Quattro. Aluminium our bodies. TDi. Tremendous-low drag saloons. Audi had a behavior of introducing world-beating engineering innovation. That gave the world the the ur-Quattro and A2 and R8. However then it type of… stopped. Audi changed into a model that was extra about fantastically crafted cabins and slick advertising.
A yr in the past a brand new boss, Marcus Duesmann, arrived from BMW. He’s not simply the boss, he’s received particular cost of R&D too. And now, when Prime Gear asks him whether or not Audi shall be a know-how chief once more, he’s clear. “Design is essential to our prospects however Vorsprung Durch Technik [advantage through engineering] continues to be our slogan. Now we have determined to deliver know-how again to the lead.”
The primary instance he provides is Venture Artemis. He personally is in command of this growth staff that’s very impartial of the remainder of the VW Group. The primary automobile to be launched off the Artemis mission is an Audi, adopted by a Bentley and Porsche. Duesmann says: “It’s a battery automobile with a brand new onboard community and degree 4 autonomous driving.”
It’s due in 2024, although when pressed by Prime Gear Duesmann admits autonomous driving could be very laborious, and may not be accessible on the automobile’s launch. “The entire world is battling this.”
However will the Artemis vehicles match Tesla’s software program? “That’s the target. Tesla has in some areas set requirements for brand new know-how. We observe them. However already with the e-Tron GT we now have our inside high quality and our seller service.”
Duesmann additionally mentions the separate mission, led by the VW model, referred to as Trinity. “That may use Artemis know-how for vehicles that promote in larger numbers, two years later.”
Tesla has in some areas set requirements for brand new know-how. We observe them
He’s a busy man. He additionally sits on the head of the Group’s software program organisation. That’s hundreds of engineers designing in-house code for the ability electronics, management techniques, comms and self-driving within the VW Group vehicles.
Thus far, completely different exterior suppliers did that work, and there have been glitches the place completely different branches of the software program interfaced. Which delayed the ID.3 – a spectacularly costly mistake.
He’s talking after the reveal of the e-Tron GT. How’s it completely different from its twin, the Porsche Taycan? “It’s a GT automobile, not as sporty because the Porsche. It fits Audi prospects. And you may determine which design you like – that’s subjective.”
OK, nicely Audi has the e-Tron and e-Tron Sportback and the brand new e-Tron GT, and shortly the This fall and This fall Sportback. Will probably be including the Artemis automobile, and presumably tapping into the Trinity household too. That’s a whole lot of electrical vehicles. Will it should kill current fashions to create space within the factories and dealerships?
“We make purpose-built EVs.” In different phrases, Audi gained’t promote vehicles which have both engines or battery drive. They’ll be one or the opposite. “So actually we’ll in the reduction of on our ICE portfolio within the subsequent 10 years.”
At which level he roughly swings the axe on his firm’s smallest automobile. “We do query the A1. We’re nonetheless discussing what we do for small vehicles. We’ll actually provide the Q2.”
Then one other bombshell, one which cheers Prime Gear up quite a bit. “I preferred the A2 [pictured below]. Possibly we must always do a brand new A2 – perhaps electrical, perhaps name it E2.” He factors out that electrical drive permits for radical space-efficient physique shapes.
The e-Tron GT is made on the identical manufacturing line because the R8. So why not make the third-generation R8 an electrical automobile too? “That wasn’t the unique concept,” he says. “But it surely may make sense. We may do it if we needed to.”
All in then, there’s loads of scope for Vorsprung Durch Technik.