The future is here and it ain’t Elon Musk who’s bringing it.
Three electric vehicles will be the pillars upon which Audi’s plans for the future rest. As the Volkswagen Group’s main technology innovator, Audi is on a mission to ensure that it can debut technology to trickle down to other VW brands and remain profitable and competitive to help prop up its parent company’s damaged sales. As its CEO Rupert Stadler divulged to German newspaper Donaukurier, these three cars will make it to dealership lots by 2020 and will be impressive feats of engineering that should put a dent in Tesla sales.
Of course, the first vehicle to get the electric shock paddles will be the Audi Q6 crossover, which was first shown to us via the Audi e-tron Quattro concept. As a crossover, it will compete head-on with the Tesla Model X and should feature about 300 miles of range, on par with Tesla’s e new P100D package. The second model will be a sportier-looking version of the Q6 while the third will be a sedan. You might be thinking that means the A9 will get the e-tron treatment as previously stated, but an inside source told Car and Driver that the EV sedan will not slot above or compete with the A8. What we will get instead is a hydrogen Audi, proving that as promising as EVs appear to be, the experimental power source isn’t dead yet.
Stadler seems optimistic about his company’s potential to popularize alternative fuels because by 2025, he expects a full 25-30% of Audi’s lineup to comprise of EVs. He also mentioned that Audi will create a subsidiary company called Self Driving Systems to pioneer autonomous technology for future cars. Stadler was also clear about how he plans to market autonomous capabilities when asked about the fatal Tesla crash. He said, “It is necessary to be careful and honest. At Audi, we will include sufficient safety measures. And we won’t promise more to the customer than they will get.” In other words, Audi plans to avoid similar accidents by being clear to drivers about what its self-driving systems can and cannot do.