Currently reading: Audi design boss talks electric supercars and progressive styling
As Audi continues its electric offensive, we sit down with its exterior design boss, Andreas Mindt

Audi is set to have a busy 2020, with four electrified RS models due to make their debuts along with several new mainstream additions to the brand's line-up.

We caught up with its exterior design head, Andreas Mindt, and quizzed him on EVs, concepts and Audi's future. 

We’re seeing a lot of new electric supercars. Does this appeal to Audi?

The E-Tron GT is a first step in this direction. I can imagine steps like this. Let’s see what happens – there are great chances. The energy in the battery is limited at the moment, so you need a jump in technology for [supercars].

How are you developing the styling of electric cars?

We have a big decision to make on how EVs look. It’s a myth that electric cars don’t need cooling and they don’t need a face – it’s not true. The battery and motor with this level of performance needs the cooling. It’s also a myth that electric cars need a short bonnet and a long A-post. If you do that, the dashboard gets bigger and you have more heat inside the car from the size of the glass windscreen. Then you can’t get the heat away as the energy management in an electric car is very low. To that, a Defender is a good design for electrification…

And what will they look like? 

Our belief is to invert everything, with the grille and the grille surround. So the grille isn’t a black hole any more. The volume inside the grille instead shows the battery is bright, and then the surround is a black mask around it. Being black means we can hide the sensors in there, and it’s not easy to hide sensors. This is very clever. You can still recognise it as an Audi even at 100 metres.

Audi had one of the most innovative concepts of 2019 with the AI:Trail. Will you keep creating concepts like this? 

We want to be progressive. The AI:Trail was very futuristic. People either loved it or hated it. We wanted to go to the future and show what could be done thinking differently. It’s like a helicopter on four wheels, like sending something sneaking through the forest rather than a 4x4 to smash through the terrain. It’s the opposite to the norm. Off-roaders are ideally suited to EVs; there is no gearbox and you always have low torque.


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Mark Tisshaw

Title: Editor

Mark is a journalist with more than a decade of top-level experience in the automotive industry. He first joined Autocar in 2009, having previously worked in local newspapers. He has held several roles at Autocar, including news editor, deputy editor, digital editor and his current position of editor, one he has held since 2017.

From this position he oversees all of Autocar’s content across the print magazine, website, social media, video, and podcast channels, as well as our recent launch, Autocar Business. Mark regularly interviews the very top global executives in the automotive industry, telling their stories and holding them to account, meeting them at shows and events around the world.

Mark is a Car of the Year juror, a prestigious annual award that Autocar is one of the main sponsors of. He has made media appearances on the likes of the BBC, and contributed to titles including What Car?Move Electric and Pistonheads, and has written a column for The Sun.

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catnip 2 January 2020

"Being black means we can

"Being black means we can hide the sensors in there, and it’s not easy to hide sensors. This is very clever. You can still recognise it as an Audi even at 100 metres"

Surely every manufacturer hides sensors in black plastic areas on their vehicles, its not rocket science. And I guess recognising it as an Audi means they're going to keep the same old look for some time yet.

Andrew1 2 January 2020


Asking Audi about design is like asking Gollum about beauty products. Better leave them with their precious look.
FRI2 2 January 2020

Every electric Audi sold will

Every electric Audi sold will only replace another ICE Audi car (that will not be sold). Good for the environment, but bad for their financial bottom inevitable prospect that every legacy automaker will face during their transition from fossil power to electric power....  

Calorus 3 January 2020

Half right

Not if the markups are higher and they can close engine plants and increase manufacturing automation.