• Jan 31st 2011 at 4:54PM
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Audi A1 e-tron – Click above for high-res image gallery

Audi is committed to launching hybrid vehicles, but according to the automaker's chief executive officer, Rupert Stadler, the company is being rather cautious when it comes to giving battery-powered autos the green light. Recently, Automotive News Europe (sub. req.) caught up with Stadler and questioned him about Audi's electric-drive future. Audi's CEO responded with this, "We will start with the launch of a Q5 hybrid in Europe this spring, the A6 hybrid follows at the end of the year and an A8 hybrid in 2012."

However, when ANE prodded Stadler about Audi launching pure electric vehicles, the CEO's response was comparatively vague:

We are still in the early phase with the electric vehicle, in terms of commercialization and whether the cars will be sold or leased, or will just be a collector's car.
First of all we have to industrialize the lithium-ion-battery. This is happening with the hybrid cars which now have the role of a bridge technology.
We should not overplay euphoria for electric vehicles. Our industry is in the middle of a system change and we still have a lot of challenges to solve.

Audi will launch the limited production (i.e., less than 1,000 units) battery-powered R8 at the end of 2012 and will conduct field tests with its A1 e-tron this summer in Munich, but beyond that, Audi's electric game plan is basically unknown.

  • Audi A1 Etron
  • Audi A1 Etron

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      "We should not overplay euphoria for electric vehicles. Our industry is in the middle of a system change and we still have a lot of challenges to solve."

      This comment seems to be a direct contradiction to this comment also by Audi:

      "By 2020, we want to be the leading premium seller of electric vehicles. We will successively bring out a variety of hybrid models and electric vehicles, such as our first plug-in hybrid in 2014."

      • 4 Years Ago
      "In a year or two when gas is $4-$5, I know what will be stacking up on dealer's lots."

      LOL. Many people will be upside down on their loan but let's buy an EV that has a 70 mile range and pay an additional $5000-$30,000. For the ones who aren't, they are much farther ahead financially to keep their current car.

      Only emotional, guilt ridden granolas with no understanding of finances would do that.

      Salesperson: "Here's the Nissan Leaf with 70-80 miles of range for $35,000...PLUS $2000 more for the EVSE."

      Customer: "Huh?!"

      Salesperson: "And did I tell you that you'll lose some range between now and 5 years or so BUT...just think, by 2023, you'll be saving money!"

      Customer: "Well, I don't think..."

      Salesperson: "Did I tell you there's a tax credit? You may qualify for UP to $7500 for but you won't get any money back until 2012 at the earliest. So hey, in the end it'll only end up being $33,000 including EVSE installation, taxes, title, license and of course...FLOOR MATS!"

      Customer: "So how am I saving money?"

      Salesperson: "Electricity is cheaper than gas!"

      Customer: "But I owe only $10,000 on my current car, you know how much gasoline $23,000 buys?"

      Salesperson: "5750 gallons at $4.00 per gallon? Wow. Hey, have I told you about our extended warranty plan? Man, it's a doozy..."
        • 8 Months Ago
        Like AussieEVfan says, if you didn't want to buy a new car, you would not be at a dealer lot even looking at a Leaf. So comparing the cost of a new car to the cost of paying off a car loan is almost as irrelevant as comparing to cost of a used car (and believe me that this has been used as a point frequently when new more fuel efficient cars are released).

        Much more relevant would be the situation of a buyer cross-shopping new cars in the context of $4-5 gasoline and calculating total cost of ownership or monthly costs (which would be the situation if you were looking at new cars, even if you wanted to loan instead of paying cash). You have a point about the unknown of resale values for EVs, but you decided instead to take a position of trashing EVs rather than trying to make a reasonable point.

        And one more thing, we are talking about Audis here. Anyone who can buy a new Audi can afford $33k. However, $4-5 gas will amplify fueling costs as a consideration even in more expensive cars.

