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Audi Confirms Timeline for Transition to Electric

Audi's first fully electric vehicle, the Audi E-tron SUV, debuted for the 2019 model year and offers more than 200 miles of all-electric driving. (Audi)

Like virtually every other automaker, Audi is planning to transition to an electric lineup. The timing for this change hasn’t been clear, but now Automotive News reports that the final new Audi model equipped with an internal combustion engine (ICE) will be the 2026 Q8 flagship SUV. Thereafter, all new Audis will have a battery electric vehicle (BEV) drive system.

Reportedly, according to company sources who spoke to Automobilwoche, a German publication affiliated with Automotive News, Audi CEO Markus Duesmann announced the decision at a management meeting in Ingolstadt, Germany, last week.

Audi has previously confirmed that it has halted new development of ICE powertrains. Instead, the automaker will adapt its existing ICE offerings to meet upcoming emissions regulations. Now, it appears the final evolution of the automaker’s existing gasoline engines will find its way under the next-generation Q8’s hood. An electric Q8, called the Q8 E-tron, will be sold alongside the gas-fueled version of the SUV.

The report says any gasoline, diesel, or hybrid models that Audi launches by 2026 will remain on sale into the first part of the next decade. A firm final year of sales is unconfirmed, but Handelsblatt, an industry newspaper, reported 2032 as the last year of availability for the gasoline-powered Q8.

Furthermore, the German media reports that the next-generation versions of the Audi A3 (a redesigned A3 just went on sale) and Audi A4 will exclusively use battery power. However, Audi’s next-generation A6 will come in both ICE and E-tron variants sold alongside one another, so it seems likely Audi will apply the same strategy for the upcoming A4 and A5 redesigns. Audi revealed the new A6 E-tron in concept form at the 2021 Shanghai Auto Show. It shares an EV architecture developed with Porsche, which will also spawn a Q6 E-tron SUV.

Audi’s plans follow announcements from numerous automakers outlining their strategies to go electric. Jaguar expects to offer nothing but electric vehicles by 2025, while Volvo’s lineup will be fully electric by 2030. General Motors is planning for all of its light-duty, non-commercial vehicles to be electric by 2035.

In 2009, Audi signaled its electrification intentions by introducing the first in a series of E-tron concept vehicles. Then came the A3 E-tron plug-in hybrid electric vehicle for the 2014 model year, followed by the company’s first fully electric vehicle, the E-tron SUV.

Today, Audi sells a variety of mild-hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicles.

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