By 2030, Audi aims to be a “sustainable, social, and technological leader”, offering EV buyers an “unparalleled system with its own ecosystem”. According to Audi top brass, CEO Markus Deusmann, the so-called Vorsprung 2030 plan will seal the brand’s long-term viability in-line with wider changes across global society.
Like many other car brands, there won’t be a dramatic cut-off of ICE vehicles. Instead, Audi will phase out petrol and diesel gradually between now and 2033. By that point 12 years in the future, only legacy models will be available with ICE, given that all new models will come exclusively with electronic drive systems.
“‘Vorsprung durch Technik’ (progress through technology) remains necessary because we can only solve many of the world’s major problems, such as carbon emissions and global warming, through the use of clean technologies. We view ourselves as a company that guarantees the freedom and individual mobility of our customers,” emphasised Duesmann. “We don’t simply develop technology for its own sake. It must be consequential and effective in keeping the world moving.”
Audi’s Vorsprung 2030 plan hasn’t been plucked out of thin air. Audi’s chief strategist, Sija Pieh, and her team have worked with around 500 Audi employees from across the business hierarchy and across the globe to study 600 global trends in the mobility sector between now and 2030 that the brand could capitalise on.
Some of the findings were obvious, such as how the shift to EVs will also move profit away from internal combustion-powered cars. Subsequently, the trends indicated that autonomous driving has huge growth potential, as does software and services – something that other carmakers are jumping onto in order to ring-fence their corner of the market.
To that end, Audi is working on a ‘seamless ecosystem’ for electric an autonomous driving. The brand also reckons that its direct contact with customers will be more frequent and more personalised through both digital and physical offerings. Retaining the desirability of the brand will be achieved by differentiating Audi’s EVs through quality and design – two of the pillars that have made Audi the fashionable brand it is today.
Audi’s grand plans aren’t just around a new range of EVs. Like so many manufacturers, it sees its place in the market as providing a full-on ‘experience’ for customers, which stretches beyond the old fashioned act of just driving.
“In the age of new mobility, we not only define “Vorsprung” as world-class engineering, state-of-the-art design, and a captivating digital experience. We don’t just think in terms of vehicles. In the future, the focus will increasingly be on holistic mobility solutions, including the surrounding infrastructure,” said Oliver Hoffmann, Technical Development Board Member at Audi.
To this end, Audi is undertaking an “Audi DNA” project which is looking at customer experience. “We need to give our products a clear, unmistakable DNA. In the future, we will be very explicit in our definition of what driving an Audi should feel like. This also applies to highly automated driving, by the way,” Hoffmann adds.
Over-the-air updates and CARIAD – VW Group’s software arm – will play an ever-more important role in creating and standardising a software and cloud ecosystem across all brands, including Audi.