When the Audi e-tron quattro arrives in 2018, its battery cost for the all-electric SUV may cost as little as €100 per kilowatt-hour. That’s according to Dr. Peter Martens, who was named the company’s head of research and development last month. Speaking to Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, Martens was asked why Audi decided to make its first electric car a relatively large sport utility vehicle.
“We opted for a top-down strategy, because most buyers will be found there today in this segment. Currently, a kilowatt hour costs about 100 euros, depending on the model.” That certainly makes sense, given that such vehicles are the most popular vehicle style in most major markets around the world today. “Only when we come well below that price, will E-mobility in volume segments be interesting,” Martens added.
Last week, Audi announced that it will put its e-tron quattro Sportback (someone at Audi really needs to take a class in capitalization) into production in 2019. The Sportback is a sleeker, more stylish version of the SUV specifically aimed for folks who want little to no utility included in their sport utility vehicles.
It is a continuation of a new fad in the automobile industry to build large vehicles that can carry a basketball team inside — together with a whole lot of basketballs — but look like swoopy coupes instead of a boxy box on wheels.
Both cars will be nearly identical under the skin and both will have a 95 kWh battery. If Martens is correct, that battery should cost Audi about $10,000 per vehicle. Martens told AMUS that Audi expects to make a profit on the new cars but not as much as it does on its traditional offerings.
Bear in mind that the cost of battery cells is one thing. Putting them together into a battery pack with sophisticated cooling and battery management systems in place can raise the total cost considerably.
Despite the happy talk from Martens, workers at the company are less than thrilled with senior management at Audi. A report by German newspaper Bild am Sonntag last week claims an internal memo is being circulated that is sharply critical of CEO Rupert Stadler. In it, Stadler and the board are slammed for not adequately preparing the company for the future, citing “disastrous” indecision at key junctures in the recent past.
Elon Musk has been begging mainstream manufacturers to make “compelling” electric cars for years. Beginning in 2018, several companies, including Audi, will start marketing the cars they think will meet Musk’s challenge. “We’ll see,” said the Zen master.
Source: Inside EVs