Stefan Niemand, Audi‘s Director of Battery Electric Vehicles, didn’t mince words that the EV market must improve, and he even applauded the American competition during a meeting of Germany’s auto industry organization, the VDA. “I hate to admit it, but Tesla did everything right”, he said about the Supercharger network, according to EETimes Europe Automotive.
Niemand also tried to convince the members that EVs needed to improve significantly. “These cars are slower than those with conventional drive and they have a much lower range – and in compensation they are more expensive,” Niemand said, according to EETimes Europe Automotive In the exec’s opinion, it’s acceptable if an electric vehicle is a little more expensive than the competition, but the model needs to be every bit as enjoyable to drive as one with a combustion drivetrain.
Niemand championed the need for a vast recharging infrastructure and used his speech to do some cheerleading for the forthcoming production version of the company’s E-Tron Quattro crossover concept. The company claims the future model can do everything Niemand is admonishing the industry about. For example, the version at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show could produce up to 496 horsepower for short periods and cover 311 miles on the European testing cycle.
The exec’s arguments echo those of Audi of America president Scott Keogh who sees a similar EV future in the US. Keogh believes the brand’s electric sales could as high as 25 percent of its volume by 2025. The company is getting the public ready for this electrified powertrain transition with the A3 e-Tron plug-in hybrid, but the production E-Tron Quattro takes the idea to the next level. To solve the recharging problem, the company is also working on 150-kW fast charging network with partners.