Audi to drop 40% of its powertrains as it ramps up EV development

Published: 22 March 2017

► Audi to slim down its powertrain range
► 40% of current drive versions to be dropped
► Will free up resources for EV development

Audi is not a company to skimp on the number of derivatives it offers, filling niches before most buyers even knew they existed. However, the brand is set to ditch two fifths of its powertrains to free up capacity for developing greener models.

‘In the long run we will reduce up to 40% of the current drive versions’, stated Rupert Stadler, chairman of the board of management at Audi at the company’s recent AGM. ‘We take complexity off the system and will hereby free up resources for the electric drive systems of the future’, he continued.

‘We can take models out without losing a lot’

Explaining Audi’s rationale Stadler claimed: ‘I’m absolutely convinced that new things can only arrive if we throw a few things overboard. Two-door derivatives for instance that aren’t selling in high volumes anymore? Okay, we can take these models out without losing a lot.’

Certain engines and transmission combinations are also for the chop, according to Stadler: ‘Do we need so many four-cylinder engines with various powers? Do we need a manual and automatic version? That is the ultimate objective.’

Audi to partner with BMW, Daimler and Ford on charging infrastructure

Aside from making space for developing new green car tech, the spring clean will also allow Audi to address the issue of how to charge these vehicles. ‘As well as a charging solution for at home, the possibility to charge batteries is required when on long journeys’, claims Stadler. ‘We are therefore taking on an infrastructure task – something unusual for a manufacturer – to provide starting assistance for electric mobility.’

This comes in the form of a partnership with several other car companies: ‘In Europe, the Volkswagen Group with Porsche and Audi plans to establish a joint venture in cooperation with BMW, Daimler and Ford. Together, we want to set up a high-performance charging points with up to 350kW for fast charging when on long journeys on the main highway routes in Europe.’

Helping to boost product development, Audi has also set itself a target of investing at least 6% of revenues in research and development, as part of its 2025 strategy.

Audi to launch three new EVs by 2020

By Christofer Lloyd

Finance editor on our sister website Parkers. Really knows his way around PCP, HP and PCH, not to mention BHP and TLAs