Audi puts the e-pedal to the metal, invests €40bn in CASE
While Audi is facing a challenging year 2019 with economic and regulatory issues, the premium manufacturer is pressing ahead with its transformation towards what Mercedes calls CASE and was renamed ACES by BMW.
The company will be investing €40 billion into R&D and its industrial apparatus with the goal of becoming “a provider of holistic CO2-neutral premium mobility”.
Electrification: 30+ models by 2025
As to the E, the Audi portfolio will include more than 30 models with electric drive by 2025, of which 20 will be all-electric. The company will by then have launched at least three compact models based on the modular electric-drive kit (MEB) for compact vehicles – indeed, the platform used by the VW ID3 and the Seat El-Born.
The upper segments will be served at the beginning of the next decade, with models based on the PPE architecture developed together with Porsche. Audi expects electrified automobiles to account for about 40 percent of worldwide unit sales by 2025.
Moreover, Audi intends to achieve CO2-neutrality for the entire company by 2050 at the latest. By consistently reducing CO2 emissions and switching to renewable energy sources, unavoidable emissions will be offset, the brand stated.
Autonomous: robotaxi by 2021-2022
The company has earmarked a total of approximately €40 billion until the end of 2023, comprising investments in property, plant and equipment as well as research and development expenditure.
Of that amount, around €14 billion will be assigned to electric mobility, digitalization and highly automated driving, the carmaker says, without giving any further details.
Audi was to become the first OEM to sell a level 3 autonomous vehicle, which was to take the shape of the new A8 launched in 2017, but regulatory obstacles rained on the flagship’s parade. In the meantime, Audi has created its Autonomous Intelligent Driving unit, which currently has 12 vehicles out for testing on public roads in Munich.
Once Audi is able to build a level 4 capable vehicle, the first goal is to launch an autonomous driving taxi service, which will allegedly be operational by 2021-2022. After that, the goal is “to provide the whole group with a self-driving stack for ownership vehicles, trucks, buses, food deliveries... everything in the long term," Alexandre Haag, the chief technology officer for AID, told the Verge.
Shared (or Services): Audi on demand with Sixt
Audi plans to significantly expand the “Audi on demand” flexible premium mobility service in cooperation with mobility service provider Sixt. As of the fourth quarter, customers in ten European countries will successively be able to access up to 10,000 Audi cars and use them flexibly. In parallel, the company will intensify the integration of its own retail partners into this digital business segment.
Audi on demand will thus be the umbrella brand for all mobility solutions from short-term bookings to long-term vehicle use. Within the framework of another digital initiative, the company is developing “myAudi” as an ecosystem for interested parties, owners and users to become a platform open to third parties.