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Audi leads Volkswagen Group’s charge into electric vehicle manufacture

e-Tron SUV concept

German automaker aims to produce three EVs by 2020

Audi has expanded on its commitment to developing EVs, now affirming that it will produce three electric models before 2020. The announcement was made on Wednesday 15th March at the company’s annual corporate press conference at which the company also revealed that more EV models would follow next decade.

Audi claims to be the “technology leader” within the larger Volkswagen Group, and it is true to say that it focuses more on fleet electrification that any of its sister firms. Over the last three years it says it has trained 6,000 employees to work with high-voltage technology and on quick-charging public infrastructure.

Last month, the company announced that the all-electric e-Tron SUV would go into production next year, so whilst Wednesday’s press conference didn’t reveal any details of the three models, it is very likely that the SUV will be the first in the range the company was referring to. Going by comments made by Audi chairman Rupert Stadler last October, it is also likely that Audi’s future EV models will fall under the e-Tron range.

Dietmar Voggenreiter

The announcement of the e-Tron SUV also included a number of confusing details, however, not least marketing boss Dietmar Voggenreiter’s claim that the e-Tron would represent “the first real premium manufacturer doing a premium electric SUV”. That could only be true if one doesn’t consider Tesla a “real premium manufacturer”, as that company’s Model X SUV is likely to be superior to the e-Tron in many if not all of the relevant specifications.

Voggenreiter also appeared to contradict comments made by executives at Wednesday’s press conference as well as the press release that accompanied the conference. Although Audi stated that it would be developing quick-charging public infrastructure, Voggenreiter suggested the company wasn’t interested in such things at all, saying “It’s not our job to invest in charging points”. Such comments appear to reveal a less committed stance on EV infrastructure than executives suggested on Wednesday.

Nevertheless, Audi’s commitment to the production of EVs seems much clearer. In the wake of the recent emissions scandal, the Volkswagen Group appears to be doubling down on clean transport; Audi’s ambitious strategy fits in with the German company’s upcoming conversion of existing factories to accommodate EV production.


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