Will Audi’s Push Force BMW’s Hand In The Electric Car Market?

Interesting, Others | January 19th, 2015 by 16
2014 bmw i8 tesla model s rear three quarters 750x500

The competition in the electric vehicles market is bound to get tougher. While BMW has been at the forefront of the EVs revolution, other premium …

The competition in the electric vehicles market is bound to get tougher. While BMW has been at the forefront of the EVs revolution, other premium automakers have been slower to adapt to the market and customers’ demands. But things are changing. Audi is getting serious about the EV field and they released a spending plan of 24 billion euros ($28.3 billion) on technology and EV production in the next five years.

Audi has already invested heavily in the electric-powered Audi R8, pushing the high-performance model into a niche of its own.

Audi R8 with an electric-drive is set for unveiling later this year. It will cost around $115,000 and it will provide the car maker with all the public interest and headlines it needs for their electric car range, providing the incentive to push similar solutions in the rest of their lineup.

Audi R8 e performance 750x500

While BMW still delivers a great hybrid sportscar – the i8 – which can also run on electric-power only, the Bavarians have yet to offer a fully electric supercar. An i8 EV seems unlikely for now, but future market trends might change the outlook.

While the current prototype of the electric-powered Audi R8 has a range of 134 miles, the production version should double or even surpass that goal when it reaches showroom floors. This was confirmed by Markus Enzinger, Audi’s head of electric drivetrain development. This puts Audi toe-to-toe with the biggest name in the electric car market – Tesla Model S.

2014 bmw i8 tesla model s rear three quarters 750x498

The 300 mile range is the target goal for many car makers, and if Audi makes the stated 260+ mile range, then we competition will heat up. Audi is also expected to follow with other electric vehicles in the future.

A delay in the production of the E8 E-Tron has been attributed to Audi’s unwillingness to launch a flagship electric car without packing the most advanced battery tech and highest performance. Audi’s engineers believed the battery output was not sufficient for the ideal range of the R8 E-Tron.

The battery tech is expected to improve significantly in the next few years which will drive a new range of electric vehicles being developed. BMW is already planning an i5 model, Tesla is touting their 3 Series killer – Model 3 – and Mercedes-Benz is launching the EcoLuxe program aims to produce four different electric cars across two different class sizes. Including a large, long-wheelbase crossover SUV similar in size to the current Mercedes-Benz GL.

The premium electric vehicles market will be the new battle ground for the Germans and innovation and competition will deliver in the next years some impressive products to consumers.

 

 

16 responses to “Will Audi’s Push Force BMW’s Hand In The Electric Car Market?”

  1. CDspeed says:

    I would be interested in the R8 e-Tron over the i8, if it does come in around $115,000 it costs less, and unlike the i8 the R8 is supposed to be fully electric. Also, though I do own an electric BMW, I still don’t see BMW as being at the “forefront” of the electric car revolution. They produce 1 fully electric car, and that’s only when not equipt with the REx generator, and so far there is only news of plug-in hybrids. I would say BMW is at the forefront of mass produced carbon fiber, but until they show more real electric cars…………………………

  2. Matt Stokes says:

    BMW have been investing and developing slowly but steadily in this area. I’d like to call it a measured and considered approach.

    A batterified R8 with a 300 mile range is going to be heavy… it’s going to compromise what the R8 is, for the sake of having an electric Halo car, same as the AMG SLS e-cell did – in other words, they’ll never be quite as good as the car on which they were based. BMW avoided this comparison by developing a new electric Halo car from the ground up. Granted, that doesn’t make the i8 a better car, but t makes the purchasing decision much easier to rationalise.

    But, really all that is a willy-waving competition, what the masses want is cheaper mobility, without sacrificing the ease of use and access of internal combustion engines. It’s easier to meet those demands with city-EV’s such as the i3, because the range demands are lower.

    The attraction of the Tesla brand will only lessen as the more mainstream established brands start to release more and more EV’s/Hybrids, so the competition will come from the usual places – Audi, Mercedes and Lexus, and I don’t really see anyone of them pulling out a massive advantage in terms of technology, since they are all basically being driven by the same thing – emissions and consumption regulations. As for the market… range won’t suddenly become the only considerations for buyers…. people who want a more sporting experience will probably still turn to BMW, those after more luxury will still turn to Mercedes, (insert the rest of the brand stereotypes here).