        The risk Audi is taking here is already mentioned: being a follower rather than a leader. Audi realizes this in diesel and it may also be their commitment/investment and current leadership in diesel that is holding back their support for EVs (which, along with hybrids, threaten their diesel push). VW/Audi really wants diesel to be dominant since that is what they are best at and a quick EV push threatens their diesel push, which is really only just starting in the US. However, they are risking being caught in a following position in EVs just like they are in the hybrid market.

        It's similar with Toyota; they have such heavy investments in hybrids, it really seems like waste to them to push EVs so soon when they are just cashing in on previous investment, which is why they are taking the transitional step of plug-in hybrids instead, rather than a very aggressive EV program (although it seems their touch with Tesla convinced them to give it a bit more effort than just the FT-EV).

        Ford sees the importance of getting a foot in the EV market with their planned launch of the Focus EV and even Honda sees the need with the Fit EV.
        • 8 Months Ago
        What has the Nissan Leaf got to do with your argument?

        If you can't afford to buy a new car and instead decide to keep your current car how is that connected to a Nissan Leaf - you simply don't get to the showroom to decide on a car if you are not buying a new car.

        You could substitute your fuel sucking environmentally unconscious "Hummer" for "Leaf" and still have the same answer.

        I think instead what you tried to do instead is to turn what could be a fair point into a stab at the Nissan Leaf.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Hi, I agree with much of what you say. However Toyota have a clear position on electrification, even if you do not agree with it.
        They are introducing battery vehicles at small sizes, but feel that a fuel cell/battery hybrid is a better option for larger vehicles.
        Meanwhile they are pushing on with the hybridisation of ICE vehicles throughout their fleet.
      • 4 Years Ago
      looks like the "Volt == Vaporware" crowd are just as much sore losers as they ever were.

      Must hurt to be wrong over and over.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Vorsprung dirk technique my arse. I bought my Audi TT coupe new back in March 2004 and it is a great car when everything is working as it should. However more things have broken on it than any other car I have owned, mainly after the 3 year warranty expired. Although I will say my Audi A3 prior to the TT was not too bad in that respect.

      Alas Audi been the technology leaders they are cannot supply me with an electric car for at least the next few years. Thus after been an Audi customer / driver for the last 13 years my next car will be the Nissan Leaf.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The answer lies with Hydrogen for Electric drive, 5 mins for refill for 450 kms with the Mercedes F-Cell. And L.F.T.R Nuclear from Thorium is the only answer to our energy crisis, we are forced to pay massive energy bills when in fact all out energy can come from the thousands of years reserves of thorium. But we are denied cheap energy because of corruption. Less than 1% the waste than uranium reactors, 300 years years storage, uranium waste 10,000 years! There is enough fuel in current waste stockpiles in the U.S alone that can be burned up safely in Thorium L.F.T.R reactors. No possibility of meltdown, can be built a lot cheaper than current Nuclear stations, can be turned on and off when required. These reactors were used in the U.S in the 1970's but never developed because the Military realized they could not make nukes from the waste easily! And now the industry is not willing to change or pay the cost of further development and the very mention of any kind of Nuke power sends the media and the do gooder so called environmentalists crazy! So Audi should, like Mercedes, develop Fuel cells. batteries will only ever play a small part in transport. Nissan say the Gen II leaf will have a range of around 200 miles? well if that's true and it's twice the energy density in their battery then, that means it will take if 8 hours currently on 220 volts, 16 hours if twice the capacity and so on until the range is not a problem only charging, and even the fast chargers of today will be painfully slow in the future. If and only if batteries can give a range of 200-300 miles and can be charged in 5 mins to at least 60% then they might be on to something, But that massive amount of energy has to come from somewhere, and Nuclear it will have to be, renewables just can't do it and never will ! L.F.T.R has serious potential but again, corruption and unwillingness to change will keep us in the dark ages!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Audi is being very sensible and making a good business decision.

