Audi Technical Development Boss: “The Electric Car is the Future”


Audi A3 e-tron

Audi A3 e-tron

“The electric car is the future,” declares Ulrich Hackenberg, a high-level engineer at Volkswagen Group and Audi board member for technical development.

A3 E-tron Cutaway

A3 E-tron Cutaway

Hackenberg was recently interviewed by Guido Reinking, editor of Automobilwoche.

As we all know, Volkswagen Group has long been EV naysayers.  However, the tide is quickly changing and that’s clearly evident in the way in which Hackenburg answers several plug-in vehicle questions posed by Reinking.

Reinking: The electric car has been regarded quite critically in the Volkswagen Group for its high costs and restricted range. Aren’t you overlooking the emotionality and driving fun of e-mobility?

Hackenberg:  The electric car is the future. That has been clear to us for a long time. I definitely see the emotional side but the framework data has to fit — ranging from the available technology, to the infrastructure, all the way to customers’ expectations.

Audi R8 E-Tron

Audi R8 E-Tron

Reinking: Does Audi need to offer a car like the Tesla Model S?

Hackenberg in Front of VW XL1

Hackenberg in Front of VW XL1

Hackenberg: In a few months the A3 E-tron will be launched as a plug-in hybrid, which is the most attractive alternative powertrain — and the one most suited to the customer — in many markets in the world. In markets where there are many early adopters, take California as an example, I can also imagine a high-end electric sports car.

Reinking:  Will that be the R8 E-tron for Audi?

Hackenberg:  The R8 E-tron is more than a technology platform. Every component represents high-end technology at its finest. We have solved the problem of restricted range.

Reinking:  Will the R8 E-tron be built?

Hackenberg:  I am just now championing it.

We confirmed yesterday that the Audi R8 e-tron will be built.

Source: Automotive News Europe

Categories: Audi, Volkswagen

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23 Comments on "Audi Technical Development Boss: “The Electric Car is the Future”"

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A follow up queston for him, where will the R8 etron be charged? (if its ever built and sold)

advantage Tesla

Oh, for crying out loud Audi, get with the program already! The EV is not the future, it is the present, it is here and now, and VW/Audi is stuck in the past.

For wanting to be the world leader in EVs, they sure have been slow on the uptake, haven’t they?

Good point. Their very statement shows they are behind the ball.

Give them a little credit. Sure, they were late to the game, but their roadmap is showing EV commitment second only to Tesla (IMO they’ve passed the stagnant EV lineups from Nissan and GM).

I’ll give them a credit when they “give” me and everyone else an EV.

Audi? No. Yes, the VW division is finally starting to make EVs but not Audi.

I count PHEVs. They can do 50-90% of their driving on electricity, depending on range and usage. Audi is putting them throughout their lineup.

They poured money into diesel, and one thing I trust is the memo has made the rounds that it isn’t panning out, for VWG. Diesel for years sat cheaper than gas, and now it is ~25% more.

Diesel is less expensive than gasoline in Europe. That is one reason Diesel cars sell better over there.


The R8 E-Tron would be a plug-in halo car for Audi. With the real focus on the various A# plug-in models.

But it indicates that Audi has a workable large battery pack that can be fitted into a sedan.

Yeah, and that is why you are making your E-Tron only upon consumer request only.


Big companies are like Supertankers, it takes forever to make a turn. And, big car companies are at the slower end of the spectrum. The fact that Hackenberg is saying EVs are the future is good. That means someone is actually trying to initiate a turn. The Tesla Model S is showing them the way and they seem to be following. Only time will tell if they are turning fast enough to avoid the rocks ahead.

Big companies sponsor focus groups, for whom survey questions are written by writers who ultimately want the results that, if anything, agree with the sponsor. Then, they come back. Marketers want to keep their jobs, consumers don’t know employes, just dealers. Manufacturering managers don’t know board members, or worse yet a stock buying culture that just wants the next quarter to rock.

+1. This is more really good news from VW Group. Companies this size don’t turn on a dime. Even BMW created a sub-brand so that they could develop EVs without interference from the rest of the organization. If you’ve never personally tried to push through innovation in a large organization, you have no idea how hard it is, even from the top down.

I have no doubt that VW has changed their tune and we will see competitive EVs from them. Bravo!

Spot on.
The reason the VW group came out with so many different lines about moving to EVs is probably just big company-itus.
In any big organisation executives are mainly concerned with the enemy – which of course is other executives and departments in the company, not outside companies.

The VW group though manage to keep the fratricide limited mainly to the PR releases and company statements, and meanwhile the production engineering and development departments chug on remarkable steadily.

They haven’t spent several billions developing BEV and PHEV capable platforms for fun, as is plain if one can only ignore 90% of the nonsense statements which come from VW, Audi and the rest themselves.

ICE-burg ahead! 😉

Personally, I’d prefer an EV version of the XL1 he’s propped on in the photo above. Make it with an EPA rated range greater than 100 miles and stop making it out of unobtainium. Mere mortals may like to own one too.


Yes, and life cage made of grade Z Boloneyium.

I sure wish the “EV technology Leader”, and without a doubt, maker of more electric car models on the planet, would start making some affordable ev’s that I could pick up at their dealers.

Although Porsche and Audi, and maybe even VW divisions seem to be near to coming up with something for the States. About time.

what they need is VW battery gigafactory!

what VW and Audi need to do is actually produce and sell electric cars. Not issue endless press releases about future cars that may or may not be built.