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