Audi has an established identity in the automotive world. We know the brand for its sophisticated German styling, spectacular quattro all-wheel drive technology and punchy five-cylinder engines. However, what Audi means is about to change dramatically. The company just announced the biggest change in its history as part of a new "strategic alignment." The Audi brand is going fully electric worldwide...well, almost.
We knew Audi was ramping up EV production with vehicles like the E-Tron GT sport sedan and the sexy Q4 E-Tron crossover. The company says it plans to have 20 "e-models" launched by 2025. (Hopefully, to alleviate already prevalent confusion, Audi bestows names on some of them that are not a variant of "E-Tron.")
Following that ramping up of electric car production will be a phase-down of internal combustion models. Audi plans to launch its final internal combustion model in 2026. All vehicles launched after 2026 will be electric models. Audi says it will be all but finished producing combustion models by 2033, although limited production for the Chinese market may continue beyond that.
Audi going electric isn't too surprising. Volkswagen Group is making a major EV push up and down its lineup with multiple new EV-specific platforms and everything from mass-market crossovers like the VW ID.4 to performance cars like the Porsche Taycan. And Audi doesn't have a tent-pole vehicle like the 911 that would keep it from going completely electric.
Luxury automakers like Audi have the easiest route to going electric. Their customers are already used to paying a premium. It's no coincidence that many of Audi's direct rivals like Volvo, Lincoln and Cadillac have set aggressive EV conversion timelines while Toyota and Honda, who need EV costs to come down and charging infrastructure to improve, have made far more modest pledges.