Analysis: Audi reveals electric plans

Audi E-tron GT conceptAudi Q4 E-tron concept

While Audi’s part in Dieselgate continues to rumble on in the German legal system, the brand is reinventing itself as a provider of hybrid and fully-electric premium cars.

Over the next five years Audi plans to put more than 30 electrified models on sale, which will account for more than 40% of its sales volume.

Initially, Audi will bring in a host of new plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), however these will be joined swiftly by more battery electric cars (BEVs).

Audi’s ultimate plan is for a 30% reduction in CO2 by 2025 (from a base point in 2015) and full decarbonisation by 2050, including production. The company claims this is in line with the Paris Climate Accord.

 

PHEVS

The new batch of plug-in hybrids are not Audi’s first PHEVs. Until WLTP killed them off in mid-2018, Audi sold the A3 and Q7 as hybrids under the e-tron banner.

First back to market is the Q5 PHEV, which is already in showrooms in the UK.

Audi expects the plug-ins to account for between 20-30% of UK sales in any range they are available, with half of these for company car customers.

All of Audi’s PHEVs are expected to have a CO2 figure below 50g/km which will allow them to qualify for the current lowest Benefit-in-Kind tax band of 16%.

However, when the new tax bands come into play in April 2020, this will drop to 14%. Audi has stated all of its PHEVs will have a battery-only range of at least 25 miles. Though not confirmed, they aren’t likely to hit the next BIK band of 12%, which requires a range of 30-39 battery-only miles.

 

PHEV TIMELINE

IN SHOWROOMS NOW

  • Q5 PHEV as 50 (299hp) & 55 (367hp) TFSIe

 

ON SALE NOVEMBER (delivery early 2020)

  • A7 PHEV as 50 (299hp) & 55 (367hp) TFSIe
  • Q7 PHEV as 55 (380hp) & 60 (455hp) TFSIe

 

ON SALE DECEMBER (delivery early 2020)

  • A8 PHEV as 60 (449hp) TFSIe
  • A6 PHEV as 50 (299hp) & 55 (367hp) TFSIe

 

ON SALE IN 2020 (deliveries in mid-2020)

  • A3 PHEV
  • Q3 PHEV

 

BEVS

Audi’s plans for a range of fully electric cars doesn’t stop with the recently launched E-tron. At a recent EV tech day in Germany, Audi executives dropped hints of a host of new electric cars that are likely to be built in the near future.

MEB platform: Variable platform architecture for low and high floor models

What’s confirmed, so far, is that Audi’s BEVs will be based on four platforms, called MEB, MLB evo, PPE and J1.

MEB is the basis for smaller cars. It’s the platform that underpins Volkswagen’s Golf-sized ID3. Audi’s first car from this platform will be the Q4 E-tron; an SUV with the exterior dimensions similar to that of the Q3, but with the interior space of similar to that of the Q5.

Initially offered as a 306hp car with rear-wheel drive and the option of all-wheel drive (thanks to a motor on the front axle), the Q4 will be offered with a choice of battery sizes.

The MEB platform will also give rise to cars from sister brands Seat and Skoda, and is likely to be the VW Group’s highest-volume BEV platform.

Audi E-tron GT concept - image 3

Audi E-tron GT concept

Audi said the underpinnings will also give rise to saloons, hatchbacks, SUVs and crossovers, including cars up to the size of the current A4.

Next up the scale is the E-tron’s platform, called MLB evo. The next car from this, which will arrive in 2020, is the Sportback version of the E-tron. This will be a sleeker version of the current BEV.

Audi will also have a large-car platform for BEVs under the codename PPE. This base will be used for executive sector sized cars and upward and across several of the VW Group’s brands.

Audi Q4 E-tron concept - image 2

Audi Q4 E-tron concept

At the tech day, Audi showed a concept car based on the PPE platform that looked similar to the A7 Sportback. Audi’s engineers hinted the platform will spin off A6-sized cars and upward, including estates and SUVs and, potentially, sportier cars. To that end, PPE will be used by Porsche and Bentley.

The large-car platform will be rear-wheel drive with the option of all-wheel drive when fitted with an additional motor.

Engineers claimed the PPE platform would have a single battery pack option giving a range of 500km, and that the base was adaptable in length, width and height.

The fourth platform to be used by Audi for its BEVs is named J1. This was developed in conjunction with Porsche and has already delivered the Taycan. Audi’s sports car will be called the E-tron GT, a low-slung four-door car with 590hp and all-wheel drive.

 

BEV: WHAT & WHEN

ON SALE NOW

  • E-tron

ON SALE EARLY 2020

  • E-tron Sportback

ON SALE LATE 2020 OR EARLY 2021

  • E-tron GT

ON SALE EARLY 20201

  • Q4 E-tron

 

Tristan Young