A clear commitment to ‘Vorsprung durch Technik’

Oliver Hoffmann has been CTO at Audi for 100 days now. In an interview, he discusses how he intends to recharge the slogan “Vorsprung durch Technik” and talks about the models of the future that he cannot wait to see.

06/08/2021 Interview: Dorothea Kauf
Reading Time: 3 min

Key Facts

  • Electrification, digitalization and autonomous driving are the major development focal points at Audi
  • New organization based on systems and functions facilitates shorter, software-centric development cycles
  • 35 billion euros for future vehicle projects and technologies
  • Pace-setting e-model: The Artemis project aims to reach highly automated driving Level 4

Oliver Hoffmann

Oliver Hoffmann became the Board of Management member at AUDI AG with responsibility for the Technical Development division on March 1, 2021.

This year marks 50 years of the Audi brand claim “Vorsprung durch Technik.” How do you intend to recharge it?

 

Oliver Hoffmann: I consider electrification, digitalization and autonomous driving to be the key pillars for development in the coming years. We made a good start in 2019 with the Audi e-tron. The e-tron GT and the Q4 e-tron followed this year. By bringing out emotional models, we intend to raise the share of electric vehicles in our fleet from seven percent today to one-third in 2025. The Volkswagen Group is also vigorously expanding the necessary charging infrastructure in the core markets – Europe, the United States and China. In the second half of 2021, we plan to pilot a flexible fast-charging solution for peak demand on charging infrastructure for our customers – a premium concept with a lounge area and the ability to make exclusive reservations called the Audi charging hub. On the digitalization and connectivity side as well as for automated driving, we are collaborating with CARIAD SE, which allows us to maximize the synergies in the Group. We have already realigned the Technical Development division at Audi to address these topics. The organization is now built around systems and functions rather than components and vehicle classes. We are also systematically investing in the future: over the next five years we will spend 35 billion euros primarily on forward-looking vehicle projects and technologies. We have raised our strategic target range for the research and development ratio from six to seven percent, demonstrating our clear commitment to “Vorsprung durch Technik.”

 

When will Audi move over entirely to electric drive systems?

 

Oliver Hoffmann: This greatly depends on the customers of the infrastructure and the legal requirements in the different markets. We at Audi aim to develop the best cars with electric drive systems, but also the best combustion engines. We do not intend to develop any more new basic engines, but we will refine our existing powertrains to increase their efficiency and performance. The biggest challenge of the coming years will be to provide these two attributes in all driving scenarios. The mild hybrid system will help us here. We have spent the last few years rolling it out across our entire vehicle fleet. Plug-in hybrids are another key element of our electric campaign. They give mainly customers in urban areas and commuters the opportunity to drive around locally with zero emissions.

“What I want is for us to quickly turn our ideas into innovations for products featuring the unmistakable Audi DNA that our customers will enjoy.”

Oliver Hoffmann, Board of Management member at AUDI AG with responsibility for the Technical Development division

What can we expect from Audi on the product side in the coming years?

 

Oliver Hoffmann: What I want is for us to quickly turn our ideas into innovations for products featuring the unmistakable Audi DNA that our customers will enjoy. At Auto Shanghai we showed where we are heading with the A6 e-tron concept car. It is the precursor of an innovative family of vehicles with an all-electric drive based on the Premium Platform Electric (PPE). This will give customers premium mobility with a range of vehicles that are suitable for everyday use. Thanks to fast-charging technology, the A6 e-tron concept takes just ten minutes to charge enough power to drive 300 kilometers. We will unveil the first Audi PPE production model in 2022. Around two years later we will present our Artemis project. We started thinking about this pioneering electric model from the interior outwards and are developing it at a fast pace. It will come with CARIAD’s newly developed software architecture that facilitates conditional automation at Level 4. And it will feature a new, innovative battery technology, the uniform cell. In fewer than ten years this will be used in 80 percent of applications in the Volkswagen Group and will reduce battery costs by as much as 50 percent through new cell chemistry and a more efficient production process. This will allow us to offer our electric models at even more attractive prices.

Audi A6 e-tron concept car

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