Will Audi Force BMW’s Hand In Electric Car Market?

FEB 19 2015 BY STAFF 42

Tesla Model S & BMW i8

Tesla Model S & BMW i8

The competition in the electric vehicles market is bound to get tougher. While BMW has been at the forefront of the EVs revolution, other premium automakers have been slower to adapt to the market and customers’ demands. But things are changing. Audi is getting serious about the EV field and they released a spending plan of 24 billion euros ($28.3 billion) on technology and EV production in the next five years.

Audi has already invested heavily in the electric-powered Audi R8, pushing the high-performance model into a niche of its own.

Audi R8 with an electric-drive is set for unveiling later this year. It will cost around $115,000 and it will provide the car maker with all the public interest and headlines it needs for their electric car range, providing the incentive to push similar solutions in the rest of their lineup.

*Editor’s Note: This post appears on BMWBLOG.  Check it out here.

Audi R8 e performance 750x500 Will Audi’s Push Force BMW’s Hand In The Electric Car Market?

While BMW still delivers a great hybrid sportscar – the i8 – which can also run on electric-power only, the Bavarians have yet to offer a fully electric supercar. An i8 EV seems unlikely for now, but future market trends might change the outlook.

While the current prototype of the electric-powered Audi R8 has a range of 134 miles, the production version should double or even surpass that goal when it reaches showroom floors. This was confirmed by Markus Enzinger, Audi’s head of electric drivetrain development. This puts Audi toe-to-toe with the biggest name in the electric car market – Tesla Model S.

The 300 mile range is the target goal for many car makers, and if Audi makes the stated 260+ mile range, then we competition will heat up. Audi is also expected to follow with other electric vehicles in the future.

A delay in the production of the E8 E-Tron has been attributed to Audi’s unwillingness to launch a flagship electric car without packing the most advanced battery tech and highest performance. Audi’s engineers believed the battery output was not sufficient for the ideal range of the R8 E-Tron.

The battery tech is expected to improve significantly in the next few years which will drive a new range of electric vehicles being developed. BMW is already planning an i5 model, Tesla is touting their 3 Series killer – Model 3 – and Mercedes-Benz is launching the EcoLuxe program aims to produce four different electric cars across two different class sizes. Including a large, long-wheelbase crossover SUV similar in size to the current Mercedes-Benz GL.

The premium electric vehicles market will be the new battle ground for the Germans and innovation and competition will deliver in the next years some impressive products to consumers.

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42 Comments on "Will Audi Force BMW’s Hand In Electric Car Market?"

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Anon

Non-Skateboard based BEV platforms suck.

Barkingfish

I agree with you! They’re just idots for designing a car like that and they should have done their homework!

krona2k

Audi – the biggest all talk no action manufacturer when it comes to EVs, however it does look like they might be starting to get serious about this stuff!

mustang_sallad

Audi is VW, VW is number one in PEV sales in a number of EU markets.

krona2k

Yes they’re in the same group, but I’m talking about Audi as entity with what they’ve said compared to what they’ve done.

Also I’m sure VW will be huge with EVs but they’re not in that position at the moment. For example the e-Golf is not enough of a step up from the LEAF considering when it was released and is not really competitive on price.

Mr. M

In germany the Leaf Tekna (High Trim) cost nearly the same as the eGolf. Difference is below 1000$, heck i think it is around 200$…

And the eGolf is more quiet and has a better quality.

And the eGolf is skyrocketing in Norway at the moment. The eGolf was the most sold car in January by a long shot. 879 eGolfs in Jan. Best next car was the “Toyota Auris” which is a ICE and had 357 pieces. Also to compare: 879 eGolf vs. ~ 100 ICE Golf.

Mr. M

Just to complete, the Leaf was the third best car overall, with 353. Only short behind the Toyota Auris.

krona2k

I’m not saying that the eGolf isn’t better than the LEAF, and I’m not arguing about the list price either. The difference seems to be the actual lease deals and offers that are available. In the UK at least you can find plenty of Nissan dealers advertising good deals, and you can get a discount on those offers too with some haggling. I’ve been searching for some time for comparable deals on the eGolf and haven’t found them.

