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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Audi expects 5% of its car sales will be electric models

About 5 percent of Audi's new-car sales could be electric models in 10 years, the brand's technology chief Michael Dick said.

At the Geneva auto show last week, Audi unveiled the A1 e-tron, a nearly production-ready concept developed from its new A1 subcompact.

The A1 e-tron is the third electric car concept from the German brand. Audi unveiled larger e-tron cars at the Detroit auto show in January and in Frankfurt last year.

Audi has already said it will bring an e-tron sports car to market in 2012. A prototype will soon be tested and Audi will head into intensive trials with three to four vehicles by the end of the year, Dick said.

Audi's management board hasn't officially made a decision on the A1 e-tron, but it's very likely that the concept will be built, Dick told Automobilwoche. He expects a three-year development period.

The range of the 102-hp A1 e-tron is about 50km in city traffic. A small single rotor Wankel engine achieves an additional range of 200km. When needed, the engine charges the lithium ion battery like a generator.

Audi is developing components and systems that could also be used in smaller electric cars. For example, the battery cell is the same for both the A1 and a larger e-tron sports car concept.

Dick said that, with its e-tron range, about 5 percent of Audi car sales could be electric models by 2020. Audi sell around 1 Million cars each year so they are talking about selling 50,000 EVs per annum.

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