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Audi Chairman says 5 key innovation areas will determine the future of mobility; e-tron master plan calls for 6-figure sales by 2020 with an e-tron in every segment

In his speech to the Annual Press Conference 2012 in Ingolstadt, Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi AG, said that the company believes that five key innovation areas will determine the shape of future mobility: design; lightweight construction; connected vehicles; mobility services; and electric mobility.

Design, said Stadler, “is and will remain the number-one motivating factor for car buyers.” Audi has worked to ensure that its models speak a clear design language, both through the interior and exterior. “Now we need to go one step further and make the defining features of our cars even more distinctive. Lightweight construction has also been an Audi area of emphasis for decades. Audi is striving to make every model lighter than the preceding generation.

Connected vehicles: Audi connect. During the past decade, Stadler said, one of Audi’s priorities was networking within the vehicle. In this decade, it is linking to the environment: with other cars, with the infrastructure, and with the internet.

We are thus turning the car into a modern status symbol—an interface between drivers and their surroundings. Today we already bring news and information into the vehicle via UMTS, offer navigation with Google Earth images, and deliver pinpointed traffic-flow data with Audi online traffic reporting. With the next step, as a driver you will be able to control the head-up display with just a wave of your hand or, in the passenger seat, surf the web at ultra-high speed with the new LTE standard. And developments continue. Soon we’ll be talking about such concepts as swarm intelligence and piloted driving.

—Rupert Stadler

Mobility services: Audi mobility. Audi mobility is the name given to describe the services related to all aspects of individual mobility: Whether it’s a “flat-rate” service that allows customers to have flexible access to a pool of car models from the Audi portfolio when necessary, a smartphone app that simplifies intermodal travel by intelligently networking all travel options and modes of transport.

Electric mobility: Audi e-tron. Audi sees increasing the range of electric vehicles as an elementary requirement—through lightweight construction; energy and heat management; and improved batteries. Audi e-tron also addresses the infrastructure surrounding the car. In addition to standard wired charging, Audi is also working on wireless charging.

The Audi A1 e-tron has been on the roads since September 2011. In a pilot project with a vehicle fleet in the greater Munich area, test customers are using it under everyday conditions. Audi will utilize the results in the “Showcasing Electromobility” projects funded by the German federal government.

Under its e-tron master plan, Audi intends to follow the launch of its hybrid models this year with the launch of its first electric vehicle: the R8 e-tron. While Audi is planning small-scale series production for this car, it is also planning a more widespread deployment of plug-in hybrids. Its pioneering vehicle in this field is the Audi A3, with the market launch of a plug-in version slated for 2014. This will be followed by the next-generation Audi A4 and Audi Q7 plug-in cars—starting in 2014 and in successive years.

In 2020, we want to have an e-tron available in every segment and to achieve total sales in the six-figure range.

—Rupert Stadler

Conventional engines. Optimizing gasoline and diesel engines will remain a vital part of ongoing efforts to reduce CO2 emissions, if only because of the sheer volume, Stadler said. Cars with conventional engines accounted for more than 99% of new car registrations in Germany in 2011.

Germany’s Federal Environment Minister, Dr. Norbert Röttgen, rightly remarked in his comments on a recent electric mobility study carried out by his ministry: “Simply shifting the source of CO2 emissions from the exhaust pipe to the power station is nothing but window dressing.” Here at Audi, we’re also convinced electric vehicles can make a real difference in cutting CO2 emissions only in conjunction with renewable energy sources—and not just at the local level. We therefore need to do both: take steps to shape the future and, at the same time, work to improve the situation here and now. I believe that over the next ten years alone, conventional combustion engines can be made up to 15 percent more fuel efficient.

—Rupert Stadler

Understanding future needs. To understand future mobility needs, Audi has created a network of experts: the Audi Urban Future Initiative.

Architects and futurologists discuss possible forms of mobility in the city of the future. It’s not only about roads, traffic lights and cars. Anyone who studies urban mobility also has to understand the structure and identity of a society. Megacities underscore the growth in the world’s population. They urgently need solutions for future mobility. In this project, we encourage people to: Think globally, act locally! Because no two megacities are alike.

For the second time, the Audi Urban Future Initiative is announcing an award. Six high-profile international architectural firms around the world will address the situation in their respective urban regions. They’ll each present their vision of how infrastructure can become an engine for urban development: for example in Mumbai, the world’s fastest-growing urban regions; in the Pearl River Delta in China, which will soon be home to 80 million inhabitants; or in Istanbul, the melting pot between Europe and Asia. Istanbul will also be the setting for the ceremony where the winning team will accept the 2012 award. The winning entry will be used to create a city dossier. Thanks to a detailed inventory of demographics, infrastructure and resources, this dossier will serve as the impetus for practical projects and for implementing the concept through construction work.

—Rupert Stadler



Where is e-tron A1? Why there is any plans for this model? Other this are just bla-bla with no commitment. Audi was giving us so high hopes making first pure serial hybrid and in the end just minus.


What I found interesting is his mention of 'piloted driving' as just side note under the banner 'Connected vehicles'.

Piloted or autonomous driving will transform mobility in a truly fundamental way, unprecedented in the history of the car. But only after 2020 or perhaps 2030. Perhaps mr. Stadler was focusing more on the near future.

I am not sure if 2020 for general availability of fully electrified models is soon enough. Audi might be trailing the competition by then. In 2020 the 3rd generation LEAF will hit the market.


P2p car sharing is a really good idea, if you have a flexible enough application to run it.