I admit that I’ve not yet contacts VW dealers in person, I may well do in a year when my current LEAF lease expires.

I just don’t yet get the feeling that VW are seriously trying to shift eGolfs in the UK, it may well be different elsewhere.

Knut Erik Ballestad

That may be because the eGolf is currently production restrained. You don’t start advertising extra good deals when you cannot even deliver to ‘full-price’ customer in 4 moths.

Brian

“While BMW still delivers a great hybrid sportscar – the i8”

Too bad the i8 blows in everything it should do besides cornering.

pjwood1

Really? You mean I can point the car in a turn, with the pedals? Not sure about that.

I give Porsche the credit, here. I’d rather not be able to afford the 918, if the current “fun” tech is out of reach.

Greg

Customer to Audi sales person: ” But where will I charge it on long trips?”

Audi salesperson: ” Not sure”

Customer to Tesla rep: ” But where will I charge it on long trips?”

Tesla rep: ” Well let me show you our global network of FREE Superchargers and L2 chargers”

energymatters

Please stop repeating that superchargers are free. They are not.

a) You have to pay $2500 up front for the option to use them.
b) They are present only for long hauls NOT daily driving. (Unless you happen to live adjacent of course…)
c) They only support Tesla format charging and do nothing to further the supposed Tesla mission of encouraging overall EV growth.

kdawg

It’s only optional in the Model S 60 at $2000. Otherwise it’s built into the price of the Model S 85s

Just_Chris

It costs me $200 a year to charge my Leaf, “free” charging really can’t make that much difference to someone buying a $100k car. I can imagine being able to do the annual road trip to Florida is more of a selling point than the “freeness” of the supercharger.

mike w

What your saying is absolutely true. I’m wondering what will happen to the fee that Tesla owners have to pay when the super charger network is built. Will the surcharge to each S85 decrease to a much lower price to reflect the actual cost of electricity and maintenance?

Just_Chris

I suspect that Tesla haven’t thought anything past the growth phase. By the time they have enough super chargers for the model S they will start building more for the model 3. Just like everything with Tesla, the market is so huge and the competition is non-existent I suspect they can’t even imagine what saturation looks like.

I assume at some stage they will reach a limit and competition will arrive. They’ll probably then restructure, adapt, perhaps sell off parts of the business, maybe even have bits bought up by other car manufacturers or oil companies but all that is a long way off….. maybe? It’d be interesting to see what GM and Exxon could do if they decided EV’s were going to be core business or maybe Google and Starbucks. Can’t see it happening but I guess it all depends on who wants to invest in what.

Brian

I know this is an exception, but the supercharging being installed in Syracuse NY is positioned directly outside the gates of Lockheed Martin – a large defense contractor with many well-heeled employees. I imagine there will be many engineers who stretch their budget to afford a Tesla, and then supercharge the car daily rather than charging at home. This runs counter to Tesla’s stated goals, and I’m not sure why they are building it there. There isn’t even much to do in the area. I guess you could walk across the street to grab some snacks at the gas station…

Greg

$2500.00 is less than I spend on gas in a year so for all intents and purposes it’s free in my opinion. Not to mention the environmental costs, health costs, etc it saves. So consider the big picture.

electric-car-insider.com

I think you do not understand long range EVs and superchargers very well.

You don’t need a supercharger when you have 200+ miles of range *except* when you go on a trip. If you charge overnight, there just won’t ever be a time when you are likely to drive more than 200 miles in town.

Tesla developed their own standard because they didn’t want their customers to be hobbled by low speed charging.

50kW doesn’t cut it when you’re on a long trip and need an extra 200 miles (or 400 miles with two rest stops, for a total of 600 miles in a day).

135kW works fine. Tesla got it right. Everyone else is just whistling…

Just_Chris

Customer to Audi sales person: ” But where will I charge it on long trips?”

Audi salesperson: ”The car has a 300 mile range so you’ll probably not need to charge it, even on a long trip in Europe but if you do you can use a DC fast charger at any of the motorway service stations in the UK, a 30min charge will give you around an extra 100 miles”

Customer “Tesla have a super charging network that charges at twice that rate”

Audi sales person “Do you regularly drive from London to Aberdeen?”

