Audi is no stranger to successful evolution. Part of Volkswagen Group since 1965, from the 1980s to the late 2010s, the brand went from being an also-ran among German luxury car brands to a serious rival to BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Today it is transforming itself for the new era of electrification.
By 2025, the brand will launch 30 electrified vehicles, 20 of which will be fully electric. In the short term, it hopes to achieve one-third of its EV sales locally as early as this date. From 2026, Audi will focus exclusively on the development of electric vehicles, a colossal task for a brand of Audi’s scale and reach.
With 56% of true-luxury consumers attuned to luxury brands’ stance on social responsibility, with this forced opportunity to rethink and reshape premium mobility a new focus on sustainability is inevitable.
Each year, the global automotive industry uses around 150 million tons of iron, steel and aluminium, releasing large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. Only around 10% of the iron and steel from old vehicles is recycled and used again in cars. With a heightened awareness around climate issues, consumers are no longer willing to accept unsustainable practices, and will actively disassociate from brands that do not share their values.
Audi has pledged to be a complete climate-neutral company as soon as 2050. Sustainable initiatives in the supply chain include a switch to renewable energy and the repurposing of secondary materials: aluminium scraps from the press plant are recycled into new aluminium coils.
“When we look at sustainability, we don’t just view it from the powertrain,” says Wenders. "It’s the factory the car is built-in, the suppliers we work with and the materials that are used to build the car. By 2025 all of our factories around the world will be carbon neutral but even today we try to use as many sustainable materials in our cars as possible. In the Q4 e-tron, for example, recycled plastic bottles and fishing nets are used to create some of the fabrics for the interior.”
Part of Audi’s first all-electric sports car range, the Q4 e-tron, along with the e-tron GT and RS e-tron GT, launched this year to critical acclaim with four and five-star reviews across the board.