A winning quartet – Audi’s path to the electric age

Audi is fully backing electric mobility: Over the past two years or so, the car manufacturer has presented five all-electric models. At the same time, Audi is electrifying its combustion engines and equipping them with new technologies to make them fit for the future. The switch from purely internal combustion drive to electric mobility is under way. The challenge now is to scale up electric cars profitably. Audi’s strategy revolves around four vehicle platforms, to create Group-wide synergies in development, procurement and production.

03/18/2021 Copy: Dorothea Kauf ― Photos: AUDI AG Illustrations: Matthias Seifarth   Talking Sustainable Business Reading Time: 6 min

Talking Sustainable Business – Key Facts

  • Audi is committed to electric mobility: It plans to have around 30 electrified models, including 20 fully electric ones, on the market by 2025
  • Investments of €15 billion in electric mobility and hybridization up to 2025
  • With platform synergies, Audi wants to make electric cars as profitable as equivalent combustion-engine models within two to three years

Electric mobility

By the end of 2021, Audi wants to expand its electric portfolio to eight models, by which point it will have electric cars in the compact, full-size and luxury classes. It also plans to add more than ten all-electric cars by 2025. By then, the volume of all-electric and plug-in hybrid models should increase from currently about seven percent (2020) to around one-third. The company is investing some EUR 15 billion in this venture between now and 2025. In an effort to scale up electric mobility profitably, Audi is drawing on synergies across the Group and adopting multi-brand platforms – from the compact to the luxury class.

Overview of cross-brand platforms

Modular longitudinal matrix MLB evo

MLB evo

The brand with the Four Rings opened a new chapter of sustain-able mobility at the end of 2018 with the fully electric Audi e-tron. 1 This is the manufacturer’s first all-electric series-production model, and a commercial success: In 2020, the Audi e-tron 1 was the world’s top-selling electric car in its segment. To bring it to market rapidly, Audi based it on the modular longitudinal matrix, or MLB evo for short. This platform, conceived for combustion models, was extensively adapted to the requirements of an electric car.

Audi e-tron: Power consumption, combined*: 24.3–21.4 kWh/100km (NEDC); 26.1–21.7 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Audi e-tron: Power consumption, combined*: 24.3–21.4 kWh/100km (NEDC); 26.1–21.7 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Performance platform J1

J1

The Audi e-tron GT quattro unveiled in February 2021 has the Porsche-developed J1 platform as its basis. The four-door Gran Turismo is the new Audi signature car, a pointer to the technologies of the future and the brand’s design. Its sporty silhouette and fascinating technology demonstrate just how emotionally charged electric mobility can be. Collaboration across the Volkswagen Group enables Audi to invest more strongly in such brand-differentiating features.

Audi e-tron GT quattro: Power consumption, combined*: 19.6–18.8 kWh/100km (NEDC); 21.6–19.9 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Audi e-tron GT quattro: Power consumption, combined*: 19.6–18.8 kWh/100km (NEDC); 21.6–19.9 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

The Audi e-tron GT has a very high proportion of carry-over parts approaching 70 percent for its main components such as plat-form, interior and exterior. It shares most of these components with the Porsche Taycan. This is illustrative of the huge synergy potential within the Group. At the same time the brand with the Four Rings is pursuing its own distinctive course when it comes to design, technology and vehicle character – examples being chassis and steering tuning. “Comfortable where possible – dynamic where necessary” was the developers’ guiding principle. The Audi e-tron GT, as its name clearly indicates, is a Gran Turismo.

Audi e-tron GT quattro: Power consumption, combined*: 19.6–18.8 kWh/100km (NEDC); 21.6–19.9 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Porsche Taycan: Stromverbrauch kombiniert in kWh/100 km: 28,7-28,0 (NEFZ); CO₂-Emissionen kombiniert in g/km: 0

Audi e-tron GT quattro: Power consumption, combined*: 19.6–18.8 kWh/100km (NEDC); 21.6–19.9 kWh/100km (WLTP)CO₂ emissions, combined*: 0 g/km

Porsche Taycan: Stromverbrauch kombiniert in kWh/100 km: 28,7-28,0 (NEFZ); CO₂-Emissionen kombiniert in g/km: 0

The Audi e-tron GT on the J1 platform

The Audi e-tron GT on the J1 platform

Presented in February

2021

Carry-over part quota of almost

70 percent

for the main components

Range of

480

kilometers

Modular electric drive matrix MEB

MEB

Audi will be introducing two new electric SUVs – the Audi Q4 e-tron and the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron – before the end of 2021. These first fully electric Audi models in the compact segment will appeal to a broad group of customers and therefore be a key source of volume within the company’s electrification strategy. They will act as gateways into the electric world of Audi.

Offering the spaciousness of a full-size model, ranges in excess of 500 kilometers (WLTP) and the option of quattro drive, the Audi Q4 e-tron model line has all the credentials of a first car as well as being suitable for everyday use.

Both models are based on the modular electric drive matrix (MEB). The platform provides the technical basis for future com-pact and midsize models from Audi. The MEB is a very versatile concept and highly scalable. The range of possible derivative versions includes SUV, crossover models and sedans. Thanks to its concept as a purely electric platform, the MEB helps customers enjoy all the benefits of electric drive.

