The future of personal mobility is electric, and we are responsible for ensuring that future generations can live a life in a healthy environment and that respects and addresses the positive moves towards sustainability, while still being able to enjoy the aspects of performance, digitalisation and design, writes Sascha Sauer, Managing Director at Audi South Africa.
We believe that the progressive adoption of electric vehicles in South Africa will be defined by what we would like to call the Four Rings of e-mobility. As we plan to bring the Audi e-tron range of electric vehicles to the local market, we believe that it’s also an opportune time to inspire and expose consumers towards the future of motoring and all that it can offer. The future is an attitude if you are able to embrace the transformation and look at the possibilities that the new era of e-mobility presents. These Four Rings of e-mobility signify to us, the four reasons to believe in the future of electric mobility for South Africa.
From 2026, Audi will only launch new models that are fully electric on the global market, with a mandate to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest. A recent McKinsey report amplifies that the automotive future is an electric one and that there is need to change the role that the industry plays in reducing global CO2 emission levels and decarbonising the planet.
Electric vehicles have a critical role to play in this important shift to help decarbonise the planet, not only in progressing the automotive industry forward, but enabling a positive impact on the global climate change debate. At the core of Audi’s global mandate is a consciousness of the impact that personal mobility has on the environment. To safeguard individual premium mobility, we have to decarbonise the transportation sector through electrification with green energy and faster collaboration in cross-sector work and through adjusting the regulatory framework. We believe this is possible by stimulating electric mobility demand and bringing the product to market. We are convinced that the industry has a responsibility to play. That is why we aim to do this in a significant way through the introduction of the Audi e-tron range in South Africa, with six model derivatives on offer at launch in quarter one next year. Therefore the progress in all relevant areas like charging infrastructure, regulatory support, Dealer network, energy suppliers, service providers and cross sector collaboration will accelerate.
As the McKinsey report points out, the rapid speed of current automotive technology innovation is coming about is incredible. Organisations are developing new concepts of electric, connected, autonomous, and shared mobility. Remember when your mobile phone could only make calls or send a text message? Much like the fast-paced evolution of these handheld devices, the dawn of e-mobility coincides with new possibilities around customisable user interfaces within a vehicle’s cabin, like the latest in navigation, infotainment and active driver safety system technologies but also outside the vehicle’s cabin with its increasing car-to-x connect capabilities.
A commitment towards living progress means that Audi’s approach to e-mobility is therefore not only led by electric vehicles but digitalisation too. From connected technologies to artificial intelligence and alternative drivetrains technology and digitalisation form an integral part of our quest towards sustainable premium mobility.
Our recently revealed concept vehicles - the Skysphere and Grandsphere - are a true representation of a premium automotive future – one which perfectly blends both luxury and digital mobility. It reveals how we as a premium automotive brand envision the future of premium mobility: connected, sustainable, electric and autonomous.
Consumer behaviour and awareness is changing, albeit slowly. It’s often only when a consumer experiences an EV that they discover there are no performance comprises in the driving experience.
E-mobility opens up new dimensions in driving dynamics, like the fully variable power distribution of the electric quattro drive with torque vectoring in the Audi e-tron Sportback S. Audi’s proud history of dominance through innovations across various motorsport disciplines, combined with the inherent benefits of electric performance and the optimal balance of weight associated with these sophisticated platforms allows for excellent sharing of research and development from race cars to series production.
How better could this be demonstrated than by proving innovations successful in the toughest and demanding motorsports challenges like the 24 hours of Le Mans or the gruelling Dakar rally? In January 2022, Audi will be the first manufacturer ever to take on the challenge of the Dakar rally relying on electrified drivetrain technologies bound for future road-going Audi e-tron offerings to come.
The packaging of a modern electric vehicle allows for fresh design thinking when it comes to unique proportions, high-class interior features and optimised versatility. Since the battery is located in the floor and between the front and rear axles, and the signature “Singleframe” grille which is no longer bound to function as a conduit into the engine bay, allows for new licence-to-create opportunities. The design language of an electric vehicle, of course, has to transform new aesthetics, to the new digital enhancements and allow the overall package of the vehicle to be something that intrigues, inspires and stands out. Electric mobility is becoming dynamic and fascinating, as proven by the halo model, the Audi e-tron GT. The four-door coupé, which will be introduced on the market as an RS model at the same time, reinterprets the classic idea of the gran turismo: Its design is highly emotive, its technology is revolutionary and its performance is breath-taking – a classical marriage of the Four Rings of mobility.
For South Africa to embrace the future of mobility, we need to bravely see past the challenges and misconceptions of electric vehicles. This journey is not a solo expedition but rather a collaborative voyage by all players in the market, not just the automotive manufacturers. From an Audi brand point of view, we are fully committed to embarking on this new adventure towards e-mobility and our strong e-tron product line up is a bold representation of our intent and commitment to transforming the sector.