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Audi Planning Massive Electric Vehicle Gamble: Report

2017 Audi Q7 Grille, Image: © 2016 Alex Dykes/The Truth About Cars

Audi is apparently about to embrace electric vehicles with all the intensity of a daughter greeting her father on the tarmac after the war.

According to Reuters, company sources say the automaker plans to make EVs account for 25 percent of sales by 2025 — a move that would erase the environmental stigma of its parent company and challenge Tesla in the fledgling luxury EV field.

The same sources say Audi CEO Rupert Stadler will unveil the plan to 2,000 managers behind closed doors tomorrow. Details of the Munich meeting were published in the German newspaper Handelsblatt.

To reach that lofty target, sources say Audi plans to divert one-third of its research and development funds towards electric vehicle development, digital services and autonomous driving technology. From a sales perspective, it means finding buyers for 450,000 electric vehicles every year (going by last year’s sales tally).

Going this route would be a risky venture for Audi. Electric vehicles are still a new entry in the automotive landscape, with sales hampered by higher costs, limited vehicle range and recharging infrastructure. It’s hard for any automaker to guess the potential demand.

To free up more money for EV development, Audi will cut back on its gasoline and diesel expenses, the sources claim. That would mean fewer engine and transmission offerings, but Audi already seems to be going in this direction. Earlier this month, a report said the automaker will stop developing new V8 engines. (If it wants to, it can source those powerplants from Porsche.)

If true, Audi’s electric push would free up Volkswagen to focus on hydrocarbon-powered volume vehicles while still allowing its parent company to repent for its emissions scandal sins.

[Image: © 2016 Alex Dykes/The Truth About Cars]

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