Audi plans to extend its range of EVs and is set to play a crucial role as the VW Group quickly approaches electrification. Audi will mainly focus on the premium sector. Below we will break down Audi’s plan and what we can expect in the coming years from the German manufacturer.
Audi’s Electrification Plan:
The orders have been handed down by the VW Group, and are quite transparent. Audi needs become a ‘new premium’ brand in both the ICE and electric sectors. The amount of electric cars Audi offers will increase but, the overall amount of choice will decrease. Schot stated he would like 25% fewer model lines as quickly as possible. This seemingly will result in a substantial shift in the company’s philosophy.
When it come to its range of PHEVs, the first will come in the shape of the A7 and A8, Q5 and Q7 plug-in hybrids. The PHEV variants will now be badged ‘TFSLe’ with a numerical prefix. This number represents a total system power output range as Audi has done before. By 2025 Audi plans to offer over 30 electric cars with 20 being full BEVS. “We expect that 40% of all Audis sold by 2025 will be electrified. Next year, we will offer 12 EVs and seven plug-ins,” Schot said.
The Q3 and the next-generation A3 hatchback will be next on the list to join the company’s range of PHEVs.
Audi’s Four Platforms to Expand its Range of EVs:
In the next ten years Audi will use four platforms to expand its range of electric cars: MEB, MLBevo, J1 and PPE.
MEB – With an abbreviation that has been frequently used for the past few years within the VW Group, this one might sound familiar. The platform is designed to underpin small to medium battery-electric cars. Audi sees this platform to be profitable for its smaller less expensive models in the coming years. The first production model to use this platform is the Volkswagen ID.3, Seat’s is the near-identical El Born, and Skoda is already preparing the Enyaq that uses the same platform.
MLBevo – An updated version of the MLB platform that has been used by the VW group for quite some time. It is already in service with the e-Tron SUV, though this one has been engineered to house an all-electric powertrain.
J1 platform – The majority of this platform was developed by Porsche used mainly for the Taycan EV. Audi has dubbed it the ‘performance platform’ due to its lower center of gravity and rapid battery outputs. Markus Jeschke, Audi’s project manager for the smaller MEB platform, said “J1 cannot have an SUV variant” due to its super-sports potential. This explains why Porsche’s upcoming Taycan Cross Turismo, is an off-road estate rather than a full SUV.
Premium Platform Electric – Designed and developed with Porsche, as well, this platform was designed for underpinning the higher-end and larger-sized range of vehicles expected from Audi over the next decade. With the PPE architecture having both ‘low floor’ and ‘high floor’ options, it will be useful for everything from SUVs, Avant estates, and saloons in the future. Audi already revealed a a behind-the-scenes preview design study of an upcoming model that looks similar to the A7 Sportback which will sit on the PPE platform.
Audi’s Electric Cars and What’s to Come:
Audi e-Tron SUV and e-Tron Sportback -The Audi e-Tron SUV is currently on sale. But the company’s electrification plans go far beyond this electric SUV. Although in photos taken of the Sportback version of the eSUV and e-Tron Quattro S while out testing, the bodywork seems to be unchanged. However, they seemed to feature a lowered suspension and larger amped-up wheels. We will almost certainly see changes to the bodywork in the future. There are already rumors of Audi’s plans that may be more impressive than the current e-Tron. Rumors that include a three-motor setup with two of them power the rear axle. This resulting in a 640bhp total output ceiling, a bump in acceleration, and even more capability for torque control.
Audi e-Tron GT – Expected to hit the market by the end of the year, the new Audi e-tron has everything you could want as far as a high speed luxury vehicles. It has all that the e-Tron SUV introduced as far as electric design but in a A7-style body at 4.96m long, 1.96m wide, and 1.38m high. It presents both lower and wider than a conventional grand tourer. It is undeniably an Audi even though it sits on the J1 platform developed by Porsche. A few other details have been revealed about the production version e-Tron GT such as power outputs of around 582bhp and 612lb ft expected, and a 0-62mph time coming in at around 3.5 seconds. In addition to this it will have quattro all-wheel drive with rear-wheel steering.
Audi Q2 e-Tron – Aside from some small details, the Q2 e-Tron doesn’t differentiate much from the current SUV. The bumper and grille are a little different and the lack of exhaust pipes on the Q2 e-Tron reflect the new car’s lack of cooling demands. It is still possible that this model could instead be a plug-in hybrid using the TSFle badge. Sales are expected to start this summer, but only in China.
Audi Q4 e-Tron – Audi has confirmed that the Q4 e-Tron will go on sale in early 2021. At that point it will be the fifth all-electric Audi on the market showing the speed at which electrification trends are catching on.The Q4 e-Tron will sit on the MEB platform due to its smaller dimensions. Audi decided that it was best to start with an SUV for the MEB platform before focusing on a smaller saloon and CUV.
Audi PB e-Tron – The Audi PB e-Tron gained a lot of attention at the 2018 Monterey Car Week. It was presented with a futuristic look similar to the Audi R8 when looking at the front. However, the rear design ran in a totally different direction. The PB e-Tron is the first project designed by Audi’s new North American design team. Originally referred to as the PB18 Audi changed its name to the AI:Race concept during the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show. The new PB18 has some key design details that we may see in future EVs including a shooting-brake rear and a mid-battery-mounted layout.
Audi R8 – It is rumored that Audi is approaching Rimac for help to launch the the zero-emissions model to replace the Audi R8, the RS e-Tron. As the market for fossil fuels diminish the R8 is quickly becoming obsolete and is expected to be discontinued. However, this in no way means we won’t see any new exciting cars from Audi. Discussing the new cars at Frankfurt, CEO Schot said ‘this is a decision made from the heart. These are halo models and are extremely important to us. They might not be called TT and R8 or they might be called that, either way it is still to be decided. But we do still need to offer a super sports car.’ He added ‘There will be a fully electric version, but we still have to decide if there will be other version two. There is probably going to be a move towards longer range plug-ins for instance. We need to make the decision quickly, certainly within the year, perhaps by Christmas.’
Audi PPE Design Study – Audi’s designers have been working hard on their first attempt at an e-Tron model to sit on the PPE platform. The front end looks to be inspired by the AI concept cars with thin black-paneled headlights and a silver blanked out ‘Single-frame’ grille. Its silhouette is similar to that of the A7. It will be rear-wheel drive with optional e-quattro all-wheel drive. The company is aiming for a minimum of 310 miles in range. It will have faster charging time and less weight thanks to the 800v architecture that was used for the Porsche Taycan.
At the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show, Audi CEO Bram Schot said the brand needs to answer customers demands by offering a more focused range of models. Over the course of the next five years it seems as though the company will continue to transform into a provider of electric mobility before our very eyes.