Audi’s top labor representative Peter Mosch demanded today that Audi build an upcoming all-electric model in their main plant in Ingolstadt, Germany, reasoning that employees of the main factory should not be left out as the industry moves towards electric vehicles. The comments were made in a speech to 7,000 workers at Audi’s 43,000-employee Ingolstadt plant.
Audi has previously stated that they plan to locate production of their all-electric models in a smaller 16,000-employee plant in Neckarsulm, where the company currently makes its higher-end vehicles. Planned electric models include the quattro e-tron SUV, a sportscar and a compact car, the latter two of which are still yet to be unveiled.
Audi has somewhat of a tortured history when it comes to all-electric models – they have promised many and so far have failed to deliver on each one. The promises go all the way back to 2009, when they announced the R8 e-tron, seemingly in a bid to compete with the Tesla Roadster. That project was finally killed last year, after stumbling along for seven years, being repeatedly pushed back, canceled and uncanceled, and finally turning into a $1 million+ limited production project which wasn’t even based on its own unique platform. Audi also tested an A3 e-tron all-electric model in 2012, but ended up releasing the A3 e-tron as a plug-in hybrid instead.
There have been other concepts and press releases suggesting future all-electric vehicles, but those announcements have either been pushed back, canceled or ignored by the company. For this reason, I like to call Audi “the king of electric vehicle press releases.” Instead of actually making an EV, they’ve just talked a big game for years, while instructing their engineers to create clever ways to lie on emissions tests.
But like other automakers, for the last couple years they’ve been losing ground to Tesla in large sedan sales, one of the most profitable vehicle segments for premium automakers. Maybe this has finally motivated Audi to release a real all-electric vehicle, instead of hyping vaporware cars like the R8 e-tron just to keep their customers from switching to competing all-electrics like the Roadster. Given the above sales figures, and that they were caught red-handed cheating on emissions tests, their tactics don’t seem to have worked and it seems like it’s time for new ones.
At least their unions think they’re finally getting close this time. And if their workers have anything to say about it, it seems they’ll do what they can to drag the company into the present. At least someone at Audi can see the direction the industry is going in and is making efforts to get them there.