With more electric vehicles (EVs) being registered in 2021 than the last five years combined, many car companies, including legacy automakers, are planning to transition to fully electric lineups within the next decade. Audi has joined the movement as well — and according to Audi of America President Daniel Weissland, the German automaker intends to have its last internal combustion-powered car roll off the assembly line by 2033.
“We don't plan to launch any [internal combustion engine] vehicles after 2026 anymore. And that means by 2033, we will be fully electric,” Weissland told Yahoo Finance Live.
Audi, which is owned by the Volkswagen Group (VWAGY), delivered a 5% year-over-year increase in American deliveries in 2021, topping 196,000 vehicles while also growing its EV sales by over 50%. Weissland joined Yahoo Finance Live to discuss 2021 car sales, Audi’s EV portfolio, its timeline for phasing out gas-powered vehicles and the outlook for EVs and autonomous driving.
In 2022, Weissland said that Audi expects to have the “largest fully electric portfolio” of all U.S. manufacturers with the launches of the Q4 and the Q4 Sportback e-tron. According to him, the company will continue to increase its EV sales as a proportion of its total vehicle deliveries, eventually leading to its sales of EVs surpassing that of internal combustion vehicles after 2025.
“So we really want to lead the way towards transformation, towards electric vehicles. And that's what I'm looking forward to,” he said. “Customers want it, we see the demand in the market, and that's what Audi will stand for in the future.”
The future of EVs
Batteries continue to be one of the most costly components of EVs, and as the demand for batteries increases, prices are expected to fall below $100 per kWh by 2030. However, because EVs typically have fewer individual parts than internal combustion vehicles, it may only be a matter of time before EV manufacturing costs become lower than that of gas-powered cars.
Weissland believes that in the near term, the value proposition of EVs in regard to their cost of ownership make them an attractive product.
“I think if you look at the comparison between electric vehicles and combustion engine vehicles, we need to look at the cost of ownership,” he said. “And yes, the expectation is that the cost of ownership is going down and will then become even less [than] a combustion engine vehicle.”
As for obstacles that may be impeding more widespread adoption and faith in going fully electric, Weissland cited a lack of consumer awareness of the benefits that EVs can provide. He said that it is the responsibility of automakers like Audi to educate drivers about what going electric is all about.
“I love the fact I don't need to see a gas station anymore,” he added. “I charge at home, like I do with my mobile phone. I plug it in at night, unplug it in the morning, and here I go — and the acceleration, and I know that I'm doing something good for the environment — saving our planet, the future of our children and grandchildren.”
Thomas Hum is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @thomashumTV