Audi's customers want a range of 300 miles from electric vehicles – the company faces a challenge to implement the tech to make that viable
Jim Holder
6 October 2015

The next generation of lightweight materials is still too expensive to make them viable for mass production, a senior engineering source at Audi has revealed.

The German manufacturer's research has suggested that its customers want at least 300 miles of range per charge in any electric Audi. But the firm faces a battle to introduce the weight savings and battery technology that can deliver that sort of range for a cost customers are willing to pay.

A senior insider in Audi's engineering division said: "Batteries are heavy so it makes sense to reduce the weight of the car. But as with all weight-reduction materials you have to look at the costs and how you bring the materials together in the factory.

“For example, if you have multi-material bodywork -if you have steel, for example, in combination with aluminum and carbonfibre - you can glue it, rivet it or you can weld it. After that, for example, there’s the painting process and anti-corrosion process - all done at quite high temperatures, prompting the materials to work against themselves. We need a lot of know-how of how to do that, and it’s expensive, too.”

Audi is launching an all-electric SUV first - based on the Audi e-tron quattro concept shown at the Frankfurt motor show – because it will be easier to make a profitable car in that segment in the long-term. “You need a big car for the space of the batteries to realise 300 miles,” said the source, “and if you have a big battery pack in a big car, it is going to need to be priced appropriately. So we must look for premium customers in a big-car sector.”

Get the latest car news, reviews and galleries from Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:

Our Verdict

The second generation Audi Q7
Audi Q7 is priced from £47,755

New flagship SUV is lighter, smaller and smarter. But is it any better?

Join the debate

Comments
9

6 October 2015
rather than fewer. •pulls face*

6 October 2015
This bunch have been caught out lying on a massive scale about what the technology they put into their cars can do. They have absolute zero credibility. Instead of feeding us yet more bullshit, audi's engineers (if they've really got any - the people who make the ever fatter and more boring cars they've been churning out hardly qualify) need to be working on producing a product that at least attempts to do what they've been saying it can do.

6 October 2015
The VW group know the answer to this problem......CHEAT.

We are going to get a whole string of this type of "nothing" press releases from VW brands in an attempt to bury bad news.

6 October 2015
Its a moot point that Audi are going head to head with Tesla: THE leader in making advance electric vehicles.
I thought it was BS when I first heard all the nonsense about making a car to beat and kill Tesla. ( They all want to...)
I have even heard it said that Tesla are going to freeze all research and design work while they wait for the others to catch up (sic) to give them a fair chance.
If they really had foresight it would be the VW group crowing about their electric cars right now instead of lying to the world about emissions and giving Musk even more ammunition against them.

6 October 2015
Volkswagen-Audi's over dependence on diesel at the expense of alternative technologies has led to this embarrassing situation where the world's largest car maker abysmally trails one of the world's smallest car maker with no chance of ever catching up in near future until they change their grubby approach.

6 October 2015
Go Tesla tbh. I wish them all the best.

6 October 2015
If you can't cheat them, buy them. VW should use some of their ill-gotten gains and acquire Tesla.

6 October 2015
Outoftowner1969 wrote:

If you can't cheat them, buy them. VW should use some of their ill-gotten gains and acquire Tesla.

lol, at the rate VW are losing in money, it might be Tesla buying them..

6 October 2015
I think the problem is that the established car manufacturers are stuck in their ways. Tesla with no experience of building a car, Tesla could engineer the right solution, placing components in the optimal position. The old school approach insists on an engine in the front, "fuel" in the boot, people in the middle approach to car design. Production tooling and assembly lines reinforce this approach. Thus, they will all really struggle to get to grips with electric cars and to a lesser extent fuel cell type vehicles.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Skoda-Karoq 2.0 TDI 4x4
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Diesel version of Skoda’s junior SUV is unobtrusive and undemanding, but we’d still go for the silkier petrol version of the Karoq
  • Audi Q7 e-tron
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Expensive and flawed but this understated diesel-electric Audi Q7 has a lot to offer
  • Citroën C3
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Is the third gen Citroën C3 ‘fresh and different’ enough to take on its supermini rivals? We spend six months with one to find out
  • BMW X3
    First Drive
    15 October 2017
    A satisfying rework of the X3 that usefully improves its handling, cabin finish, space and connectivity to make this BMW a class front-runner again
  • Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer
    First Drive
    13 October 2017
    Off-road estate is now bigger, more spacious and available with torque-vectoring all-wheel drive, but is it enough to make its German rivals anxious?