      When EV's are stacking up here in dealer lots in a year or two with incentives to get rid of 'em, Audi will be smiling.
        • 4 Years Ago
        In a year or two when gas is $4-$5, I know what will be stacking up on dealer's lots.
        • 4 Years Ago
        And your prediction is based on what assumed price for oil? And on what price for batteries?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Germanically sensible. After the zealots get their EVs what is the market going to do? It just depends on a lot of variable factors such as fuel availability, ICE technological advance, The health of the economy, and of course the old "governmental incentives and fleet purchases" picked from the taxpayer's pockets. I think people are really warming up to the idea of EVs, but they still aren't really eager to pay twice what they are worth. If the market demand is there, competition and volume production will drive the costs of batteries down, and the case for EVs will be much more compelling.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You have the hang of it David, for the government to continue to consolidate their power over the people they must keep what they are really doing a secret or they will be thrown out at the next election. I can imagine they are tearing their hair out at the prospect of the new social networking and it's ability to inform the people worldwide of what is really happening in an instant. For a democracy to function the people must be informed. This is a good tool. Unfortunately it is riddled with misinformation, disinformation, statistics and other lies, but somewhere in there is the truth.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Cheers harlan.
        Of course, my typing let me down.
        The electricity cost of running a Leaf in Germany should read $1,200, not the $120 I typed.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ David Martin:
        It's true that prices for electric power in Germany are sky-high; pretty well the highest prices in Europe. However, it is completely untrue (not to say a blatant lie) that these prices are a result of subsidies for renewables. The power companies are clever enough to spread such lies to cover their subversive pricing activities.
        As a fact, procurement prices for electric power in Germany have receded almost 50%. None of these reductions have been passed on to the consumer market. Renewables account for approx. 2.4% for the price bearing in Germany.
        These greedy buggers have increased the prices in Germany at about 7%. They're really shovelling billions at the expense of the consumers. And to top it all, Bull-Dog Merkel, negotiated with the top four German power companies (ENBW, EON, RWE, Vattenfall) behind closed doors and endorsed their road map. Now that is a prime example for democratic procedures. IS IT NOT???
        • 4 Years Ago
        If you wish to accuse people of lying, rather than at worst misinformed in your opinion, at least have the minimal courtesy to provide chapter and verse support for your contention.
        To do that you will need to show the cost of renewables and where the money to pay for their vast cost comes from.
        Presumably you feel it comes from general taxation rather than on the price of electricity.
        It is an odd coincidence, is it not, that the other biggest bunch of renewable nut-cases in Europe, the Danes, also have high electricity costs, in their case the highest in Europe.

        It is true that a lot of the costs are paid for in general taxation as well as higher bills, but it is also true that a lot of the costs of renewables are hidden by the device of mandates, so, for instance, the extra costs of building and maintaining standby plant due to the inefficiencies of wind are hidden and not attributed to renewables:
        'Households will pay 3.53 euro cents per kilowatt-hour of consumed electricity in subsidies next year, up from 2.05 cents in 2010, Germany’s four power transmission grid operators said in October. One kilowatt-hour is enough to power a 100-watt light bulb for 10 hours.

        Some 45 percent of about 200 energy-industry officials surveyed by Mannheim-based ZEW expect the price to rise to 4 cents to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour in five years, while 27 percent forecast a jump to 6 cents to 8 cents, the research center said in an e-mailed statement today.'


        3.53 Euro cents is pushing $0.05, nearly half the total cost of electricity in France, and France itself under Sarkozy is building far too much eco-bling.

        I couldn't really care less what your ill-informed opinion is in any case, as here in the UK here are the cost effects of ideologues and scammers taking over energy policy:
        'The White Paper has also calculated that household gas and electricity bills will have to rise by up to £249 a year, although Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband has insisted that new measures to improve consumers' energy efficiency would reduce the extra cost to an average of £92 a year per home.'

        I'll believe the energy efficiency when I see it, and the costs are based on a dash for gas and natural gas prices staying low, mostly imported before long.
        Here in the UK there are around 50,000 excess winter deaths, greatly exacerbated by high energy costs.
        What is the cost in deaths going to be of this ideological drive?
        Solar pv is now installed by the comparatively wealthy in the UK at huge cost to the consumer with feed in tarrifs etc, so that the poor pay, if needs be to the death, for eco-bling.