Profitability on a par with combustion models possible

The Volkswagen Group as a whole plans to build around 19 mil-lion vehicles using its MEB platform by 2030. The synergy effects are correspondingly great. This means Audi will be able to offer its customers electric models that are both economically and technically sophisticated. Exploiting the platform synergies to the full and building the vehicles at multi-brand plants now makes electric mobility an attractive proposition for a large number of compact-segment customers.

As the only manufacturer operating in the premium market, Audi stands to benefit from such extensive Group synergies. What this means in practice is that the company plans to make the Audi Q4 e-tron family as profitable as an equivalent combustion-engine model within the space of two to three years – despite the higher manufacturing costs of electric automobiles. Over the coming years, the company anticipates further reductions in material costs and additional volume effects that will improve profitability per vehicle.

Design is the top reason for buying
Design is the top reason for buying

Products & Services 03/18/2021

Design is the top reason for buying

Profitable electric car using a Group platform, but still unmistakably an Audi: Designers Philipp Römers and Christian Becker talk about the Audi Q4 Sportback e-tron concept.

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Premium Platform Electric PPE

PPE

From now on, Audi intends to focus on the Premium Platform Electric (PPE) developed in close partnership with Porsche for its electric full-size and luxury models. Both flat-floor and high-floor vehicles can be realized with the extensively scalable high-tech architecture.

Because the platform has been created for the world market and can be scaled up to around seven million units across the Volkswagen Group by 2030, it will bring corresponding synergy effects. Merely the joint development approach will reduce one-time expenses by 20 to 30 percent.

Premium performance for charging times and electric driving

Audi is planning various PPE-based model series that – as SUV, Sportback, Avant and crossover models – will cover the segments from the upper midsize class to the luxury class with various different vehicle types.

Key development goals for PPE are high electric ranges, fast charging times based on an 800-volt system as well as excellent connectivity and digitalization technologies.

System approach to electric mobility

Key factors that determine the everyday usability of electric cars are range and charging time. Drivers of a fully electric Audi model benefit from high charging speeds because the charging capacity currently of up to 150 kW is achieved across an extensive part of the charging process, depending on model. The Audi e-tron GT3 even manages a charging capacity as high as270 kW. It demonstrates how high performance also extends to the matter of charging at Audi. This performance is made possible by intelligent thermal management of the battery.

All the electric cars currently available from Audi are also embedded in an intelligent ecosystem: The Audi route planner allows routes to be planned in advance on a mobile phone and then sent to the car. The planner computes the fastest route, takes traffic and route data as well as the driver’s style into account, calculates the duration of the charging stops and includes them in the total driving time. In combination with the Audi e-tron Charging Service, Audi customers in Europe have the benefit of over 203,600 charging points in 26 countries that they can use with just one card and one contract.

There should be a further boost to the range in years to come from innovations to the battery and drive. The power density of the cells will increase, boosting the storage capacity that is possible with a unit occupying the same space or paving the way for smaller, lighter batteries. Both measures can extend the range while cutting material costs.

An improved drive is also a factor in increasing the range. For example, Audi aims to reduce the weight of future electric motors by around 20 percent and extend the range by some 10 percent. Whereas some competitors buy in electric drive technology, Audi develops and builds much of it itself. This enables the brand to be sure of its premium quality. In 2020, Audi collected an AutomotiveINNOVATIONS Award sponsored by the renowned Center of Automotive Management (CAM), in the Alternative Drives category.

Plug-in hybrids as part of the electric initiative

Zero local emissions coupled with long-distance capability – plug-in hybrids are an important element of Audi’s electric initiative. They are especially important for customers in urban areas and for commuters as the key to driving with zero local emissions. Audi is consistently expanding its part-electric model range all the way from the compact to the luxury segment. The brand already offers plug-in hybrids in nine model series. They are proving a real hit with customers: Last year, the brand with the Four Rings sold roughly eight times more plug-in hybrid models worldwide than in 2019. Despite the constraints of the coronavirus crisis, Audi has increased production capacity for plug-in hybrids more than four-fold since 2019.

Fleet emissions and consumption
In 2020, Audi surpassed the CO₂ fleet targets for Europe within the Volkswagen emissions pool, improving by around 20 percent in the process.

The Volkswagen Group is explicitly committed to the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, which aims to cap the global temperature rise to significantly less than two degrees Celsius. As its contribution to this “two-degree goal,” Audi is concentrating, among other things, on reducing the CO₂ emissions of its vehicle fleet. Based on provisional figures, the company surpassed its CO₂ fleet targets for Europe within the Volkswagen emissions pool in 2020.

⁶Subject to the official data of the European Commission in the annual CO₂ fleet monitoring report of the Volkswagen emissions pool. ⁷Subject to official publication by the Minstry for Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in the annual CO₂ fleet monitoring report.

⁶Subject to the official data of the European Commission in the annual CO₂ fleet monitoring report of the Volkswagen emissions pool. ⁷Subject to official publication by the Minstry for Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in the annual CO₂ fleet monitoring report.

Combustion models for the future

Products & Services 03/16/2021

Combustion models for the future

Audi is steadily working to improve its combustion engines and uses the platform principle and common parts approach to save costs.

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Audi Report 2020

Company

Audi Report 2020

How is Audi shaping the future? You will find answers in the Audi Report 2020, the first combined annual and sustainability report of AUDI AG.

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