    For me the biggest gamble for the manufacturers is which route they take.
    1) Make en EV out of an existing model, a compromise from the word go, but very easy for the market to accept (e.g. Electric Golf, Electric Focus etc…)
    2) Make an EV from the ground up, but make it seem as much like a normal car as possible (Tesla), more difficult, lower risk, and better product.
    3) Make an EV from the ground up, and try and reinvent something at the same-time (BMW i), high risk, expensive, but…. may well make you look like the leader of the pack….

    Just my two cents…

    • Horatiu B. says:

      Thanks for the great comment

    • Vanja Kljaic says:

      Great to see such a valuable contribution to this article, thanks! Do you feel that manufacturers are more aiming for range, than the performance aspects each of those brands that we mentioned offer now? Thanks!

      • Matt Stokes says:

        Not sure, but, with long range comes a bigger battery, with a bigger battery comes more weight, with more weight comes worse handling (though the lower CofG is a benefit). I think those that are actually aiming for a more sporty vehicle are going to have a harder time making long ranges, whereas in a more luxurious car it’s less likely to matter. And I’m still talking about motability for the masses (1/3/5, A/C/E, A3/A4/A6) , not über expensive techno-fests.

        I’m guessing the i5 (?) when it comes is going to more like a 5GT than a M5, but there’s no reason why it shouldn’t have good range. And in the mean-time we have the ‘e’ models coming soon, which offer good performance, great range, and don’t look too weird on your driveway.

        • Vanja Kljaic says:

          See, the same issue is what I have with Tesla Model S really. They do make a great deal of fun and do provide a great opponent in a straight line, but what’s with driving dynamics for example? I’m pretty sure that a 5 Series drives a lot better than it does, but the media has been rather quick to jump with praises for that particular vehicle.

  3. Matt Stokes says:

    BMW have been investing and developing slowly but steadily in this area. I’d like to call it a measured and considered approach.

    A batterified R8 with a 300 mile range is going to be heavy… it’s going to compromise what the R8 is, for the sake of having an electric Halo car, same as the AMG SLS e-cell did – in other words, they’ll never be quite as good as the car on which they were based. BMW avoided this comparison by developing a new electric Halo car from the ground up. Granted, that doesn’t make the i8 a better car, but t makes the purchasing decision much easier to rationalise.

    But, really all that is a willy-waving competition, what the masses want is cheaper mobility, without sacrificing the ease of use and access of internal combustion engines. It’s easier to meet those demands with city-EV’s such as the i3, because the range demands are lower.

    The attraction of the Tesla brand will only lessen as the more mainstream established brands start to release more and more EV’s/Hybrids, so the competition will come from the usual places – Audi, Mercedes and Lexus, and I don’t really see anyone of them pulling out a massive advantage in terms of technology, since they are all basically being driven by the same thing – emissions and consumption regulations. As for the market… range won’t suddenly become the only considerations for buyers…. people who want a more sporting experience will probably still turn to BMW, those after more luxury will still turn to Mercedes, (insert the rest of the brand stereotypes here).

    For me the biggest gamble for the manufacturers is which route they take.
    1) Make en EV out of an existing model, a compromise from the word go, but very easy for the market to accept (e.g. Electric Golf, Electric Focus etc…)
    2) Make an EV from the ground up, but make it seem as much like a normal car as possible (Tesla), more difficult, lower risk, and better product.
    3) Make an EV from the ground up, and try and reinvent something at the same-time (BMW i), high risk, expensive, but…. may well make you look like the leader of the pack….

    Just my two cents…

  4. Lawrence says:

    I don’t think Audi has the resources and knowledge to use carbon fibre like BMW does to make a compelling fully electric car.

    Oh and I don’t understand why the i8 has to have those skinny tyres that look so stupid!

    • Matt Stokes says:

      Audi on their own perhaps not, but VW own 99% of Audi and with 200 Billion €uro revenue and sales of 10,000,000 vehicles per year I’m sure VW can sort something out!

      They will do what BMW did, choose a Carbon partner, and buy in the knowledge. It’s certainly no coincidence that when VW tried to increases its stake in SGL carbon (BMW’s Carbon Fibre partner), BMW major shareholder Susan Klatten increased her shareholding in SGL to block – unfortunately SGL are selling a 267 million €uros of share to tackle debt.. you can bet that VW will be trying to increase its share, and no doubt Audi will be one of the first to reap the benefit of mass produced Carbon Fibre if it does.

  5. […] the last few years seeing a move towards hybrids, electric vehicles and highly efficient diesels. The future is definitely green but that shouldn’t stop us from owning a V8 if […]

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