It would enable you to buy the car you need for 97% of your use, instead of 100%, thus enabling you to buy a smaller car, while having occasional access to an SUV or off roader when required.

This would work especially well for EVs where you need the odd long run - if you could just find an ICE nearby and swap to it (or just rent it), it would enable more people to buy limited range EVs and now sweat the long journeys.

It would seem easier to arrange this, than to develop 2x or 3x energy density batteries.


Many families in the U.S. have two cars, one could be an EV for commuting and around town, the other an SUV for family trips.

For others, just being able to rent a large car, SUV or pickup for a day might suffice. They get to be able to haul stuff when they need to and save money the rest of the year.


"I believe that over the next ten years alone, conventional combustion engines can be made up to 15 percent more fuel efficient." —Rupert Stadler

Too bad we didn't start ten years ago. My suggestion of a Turbocharged, two cylinder opposed, two cycle, Air-cooled Diesel Gen-set was made to everyone who would listen.

Unfortunately, nobody paid attention.


Because air-cooled engines have issues of thermal management, leading to greater emissions and shorter life.

An un-cooled engine (adiabatic) would solve some of those, at the expense of others.


So you oil cool it, why is it everyone is suppose to have bad ideas except you?

Sean Prophet

The "shifting emissions from the exhaust pipe to the power station" argument made by Rupert Stadler is *completely* disingenuous. Even more so in Germany, where renewable energy is over 20% of the grid.

Even if PHEVs were charged completely from coal electricity, they are still less carbon-intensive than ICE cars (due to the high thermal efficiency of large power plants). As the grid cleans up in the years ahead, so does the entire installed base of EVs.




At the very least, you're not making the problem worse by switching to EV's. And from there on it can only get better over time.

Apart from that, there are more reasons than the environment to move away from oil.


SJC isn't bright enough to look at the industry-wide switch to liquid-cooled engines as soon as emissions became a factor and realize that it's got nothing to do with me.


Another factor with EVs is that the same fuel can go a lot further.  For instance, an ICEV might burn CNG at 35% efficiency, but a BEV can use NG in a CCGT at 60% efficiency.  And as noted above, the ICEV isn't going anywhere on solar, wind or nuclear power.


There you go insulting again, you really should have a look at your ego.


Yes...USA should have many more Solar, Wind, Nuke and Thermal clean power facilities to operate many million electrified vehicles, large and small by 2020/2030. A mix of improved HEVs, followed by PHEVs and BEVs could solve the increasing use of imported crude oil.

Improved ICEV plus more biofuels may help to temporarily reduce liquid fossil fuel demands but as the local population grows from 313 to 626+ millions, it is not a sustainable solution.

A bandage solution is not enough to cure the growing problem.

Chad Snyder


Is his argument really so disingenuous?

Toyota has made the same argument regarding China based on their studies. GCC has posted numerous studies suggesting similar findings in China as well -- some suggesting that electrification would increase CO2 emissions compared to just gasoline.

Certainly, there are well-to-wheel arguments, but I find it a little hard to believe that Toyota, VW and numerous scientists in China are so obtuse and ignorant that they perpetually forget to take these factors into account.

Consequently, considering that every automaker believes the future of the automarket is China, India and other emerging countries, maybe such statements are made with this reality in mind. That if you reduce emissions 15 percent in the US and Europe thanks to EVs, but increase them 15 percent in China, India, et al -- what have you gained?

Again, maybe Toyota, VW et al are just employing self-serving propaganda, but there are studies that seem to come from reasonable sources that do question EV emissions in the developing markets.

Considering that scale is the most critical element to mainstream automotive success, then the balance of worldwide emissions becomes a focus. The future will not tolerate separate supply chains for China and the US. Thus product ever more needs to be developed in a way that serves both markets.

Thus, if it comes down to the status quo until electrification can fully mainstream, or a 15 percent reduction -- worldwide -- until the kinks are worked out of the EV supply chains, etc., I'll take the 15 percent.


SJC, you need to look at the facts.  They are what they are, and you insult yourself by ignoring them; calling it to your attention is only pulling back your veil of ignorance.

Chad, China is a bit of a unique case.  The lack of pollution controls on its coal-fired plants has produced several analyses that you can find at Next Big Future.

Some analysts think that China's coal reserves are quite limited and it may hit peak coal soon.  It also has a lot of interference in the markets; not long ago, coal-fired stations were limiting their production because they were losing money between high coal prices and fixed electric rates.  Result:  rolling blackouts.  Power cuts in China due to renewed coal shortages are a high likelihood, and the EV depends on reliable power delivery.

So does industry.  What this does to Chinese supply chains, growth and everything else is bound to be interesting.



Tell us where you got your advanced degrees in science and engineering so that we do not have a "veil of ignorance".


Now you're just trolling.  And not very well.


Whatever that is suppose to mean. You have a bad habit of dismissing other's ideas out of hand as if you have spoken and that is all that should be considered.

That is a sign of an over sized ego, one that believes they have THE idea and no one else should even bother thinking about it. YOU have spoken, so there is no need to take it any further.


If you have a degree in business you have to understand the concept of "due diligence".  If you fail to apply due diligence to the well-documented disappearance of air-cooled engines from automotive service you are apt to come to wrong-headed conclusions about the prospects of anything involving them.  Tried to buy a new air-cooled VW Beetle lately?

Blaming me for the engineering realities behind that disappearance as you have done, or for bringing them to people's attention when they say something ill-informed, is neither productive nor intelligent.  Facts are facts, and flaming the messenger doesn't make them go away.  You only waste space and make yourself look silly.

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