole saw similar growth for its EVs, buoyed by models like the e-tron and Q4 e-tron. The e-tron GT, meanwhile, is a lower-volume product but one which has shown that Audi can build aspirational, desirable EVs too.

While Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz are forging ahead with new EVs, Toyota is taking a more cautious approach to electrifying its range. What's clear is that the industry as a whole is unlikely to agree on a specific date for the outright ban of ICE cars. There are simply too many variables from one automaker and market to the next. There is no doubt that Audi, however, is ahead of the curve and supports the proposed combustion ban in Europe.

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Source Credits: WirtschaftsWoche

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