Audi on Thursday announced a dramatic expansion of its plans to develop electric and plug-in cars.
At its annual shareholders' meeting, the company told investors that it plans to release 20 new electric cars along with 10 new plug-in hybrids by 2025 as part of its "four rings" plan to reduce its carbon footprint by 30 percent (relative to 2015 levels), while boosting profitability. That includes a target that electrified models be 40 percent of its sales volume globally.
Specific gasoline models will give way to fully electric ones. The automaker revealed that the TT coupe and convertible will be replaced "in a few years" by a new electric car. And according to Bloomberg, the company is considering a similar fate for its flagship A8 sedan.
2019 Audi TT RS
At the Geneva auto show last month, the company announced that it plans new plug-in hybrid versions of the Q5, A6, A7, and A8.
The company said it will have at least three models based on parent VW's affordable MEB electric architecture, including the Q4 E-tron, and at least one or two new models based on the luxury PPE architecture that Audi developed with Porsche.
“We want to lead the change in the premium segment with the most attractive form of sustainable mobility,” said Audi CEO Bram Schot.
Luxury automakers in general, and Audi in particular, have come under increasing pressure from Tesla, which has transformed the luxury-car market with its all-electric cars and cross-continent Supercharger network in North America. With the inclusion of the Model 3, Tesla outsold every luxury-car brand in the U.S. at the end of last year save Lexus.
Audi, which was known for making some of the most cohesive and slick luxury cars, was also at the nexus of the Volkswagen diesel emissions cheating scandal.
Still, Audi has been among the leaders in planning for electric cars. At the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show, before the investigations into diesel cheating were finalized, Audi announced plans to begin building electric cars and to invest $500 million in a cross-country fast-charging network in the U.S.
That plan later disappeared under the eventual diesel settlement which required Audi's parent, Volkswagen, to build a $2 billion nationwide fast-charging network that will accommodate electric cars from all brands.
In its latest announcement, Audi also said it plans to reduce the CO2 footprint of its vehicles by 30 percent below 2015 levels on a life-cycle basis. That's a tall order for a company planning to build more electric cars with large/heavy battery packs.
DON'T MISS: One-Quarter Of All Audis To Be Electric In 10 Years, Company Says (2015)
The brand is also taking the lead in developing fuel-cell technology for the larger Volkswagen Group.
Audi says it is converting all its factories to run on renewable electricity and plans to offset emissions that are "unavoidable." It aims to be carbon-neutral as a company by 2050.
The company also plans to expand its Audi-on-Demand car- and ride-sharing service, run by Sixt. By the end of the year, it says customers in 10 European countries will have access to 10,000 shared Audis. It plans to broaden the service by adding dealers and customers to the mix using its "myAudi" app, similar to Tesla's plans for the Tesla network.
For all this improvement in emissions from the company and its cars, Audi says it will invest $44.6 billion (40 billion euros) through 2023, including about $15.6 billion on electric cars, digital connectivity, and self-driving systems.