Just_Chris

BTW, if I had the money, I’d probably still buy a Tesla over an Audi or a BMW with the same spec but we need a mixture of cars on the market.

As for the long trip argument in places like the UK it is really not that strong. We had a Smart car with a 300 mile range which we regularly drove to visit family and friends on what would be considered “long trips” and we never needed to stop to fill up. Obviously there will be those living in Kent with family in Scotland that they go and see regularly but I would think that for the majority of UK drivers at 300 miles range you’d probably only need to charge once a week.

Greg

I live in Canada so the best network of fast chargers is going to be a selling point with our vast distances between cities but I see your point in Europe. I also think Tesla’s network will be a significant selling point in the U.S. as well as China, Australia and any other large country.

Greg

I recently saw a disturbing stat the other day that showed Canadians burn the most fossil fuels per capita for transportation than anyone else. Not really our fault, geography and crap weather are against us 😉

Just_Chris

Don’t feel bad, Australia has the highest CO2 per capita rate of pretty much any nation in the world.

finecadmin

For now. You’re way ahead in sunlight, just need to finance that huge switching cost.

Just_Chris

Perhaps it will be a selling point for some in Australia but not me. I, like 95%, of the Australian population live in a city. I have been here for 5 years and have no desire to drive to one of the other big cities (I’ve driven about 4 hours out of town and didn’t really get anywhere significantly different to where I was 3 hrs before). Australia is a wonderful, very big and extremely empty country. Spending 10 hrs staring at the horizon is not my idea of fun.

One of the safety features my wife really likes about the Leaf is that if something goes wrong in my brain and I decide to take the family on a road trip to Adelaide the car will safely come to a stand still whilst we are still in mobile phone range of Melbourne’s RAC service.

Gibber

Not one person buying the Audi will care. This is not a car for long road trips, it’s for Friday drives to work and weekend fun.

Goaterguy

“While BMW has been at the forefront of the EVs revolution”

Sure, only behind Chevrolet with the EV1, Spark EV and the Volt, Nissan, Renault, Tesla, Ford, Smart, Fiat, and Mitsubishi to mention a few that have been at the “forefront” of BMW…

Just_Chris

You do realise that BMW had a BEV for the 1972 Olympics? and that the i3 is currently the most efficient BEV available?

Brian

Or the fact that BMW had e-minis on the road before all of the current generation EVs, save for the Tesla Roadster? But don’t bother weighing Goaterguy down with these facts.

Goaterguy

Well, if we are going to count a one of in the Olympics and a whooping 450 mini e why not say that Detroit Electric was at the forefront of the electric vehicles by selling 13,000 vehicles since 1907? See! I can also wikipedia facts too… Come on guys, let’s use that brain for something else other than keeping the ears from touching each other.

evnow

BMW made Mini-E before Leaf or Volt came along.

Mr. M

Fiat??? Really?

CSS

Blah, blah, blah…

Mr. M

more CCS cars 😉

Nix

“This puts Audi toe-to-toe with the biggest name in the electric car market – Tesla Model S.”

Well, toe-to-toe with the 2012 Model S at least. But Tesla keeps improving the Model S. Whether it will still be toe-to-toe by the time the Audi makes it to market is hard to predict. Tesla may have moved the goal-posts yet again by then, like they did introducing the P85D.

alain

but Audi make’s a really nice interior ,much better than tesla.

Robb Stark

As of now.

Tesla improves something on weekly basis.

Three Electrics

Most people want the car to be finished when they buy it. This is a philosophical difference that distinguishes Tesla positively and negatively.

Joshua Burstyn

Tesla’s non-critical systems philosophy appears to match Open Source’s implementation of release early, release often. Not a bad thing IMO. Seems to work for Google and others.

krona2k

It sounds perfect to me. Must be confusing the hell out of the legacy auto makers. What I’m surprised about is that none of them seem to be trying to mould themselves to be more like Tesla yet.