There is no doubting Audi’s commitment to electrification.
The German luxury marque has just announced plans to build all-electric vehicles at all of its factories worldwide by 2029. Not only will the move reduce production costs, but it will also help the automaker reach its previously stated goal of phasing out all internal combustion models by 2033.
Automakers like Ford and General Motors may have dedicated EV production facilities—which are known as greenfields sites—but Audi wants to make sure that all of its factories can churn out battery-powered vehicles. That’s why the automaker, which is owned by Volkswagen AG, will invest €500 million (about $532 million) over the next few years streamlining how it produces vehicles, electrifying its plants and training employees all over the world to build EVs, including at a new plant set to open in Changchun, China, in 2024.
Audi believes that turning its existing plants into “360factories”—facilities that place equal emphasis on cost-effectiveness, sustainability, flexibility and attractiveness—will help the company save money down the line. Streamlining the building process and electrifying facilities will allow for more flexibility so that everything from the all-electric E-Tron GT to the internal-combustion S8 comes off the same production line. It will also allow the company to better meet the needs of consumers as drivers begin buying more battery-powered cars and SUVs in the years to come.
“Step by step, we are bringing all our sites into the future,” Audi board member Gerd Walker said in a statement. “We don’t want any standalone lighthouse projects on greenfield sites. Instead, we are investing in our existing plants so they end up being just as efficient and flexible as newly built production sites or greenfield plants.”
Audi can afford to make this commitment now because it knows where its future lies as an automaker. The brand has said it will only introduce EVs starting in 2026, a decision likely driven by the EU’s strict new Euro 7 emission standards, which are set to go into effect in 2025. This may mean an end for models like the A1 and TT, as Motor1.com points out, but it’s hard not to be intrigued by the EVs that will their places. Especially if the RS6 Avant E-Tron is really on the way.