3.3.2016Audi set to lead VW Group's electric and hydrogen drive projects
Audi has announced that will invest more than Â£2.3 billion to develop electric cars and connected systems at its annual press conference today (Thursday 3rd March). The commitment comes as part of Audi's biggest investment phase in the company's history and will see the creation of 20 new and revised models this year.
By 2020, the product portfolio will include 60 different models and Axel Strotbek, Member of the Board of Management of Audi, said: "We will constantly expand our range of alternative drive systems and gradually electrify our model portfolio. We are particular focusing on the plug-in-hybrid technology and on purely electric drive"
The first stage of the plan is to develop more hybrid and plug-in hybrid models, though the company recognises that these vehicles are "a transitional and bridge technology for about the next ten years", before Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management at Audi, went on to say "In parallel, we will offer various battery-electric models in different volume series until 2025.
"At present, we are preparing our production facilities for the next stage of electric mobility. At our site in Brussels, we will begin the large-series production of our first fully electric SUV in 2018. That plant will also produce its own batteries. Audi Brussels will be the pioneer for electric mobility at the Audi Group.
"For the battery cells, we rely on our strategic partners LG Chem and Samsung SDI. Both of them have developed a high degree of expertise over many years. Both of them develop extremely high-performance cell modules: according to our specifications â€“ and in Europe."
Despite an electric push, Audi will not ignore hydrogen fuel cell technology, and aims to continue development of its systems to become a maret leader in the future.
Prof Stadler said: "We also see great potential in fuel-cell technology. Our Audi h-tron quattro concept study operates solely on electric power, and with hydrogen as an energy source â€“ hence the name h-tron. The hydrogen tanks can be filled in about four minutes, with enough energy for a range of 600 kilometres. Audi will have competence-centre responsibility within the Volkswagen Group, and will bring this technology out of research into series development in the coming years."