Audi is going electric, like everyone else, though Tuesday it attached a new timeline to its electric ambitions. Audi declared it’d make its last internal combustion engines by 2033. I would call this ambitious except it’s unlikely Audi is doing this under its own volition, exactly.
Audi also said that starting in 2026 it will only release all-electric cars globally. Markus Duesmann, Audi’s CEO, said this has nothing to do with ICE car bans in Europe or elsewhere and is instead a testament to how much Audi can innovate, which is a humorous bit of self-deception.
“Through our innovative strength, we offer individuals sustainable and carbon-neutral mobility options,” Duesmann continued. “I don’t believe in the success of bans. I believe in the success of technology and innovation.” The exact timing of the combustion engine’s discontinuation at Audi will ultimately be decided by customers and legislation. The company expects to see continued demand in China beyond 2033, which is why there could be a supply of vehicles there with combustion engines manufactured locally. At the same time, Audi will significantly expand its range of all-electric models. With the new e-tron GT, RS e-tron GT, Q4 e-tron, and Q4 Sportback e-tron models, Audi is already launching more electric cars than models with combustion engines this year. By 2025, the brand aims to have more than 20 e-models in its lineup. “With this roadmap, we are creating the clarity necessary to make a decisive and powerful transition to the electric age. We’re sending the signal that Audi is ready,” said Duesmann.
Here in the States, where Audi has been on an incredible sales streak recently, the most popular Audi, unsurprisingly, is the Q5. It moved 50,435 units last year. The E-Tron, Audi’s all-electric offering, sold a little over 7,200 cars. That’s a strong enough contrast even leaving out of all the ICE cars other than the Q5 that Audi sold here last year, a similar gap to other legacy automakers who are transitioning to EVs.
The gap is vast, in other words, making me think that the shift to electric will be pretty violent. Then again, that maybe only for a vocal minority. Most people who buy cars could not care less about the car’s powertrain, just that it moves and is reliable. Electric cars are pretty good on both fronts, unless you’re, say, one of the unfortunate Tesla Model 3 owners who lives where it rains sometimes.