        That is beside the vast number of deaths caused by the pollution entailed by coal burn, which is actually how the power is provided as renewables can't do the job, or the potentially billions of deaths from climate change caused by opposition to nuclear power, which so-called greens profess to be so concerned about.

        If sufficiently great, the consequences of stupidity are indistinguishable from malice.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I should have added that the costs of grid connection for far-flung wind turbines etc and the costs of providing backup are typically not included in the supposed cost of renewables, being instead covered by an obligation on the grid to provide connection, so hiding the true cost which is the name of the game, so there are likely considerable sums to be added to the nominal 3.53 Euros/kwh of renewable surcharge.
        Without delving deep into the arcana of German energy accounting, how they have distributed the very real extra expense of renewables is unclear.
        However, we are apparently supposed to believe by coincidence that the energy supply companies in those who have this emphasis on renewables other than hydro are uniquely greedy and inflate costs, whereas the companies in countries with a lot of nuclear like France and Sweden are in contrast full of charity, even where they are in fact the same company.
        • 4 Years Ago
        German company's policy on electric vehicles cannot be separated from the huge price they pay for electricity due to their subsidy of 'renewables'.
        For a Leaf, if you assume 12,000 miles at 1kwh for 3 miles to allow for heating etc, then you use 4,000kwh at $0.30kwh, which is $120.
        This is better than petrol at $8gallon, which might cost around $3200, but most of the difference would be eliminated is taxes on petrol are taking into account even if batteries were free.
        In contrast in France at $0.12kwh the cost would be $480 in electric to the consumer, and in fact the electricity will cost the generator almost nothing if it is consumed at night when the nuclear plants can just be run a bit harder.
        Even allowing for tax that is a good move.

        Silly policies have consequences, and the renewables nonsense in Germany is causing them to fall behind in another industry.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hi Nick.
        Canada is fortunate in that she has very good hydroelectric resources, and in some regions although not all very good wind resources.
        Germany has neither, and lunatics and con-man have even persuaded them to chuck 50bn Euros down the drain on solar power of all things, at their latitude.
        Their wind resource is also pathetic, with very low average wind speeds.
        That is why they are thinking of building another 24 coal plants, which really generate their energy, and why they are the dirty man of Europe with some of the highest per capita CO2 emissions, although their efforts to cover this up are so deceptive as to verge on outright lies.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thanks for the info David. With renewable electricity being almost free in Canada, I hadn't crossed my mind that German were being taxed that way.

        This explains why they are usually the first in Europe to adopt green technology (wind mills, etc.) but have been so slow getting into EVs.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thanks for the informative comment, David. The French really helped themselves when they built their nuclear power systems. In fact I think it saved them from revolution. We, on the other hand, screwed ourselves! (Or we allowed the 5th column to prevent us doing what was and still is needed.)
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ David Martin:
        First of all, it was no intention of mine to accuse you of lying but you've made yourself guilty of spreading lies generated from others.
        Regretfully, the following link refers to an article published in German only, in one of Germanys wide spread and well known newspapers. But as bright as you seem to be, I'm sure you'll have no trouble with the language or text; as sceptical as you are, you wouldn't trust a translation from me anyway.

      • 4 Years Ago
      New Audi Sales Slogan:

      "There are Leaders and there are followers. Drive an Audi - be a follower, not a Leader."
      • 4 Years Ago
      hehe cautious eh? well that's one word for it. GM was cautious about the EV1 too. a lot of cautious cars in the desert now.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yeah, electric cars have only been around for 100+ years . . . don't rush it!
      • 4 Years Ago
      "We are still in the early phase with the electric vehicle, in terms of commercialization and whether the cars will be sold or leased, or will just be a collector's car."
      The last part of that sentence is rather eye opening.
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