Audi diverting a third of R&D budget to electrification
21 Juillet 2016 - Autoblog
Companies make promises all the time. We'll do X by Y. The new A will be our biggest seller in B. You know the drill.
But it's when an automaker puts its money where its mouth is that we really stand up and take notice. That's precisely what Audi is doing as it attempts to convert 25 percent of its sales to electrified vehicles by 2025.
Citing two sources with knowledge of Audi's plans, Reuters reports that around a third of the company's research-and-development budget will go to "electric cars, digital services, and autonomous driving." Of course, shifting that much money over to newer technologies means sacrifices elsewhere – Reuters' sources claim Audi will move money away from combustion engines and reduce country-specific powertrain variants, but the sources wouldn't get more specific.
According to Reuters, Audi is 22nd in total sales of hybrids and EVs. That's eight spots behind Mercedes and ten spots behind BMW (not to mention hybrid-happy Lexus). Audi's only electric representatives in the US market are the A3 e-Tron and Q5 Hybrid and things aren't much better in Europe – the company needs to dump buckets of money into expanding its meager lineup to bring up the percentage of EVs it sells.
Expect greater detail on Audi's electrification plans very soon – CEO Rupert Stadler will discuss the company's path forward on Wednesday at a closed-door meeting in Munich with over 2,000 managers. It's unlikely all those managers will be able to keep quiet. We'll be listening.