Audi yesterday announced their electrification strategy for the coming 12 years. The German company will manufacture their last internal combustion engine by 2033. Furthermore, from 2026 onwards, Audi will only launch new all-electric models on the global market. With this announcement, Audi has stepped in the line of a number of automotive companies going all-electric in the coming years.
Electrification Strategies and the Need for Them
We have been reading about a number of companies going electric in the coming few years. The biggest reason behind this is a number of countries mulling over combustion vehicle bans. They need to enforce such bans to adhere to the Paris Treaty agreements and reduce carbon emissions. Keeping this in mind, United Kingdom is looking to go all-electric by 2030. Not only that, other countries and regions like Norway (2025), California (2035) and France (2040) are also going for complete electrification. Under these circumstances, these electrification moves make a lot of sense.
Jaguar has already announced its Reimagine strategy with plans to go all-electric by 2025. Korean sister companies Hyundai and Kia have their own plans to bring a number of electric models to the market. Even noted supercar manufacturer Lamborghini will do away with its combustion vehicles, adopting a hybrid approach.
With Ford also entering the American pickup truck market with an electric option, the electric vehicle market is definitely booming.
Why Traditional Companies need a Robust Electrification Strategy
At this point, almost all companies have agreed that battery electric vehicles are the future. Some others, like Toyota, still believe in the hybrid approach. But if internal combustion engines get completely banned, then even these companies have to move to the all-electric segment. Despite the overall notion favoring battery electric vehicles, there is still some debate about when to make the electric shift.
This is where startups and companies like Tesla and Lucid Motors have the headstart. They have invested in electric mobility from the beginning and are miles ahead in terms of research and development. Traditional automakers, who carry a legacy gas-powered vehicle business have to gauge customer adoption over time and try to phase out their internal combustion engine production in order not to disrupt their business too much as they transition to an electric future.
Audi’s Plans to go All-Electric
The Audi strategy for electrification will happen in two steps. Starting 2026, Audi will focus on launching only electric vehicles. Simultaneously, they will keep working on phasing out combustion vehicles, and by 2033, they will have manufactured their last IC engine. Audi revealed this plan during the Berlin climate conference yesterday. CEO Markus Duesmann made the announcement:
Through our innovative strength, we offer individuals sustainable and carbon-neutral mobility options. I don’t believe in the success of bans. I believe in the success of technology and innovation. The exact timing of the combustion engine’s discontinuation at Audi will ultimately be decided by customers and legislation. The company expects to see continued demand in China beyond 2033, which is why there could be a supply of vehicles there with combustion engines manufactured locally.
At the same time, Audi will significantly expand its range of all-electric models. With the new e-Tron GT, RS e-Tron GT, Q4 e-Tron, and Q4 Sportback e-Tron models, Audi is already launching more electric cars than models with combustion engines this year. By 2025, the brand aims to have more than 20 e-models in its lineup. “With this roadmap, we are creating the clarity necessary to make a decisive and powerful transition to the electric age. We’re sending the signal that Audi is ready.
Audi’s Current Lineup and their Electric Replacements
It is believed that Audi will bring the next-generation Q8 as their final “new” combustion model. This will accompany a fully electric Q8 E-Tron before they discard the combustion version. Similarly, the next A4 and A5 coming before 2026 will have combustion engines, but they will probably also have electric versions. They should also follow a similar strategy for the larger vehicles, such as A6, A7, and A8, as well as the SUVs. This will ease the transition phase.
However, some models like the A1 and A3 may not have conventional engines in the next update. As for the TT and R8, the two sports cars are widely expected to bow out without direct ICE-powered replacements.
The idea of having a two-step electrification strategy will definitely help. This will mean the company sets up a nice foundation for the future. At the same time, bringing electric versions of almost all its vehicles will help in continuing the legacy even if the powertrain changes. Audi CEO Markus Duesmann’s take on the timing of the combustion engine’s discontinuation also makes sense. The demand for combustion vehicles will pinpoint the exact timing for the discontinuation.
The timeline for 2033 seems a bit far-fetched though. Close to 100 new battery-electric vehicles are coming in a year or so. This widely opens up options for the public, which is one of the issues at the moment. And with a number of incentives being offered for buying electric vehicles, the attraction towards electric mobility will increase multifold.