IT’S all about 1s and 0s for Audi as it looks to implement a new electronics-focused product strategy between now and 2025.
The move will result in between “20 and 25 percent” of cars sold by 2025 being powered entirely or significantly by electricity.
“We will constantly expand our range of alternative drive systems and gradually electrify our model portfolio,” said Audi chairman Professor Rupert Stadler speaking at the brand’s annual press conference at its headquarters in Ingolstadt, Germany. “We are particular focusing on the plug-in-hybrid technology and on purely electric drive.”
An all-electric SUV, in-house developed apps and a move towards autonomous drive are key pillars of a renewed strategy to ensure the premium brand is positioned to take advantage of a consumer electronics-inspired move towards high tech cars.
Stadler committed to a bold plan to redefine the luxury offering with electronics.
“The ‘new premium’ is digitally connected, efficiently emission-free – and fully in tune with the urban lifestyle,” said Stadler of the multibillion-dollar investment in new technologies, plants and people.
“Already today, 90 percent of our innovations are based on electronics: sensors and digital assistants, resulting in more driving intelligence,” he said, pointing to predictive driver assistance systems and autonomous driving technology. “Vorsprung means utilising the potential of digitisation.”
Having hired 1600 specialists “with know-how in digitisation and electric mobility” throughout 2015, Audi is hiring another 1200 experts in battery and hydrogen technology, software and app development.
A key step in Audi’s push to lead the autonomous driving race is the new Audi A8 flagship limousine, due in 2017. It will allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel up to 65km/h “for several minutes at a time”.
Audi is also looking at the broader mobility picture, with plans to develop an app tailored to the connected car and driverless transport.
“An app will be at the core of our new mobility offering,” said Stadler. “It will allow Audi customers to deliver the desired car to the desired place at any time by pushing a button. And that’s not enough: Our business model will range far beyond the car in the future.
“With a digital platform as the basis and with artificial intelligence, a multitude of new services will be possible.”