According to Audi's boss, it will only sell electric cars in just five years from now.
In mid-March Audi's CEO, Markus Duesmann, confirmed that it had ceased all development of gasoline and diesel engines.
The reason cited was the stricter Euro 7 emissions standards, making it virtually impossible for an internal combustion engine to exist as a standalone unit. As it currently stands, the NOx emissions per kilometer are 60 mg for gas cars and 80 mg for diesel cars. Euro 7 only allows NOx figures between 10 to 30 mg, depending on the vehicle category.
With that in mind, it makes complete sense why Audi stopped development on ICE engines. It makes more financial sense to use existing engines as the basis for a range of hybrid vehicles. The Volkswagen Group has a wide variety of gas and diesel engines to work with.
Or that's what we thought at the time.
In a shocking (sorry) turn of events, Duesmann has announced that Audi will be going fully electric from 2026. Audi has yet to confirm this officially, but according to Reuters, Duesmann made the announcement to labor representatives and top managers. For the record, Audi currently sells the e-tron, e-tron GT, and RS e-tron GT to name just a few. Future models include the Q4 e-tron crossover and an A6 e-tron.
We knew the big electric switch was coming. The UK was the first country to announce an outright ban on the sale of ICE cars. President Joe Biden is also under pressure to ban ICE cars completely. Like the UK, California set a date for banning ICE vehicles, but it gave manufacturers an additional five years.
These announcements are extremely significant. China is the biggest market for new cars, with a 19.79 percent market share. Combined, the USA and Europe have a 26.42 percent share. So, whatever the USA and Europe's politicians decide dictates the future of the auto industry.
Since the ban would only come into effect in 2030 at the earliest, we figured there would be a slow merge from internal combustion to hybrid to electric. According to BMW, the demand for ICE vehicles will still be robust, which is why it will not stop developing them.
Obviously, Audi's move will have massive repercussions for the entire Volkswagen Group. Our best guess is that each brand will have a specific focus. Audi will be fully electric, but Lamborghini will likely still use hybrid powertrains for as long as it can. Perhaps VW will offer both at a more reasonable price.
Audi might also be, in part at least, driven by the Dieselgate scandal. What better way to clear your wonky history than going fully electric before everyone else? On the marketing side, Audi will return to Le Mans in 2023 with an all-electric race car.
It will also be fascinating to see the impact on the value of current models. With the above in mind, we don't see a future for the W12 and V10 engines, as used in Bentley and Lamborghini models. In all likelihood, the cars Audi currently sells will be the last of their kind. So if you want an R8 with a V10 or a RS3 with a turbocharged five-pot, the time is now.